It’s been a debatable topic as to whether or not whisky is an appropriate drink to pair with food, but the popularity of the idea of pairing the spirit with food is growing. Whisky may be a great stand-alone drink , but it also makes a great companion to meals that are rich in flavour. To understand this further, we got in touch with Jodie Marriott, Brand Education Manager, The Macallan. Here’s what she has to say:
1. What are the ideal food pairings?
Chocolate and whisky compliment each other very well. Dark orange flavored chocolate is a good choice to experiment with whisky as the citrus notes in the whisky will enhance the orange flavor of the chocolate.
One can never go wrong with paring their Whisky with dried fruits and nuts. Sweeter nuts pair beautifully with peaty whiskies while heavily roasted nuts pair impeccably with full bodied whiskies.
The most popular accompaniment to whisky is Smoked Salmon. The smokey flavor of the Salmon gives the whisky a spicy fruity taste which elevates the flavors of both the whisky and the fish.
2. How does food impact the taste of the whisky?
One thing that every novice Whisky enthusiast should know before pairing food with their favorite whisky is to keep in mind the characteristics of the Whisky itself in order to better bring out the flavors of the whisky.
The flavor of the whisky varies from light to full-bodied; for example The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old imparts aromas of dried fruit, toffee and vanilla, and delivers a warming finish with a creamy mouthfeel which pairs perfectly well with seafood especially a well-cooked sea bass who’s sweetness brings out the vanilla notes of the Whisky. On the other hand The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old has a warm oak spice finish which is balanced by citrus flavors of sweet orange which will beautifully pair with a rich Lamb Chop which will accentuate the deepness of the flavors of the whisky.
3. What are the do’s and don’ts while ordering food with your drink?
Pairing whisky with food in a harmonious manner is a matter of contrasting and complementing flavors.
Avoid spicy or bitter foods when pairing with whisky. The strong spicy and bitter flavors of food will overpower the whisky.
Never try to match the flavors of food and whisky. This might sound intuitive but the similar flavors will eventually overpower each other. You should try to complement the flavors and the notes. For example, a whisky with apple notes will pair beautifully with pork or cinnamon, but not with apples.
4. How important is garnishing while mixing a cocktail?
We live in the age of drinking experiences that are meant to entice all of the senses, that being said the garnish forms an integral part of the drinking experience. Not only does the garnish add a huge aesthetic element to the drink but also enhance the flavor of the spirit. Whether it’s by adding flavor directly, or through the use of aromatic.
5. What are the best food pairings?
Light and fragrant whiskies that have touch of sweetness will pair beautifully with Smoked Salmon, Soft cheeses and Seafood
Medium-bodied whiskies have a smokier and rich flavour notes so we would recommend pairing with:Proteins like chicken, pork, beef or lamb and Smoked duck.
full-bodied whiskies have a sense of spiciness and more alcoholic content. For this reason, they pair better with more fatty foods or bitter flavours such as: Strong cheeses like Roquefort, Dark chocolate
6. Can we modify the taste of a drink by pairing food with it?
The goal of a whisky pairing is to amplify the flavor profiles of the whisky and not overwhelm the palette. Therefore while opting for a food pairing always keep in mind as to not modify the taste completely but accentuate the existing flavor profiles.
Recipes to mix at home:
The Cobbler Serve
Dating back to the mid-1800s, The Cobbler is one of the oldest classic cocktails. This timeless serve is made even more special with the inclusion of The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old, alongside lemon juice, freshly pressed apple juice and elderflower cordial. With a garnish of mint and dehydrated fruit, this classic cocktail delivers a real depth of flavour.
• 40ml The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old
• 10ml Lemon Juice
• 20ml Freshly pressed apple juice
• 5ml Elderflower cordial
• Garnish with an apple slice and mint sprig
Add ingredients to an ice filled shaker. Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice and top with soda water.
The Sour Serve
No cocktail has stood the test of time more than The Whisky Sour. Sophisticated and beautifully balanced, The Macallan Sour is a modern spin on the quintessential New York serve. The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old delivers a complex base of subtle butterscotch, apple and sweet spice, and we swap red wine for an aromatic Sherry float.
• 40ml The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old
• 20ml Lemon Juice
• 10ml Brown Sugar Syrup
• Egg White
• Oloroso Sherry Float
Shake all ingredients, except sherry, into an iced filled shaker. Strain into glass over ice. Using a bar spoon, slowly layer the sherry over the top of the cocktail