Top 5 Simple Foods to Pair with Scotch and Whiskey

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smiling_da_vinci

I recently started drinking whiskey for the same reason most other people do -- because someone they knew was drinking whiskey. For the past decade, I'd stayed away from the brown stuff, because all the Crown shots from college had left a mental (not to mention liver) scar. But now I'm learning that whiskey (and its big brother, Scotch whisky) are to be enjoyed by the sip, not thrown carelessly down the throat.

With my new-found hobby came a chance to throw yet another party. What is better than putting people and alcohol together in a room and seeing what happens? I had everyone bring a favorite bottle and ended up with a wide range from bold and smoky like the Laphroaig, a single malt from the Scottish island of Islay, to Jameson, a smooth Irish whiskey often used in cocktails. We also had a Macallan 10-year, a Macallan 12-year, and a Lagavulin -- all stellar Scotch whiskies.

But what sort of food do you serve at a Scotch and whiskey party? What goes well with their complex tastes and doesn't overwhelm nor embitter them? Perhaps most importantly, what won't break the bank or be too cumbersome to prepare? After digging around online, here is what I served.

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Petras B.
5. Cheese

Pair smoky or spicy Scotch whiskies, such as Laphroaig, with a stronger cheese like Roquefort. With sweeter Scotches like Glenmorangie, try a softer cheese such as brie. To capture variety, I served a cheese plate from Costco that included sharp cheddar, swiss, havarti, and gouda.

4. Chocolate

Whiskey is a great complement to chocolate, especially dark chocolate. The more cacao, the better. I went with dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses for an unpretentious dessert since the store didn't have the Hershey's Extra Dark squares I usually prefer.

3. Fruit

Something tangy or tart, like apples or pears, goes well with whiskey. Try to stay away from fruits that contain too much citrus, like oranges -- this will mask too much of the whiskey's flavor.

2. Pub mix

I purchased a huge container of pub mix from Costco which had a combination of Worcestershire rye chips, honey-roasted sesame chips, pretzel sticks, Oriental rice crackers, nacho bagel chips, and mustard-seasoned twisted pretzels. These offered a delightful salty choice for snacking. You can go even more lowbrow and serve Chex Mix or salted peanuts. Aside from the chocolates, this took next to no time to prepare: just open the container and pour.

1. Pork ribs

As an afterthought, I slow-roasted a rack of pork spareribs in the oven. I figured my guests needed something savory in their stomachs to soak up all the Scotch. When it comes to serving meat, simplicity works best. You don't want to overwhelm the taste buds with both a smoky whiskey and a heavily spice-rubbed meat drowned in hot barbecue sauce. I seasoned the ribs with curry, onion, and garlic powders and a little bit of brown sugar, wrapped them in foil and let them marinate. I then roasted them at 450 degrees for about an hour and let them sit in their juices for ten minutes before serving.



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12 comments
whiskeyisnotscotch
whiskeyisnotscotch

Cheese, I agree, 

Chocolate, I agree,

Fruit also, I agree,

Something that I have found at many tastings are 'sour jelly worms' the tartyness seems to play off of the salty smoky flavour of the Islay's Scotches I love.

Sea salt in a bowl with olive oil for dipping breads go well also.

Wallnuts and roasted almonds in different bowls, also go well. 

Smoked Chicken wings go well also.

Glenn
Glenn

jarrod, you and sir Ron should hang out!

Glenn
Glenn

Lick a dick sir Ron! You re a snob , have a bud light and eat some party mix beeatch!,,

Muldova
Muldova

This article is pretty horrible


JarrodJM
JarrodJM

The guy who brought Laphroaig (I'm assuming the 10 yr) must have felt like a cheap putz when he saw that someone brought Lagavulin. Huge price and quality differential there.

SirRon
SirRon

I'm no Top 5 expert like you guys at EOW, but the #1 food to pair with whiskey was your afterthought? And Costco variety pub mix was #2?

Is tobacco a food? I've only ever paired whiskey with a cigar.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Yes, cigars are the best thing to pair with scotch, but you don't chew it and swallow it down your esophagus, so no, it is not a food and thus does not belong in this list.  It is also not always lowbrow (unless you bought it from the corner store), so double-strike against cigars belonging on this list.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

True, but as this is only a blog and not an encyclopedia article, I don't have time to cover all the bases.  Sorry.

Bruce R
Bruce R

True, and not all chicken is fried.

SirRon
SirRon

But as my comment wasn't an encyclopedia article, I mistakenly assumed you would see my silent {\}. Double strike against literal interpretations, huge tubs of cheap pretzels, and mindless Top 5s.

FWIW, in this world of gray (not black and white), this was still a good read. Sorry to not subscribe to the this-is-the-greatest/worst-thing-evar mentality that is supposed to rule blog comment sections.

Peace out.

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