For many people, finding whiskey complements ends up being hours of fun and discovery. Throughout this article, you will discover many areas of life that can complement whiskey and enrich life. You will learn how pairing whiskies and food, whiskies and cigars, and whiskies and cocktails create beautiful moments in life.
First, it’s not hard to see why whiskey as a stand-alone beverage can captivate an individual or a group of people. Of course, some people feel the same about wine, but more commonly, it’s seen as the best drink accompanied by food (think wine and cheese pairings).
Whiskey pairing has just as much potential to pair with food as does wine. However, whiskey complements have the potential to reach a larger audience. I mean, what’s more, iconic than a tumbler of scotch and a cigar? There’s nothing wrong with taking your whisk(e)y neat and drinking it on its own.
But you might be missing a whole world of excellent whiskey complements.
If you’re looking to delve into whisky pairings, here are a few great places to start:
Whiskey and Food Complements
Firstly, many great whiskey complements would put even the best wine pairing to the test. One complement which goes well with whiskey is chocolate.
It might seem strange, but many consider whisky and chocolate a match made in heaven. Not only Scotch, but also Irish, American, Japanese, and other whiskies worldwide complements chocolate. Scotch, in particular, suits chocolate well, notably Islays like Lagavulin 16.
The sweetness of chocolate blends and offsets of peat adds a new dimension to whiskey. For the same reason, peated Irish whiskies will also complement chocolate well. Dark chocolate is preferable to milk chocolate because its robust flavor will hold up to the whiskey.
While wine has traditionally dominated pairings with cheese, whiskey is a rising star as a complement cheese. Its bold flavor of some whiskies can go toe-to-toe with even the most flavorful cheeses.
As a rule of thumb, try to match the flavor profile of the whisky to the cheese. Are you sipping big, bold rye? Try it, not only with sharp, aged cheddar but also pepper jack cheese, or a salty parmesan.
A more subtle bourbon? Try something a bit creamier like brie. In addition, reserve blue cheese for the more prominent, most intense flavors of a sherry-casked or peated whisky.
A “Robert Burns Night” is a celebration not only of the poet’s life and works but of his love for pairing scotch and haggis. Haggis complements Scotch whisky more so than any of the world whiskies. So while haggis may be off-putting to some, it’s loved by scotch drinkers who appreciate just how well it pairs with whisky.
If you’re going to host your own Robert Burns Night, scotch whiskey has to be present to complement the haggis. Some would suggest a Speyside whisky as the haggis and whiskey complement since Speyside whiskies seem to be younger and subtle in flavor.
Whiskey and Cigar complement
Secondly, it’s hard to think of a more iconic pairing than a glass of whisk(e)y and a lit cigar. The image is timeless and cinematic. But there’s more to the pairing than just old-school aesthetics.
Cigars and whisky do pair fantastically. Whiskey lovers can find a lot of the same flavor profiles in a good whisk(e)y in a good cigar, and they can complement each other when combined.
While scotch is always seen as the de facto whisky to go with a cigar, bourbon can also be an excellent choice. The charred oak from the barrel in which it’s aged can impart a slight acidity to the whisky, which seems to fade in the presence of real smoke.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to mix and match to discover what pairings are best. Like with food, you don’t want one to overwhelm the other. If you’ve opted for a subtle smoke, try a more subdued dram. If you’re going big and bold, bust out the big guns.
Whiskey in Cocktail complements
Finally, there’s not much better than pairing whisk(e)y with the appropriate cocktail accouterments. Bitters (like the famous Angostura variety) bring out characters in whiskies that aren’t as readily apparent in a straight-up dram.
A dash of vermouth elevates whisk(e)y in a Manhattan, and a touch of simple syrup brings alive an Old Fashioned.
While you may not be as familiar with pairing whisk(e)y with food, you’ve probably enjoyed whisk(e)y in a cocktail. To emphasize, whiskey complement represents a dynamic nature of the drink to respond to combinations and additives.
Plus, as a bonus, these cocktails can be paired with food and cigars to widen the range of the already broad whisk(e)y experience. So there’s a lot more you can explore with whiskey cocktails.
If you love whisk(e)y, you’ll love whisk(e)y pairings. They’re an excellent opportunity to make an already dynamic experience all the more diverse. Like wine, whisk(e)y goes great with certain foods, and experimenting will help you find them.
Some, like chocolate and haggis, have become famous for how well they complement an excellent dram.
Whisk(e)y also allows for exploration with cigars and cocktails. These augmentations will broaden and change the experience, allowing the drinker to explore whisk(e)y more in-depth.
Take the next step in your whisky journey — try some pairings!