We strung out the bunting, we danced, sang, cooked up a storm and held street parties……and now it’s all over we’re left feeling a little deflated!
Never fear, World Whisky Day approaches to reignite the festivities and we’re here to help you with the perfect food to pair with all your favourite drams………an excuse for another party?……..well, maybe!!!
The huge variety of whiskies now on offer and the demographic enjoying them mean that a drop of the gold stuff is no longer assigned as an after-dinner consumption in the smoking room! Cocktails, blonde whiskies, fruity or peated, they can be drunk whenever, wherever, so let’s get some suggestions out there to aid with the planning of your own World Whisky Day celebrations.
Whether you choose an elaborate theme of whiskies from around the world with each guest bringing a different nationality whisky or just a gathering of family and your besties with all your favourite drams, we can guide you with food and whisky pairings which will bring out the flavours of both.
Canapes and nibbles
No soirée is complete without pre dinner drinks and canapes. However, we don’t want you to peak too soon, so let’s kick off proceedings with a light, refreshing whisky and tonic.
If you caught our previous article, you’ll have seen our recommendations:
Johnnie Walker Blonde – has a light, sweet flavour, with a wonderful toffee apple style palate – pair that with some vintage cheese or cheese straws, the acidity of the cheese balancing the fruity notes of the W&T. Or go retro and pair it with the classic 80’s cheese and pineapple.
Starward Left – Field – this Australian whisky has a tropical fruit and toasted oak flavour profile, which goes fantastically with savoury or roasted nuts, or goats cheese topped bruschetta.
Glenmorangie and Monkey Shoulder – The Original – both these whiskies have orange flavour profiles, perfect with olives – the saltiness and/or spice providing a great offset to the lingering sweetness of the whisky.
Now, for the mains we recognise that some may prefer a more relaxed style – out in the garden, BBQ smouldering, paper plates and a large umbrella at the ready (we’re just kidding it will be sunny – ish) whilst others might opt for a more formal, seated around the dining table setting. So, we’ll cater for both scenarios with each dish.
Fish – Formal
Seafood dishes, be it prawns, caviar or oysters, pair beautifully with both complementary and contrasting whiskies alike.
Bowmore 12 year old – with a soft honey aroma and tang of lemon zest, along with the subtle hint of peat smoke, this whisky is a firm favourite with seafood.
Talisker 10 year old – With Talisker describing the tasting notes as “powerful peat-smoke with just a hint of the sea-water salt of fresh oysters, with a citrus sweetness” – need we say more!
The Glenlivet 12 year old – maturated in both European and American Oak casks, this beautifully vibrant, gold scotch is a superb accompaniment to scallops. With a fruity, yet delicately balanced flavour, the long, creamy finish will provide a refined accompaniment to your dish.
Fish – Barbecued
Lobster, salmon, prawns, sardines; they all barbecue fantastically well and a drop of Dalwhinnie 15 year old single malt is the perfect accompaniment. Smooth yet crisp and dry, this aromatic, light to medium bodied whisky has enough heather honeyed and vanilla sweetness to compliment the delicate flavours of the fish, without actually overpowering it, and finishes with a sweet smoky, peat and malt flavour which is bang on the money for a barbecued dish.
Meat – Formal
Now the meat dishes are where you can start to have some real fun. First off, you can begin adding whisky as a tenderiser whilst the meat is cooking, (I mean, why wait?!) and then also to the sauce for that added punch of deep maltiness. Red meat goes particularly well with whisky.
Ardbeg Corryvreckan – Awarded the world’s best single malt in 2010, a dram of this will take the flavours of both your whisky and meat to dizzying new heights. A complex, eruption of deep, peaty and peppery flavours follows the powerful aromas of cherries, pine needles, muscovado sugar, seaweed, bacon, treacle and chilli – an absolute maelstrom for the senses, which finishes with lingering flavours of coffee, chocolate and pepper sauce. Certainly, a whisky robust enough for the richest of meat dishes.
Bunnahabhain 12 year old – This full-bodied ex bourbon and ex sherry cask matured whisky has the perfect sweetness to cut through the fattiness of lamb dishes, ending with a delicate hint of sea salt.
Glenmorangie 10 year old – A bit of a no brainer this one, but if you’re going to serve duck, a bottle of Glenmorangie is the obvious choice. This bourbon cask matured 10 year old is delicate enough not to overpower the duck, but has enough punchy, honeyed orange and vanilla flavours to perfectly complement the dish. Smooth, floral and fruity, it’s a great choice.
Meat on the barbie!
Steaks, sticky ribs, chicken wings…..the list is endless and let’s be honest, we all like a little bit of everything here, so let’s find some whisky which will complement all of them equally well.
Glenfiddich 14 year old – Matured for 14 years in ex bourbon American Oak casks, the liquid is transferred for finishing in charred new American Oak barrels. Fabulously rich, this sweet whisky bursts with creamy notes of woody spices, orange peel, oak and toffee.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask – Another double matured whisky in ex bourbon and American oak casks, the Laphroaig Quarter cask delivers deep, smoky, but gentle sweetness. With aromas of coconut and banana and peaty undertones it’s a beautiful gold liquid with a lingering smoke and spice finish.
Ardbeg Uigeadail – Try and pronounce this before you drink too much of it!!! It’s pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’ and whilst that might be a mouthful for some, it will at least be a scrumptious mouthful! Deep, deep gold in colour and packed full of smoky aromatics, this is a whisky to really get the party started. A big hitter in terms of richness and complex flavours comprising both sweetness and spiciness, this pretty much ticks all the boxes.
Dessert/Cheese board – Formal
Some people like a sweet dessert, some prefer to go straight for the cheeseboard, so we’ll leave it up to you which you opt for, but these whiskies will complement either, equally well.
The Macallan Double cask 15 year old – We couldn’t help ourselves! Who wouldn’t want to round off their evening by pairing their dessert or cheese with a sumptuous dram of The Macallan! Admittedly, it’s a little extravagant, but with notes of butterscotch, apple and sweet spice, how could anyone resist? Maturated in both European and American Oak casks, this complex whisky just oozes sophistication and leaves a soft, lingering flavour of oak and spice on the palate, perfectly harmonising with a sweet dessert and counterbalancing the richness of cheese.
Aberlour 12 year old- If you can tear yourself away from admiring the gorgeous golden amber and ruby flecked hues of the liquid, you’ll discover a soft, warm, mellow but sweet whisky with fruity notes of apple and rich chocolate on the palate. Matured in Traditional Oak and Sherry butts, this is a beautifully balanced whisky.
The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve – A slightly more unusual choice, but one which pairs fantastically with cheese due to it’s rich, fruity, smooth and caramel toffee notes. A dark amber coloured whisky which has had a portion of its liquid matures in ex Caribbean rum barrels.
So, there you have it, some food partners to help you enjoy your favourite or never before tried drams. Whatever you choose to do, don’t miss the opportunity to make the most of a wonderfully complex drink, which has taken years to mature – I mean, it’s for World Whisky Day, so we’ve got to, right?!