BASIC CONCEPTS & COMBINATIONS
Before we begin delving into some basics of whisky and food, I suggest you take a trip back to our earlier post in the series, CLICK HERE
Now Whisky much like wine has certain basic notes to keep in mind. It can be full bodied (a complete mouth feel, much like having a meal in a glass), medium bodied or Light bodied. Some whiskys may be hard on the palate while some might be soft on the palate. They range in terms of smokiness, sweetness, fruitiness, maltiness, spiciness etc. (Click here to know more) All of which effect the kind of food to be served with it.
Keep certain things in mind while pairing whisky with food;
- Choose food on the basis of whisky, not the other way around. This may be contrary to what people do with wine. Master sommeliers spend years training to assist clients select wine to pair their food selection with.Whisky tends to be more of an investment, not only because of price (wine also has a reputation of being exorbitant at times) but because you can only consume a limited amount of whisky from a bottle at a time (not that that doesnt stop people from downing a whole bottle).Simply put you can take about 6 glasses of wine from an average sized bottle while about 24 odd pegs can be made of a whisky bottle.
- Classify the whisky that you wish to pair with your food. This is based on the camps of whisky that are given below, something many whisky experts and aficionados use on a daily basis.
- However, at the same time, be experimentative. Since Whisky and food is a relatively young field of exploration, much of its lands are unknown, so do try to be experimentative as well. At the end of the day, it is up to how you prepare the dish and what you think it tastes best with.
Now lets classify what whisky is best for which food based on oits family;
- FRAGRANT/ LIGHT BODIED
SERVE WHEN: As an aperitif, before commencing a meal, or with appetisers and snacks
SERVE IN: Champagne flutes, tulips – Chilled
SERVE WITH: Acidic food (using lemon,lime, fruits etc), white meat, lightly prepared meats, such as poaching, steaming
*Aperitif- drink intended to stimulate the palate at the start of a meal.
- MALTY & DRY
SERVE WHEN: An aperitif or as a breakfast whisky
SERVE IN: Old Fashioned- Neat
SERVE WITH: Ideally shouldn’t be served with anything, use in limited quantities at the beginning of a meal as there is a dry dustiness that stimulates the palate or with cereal based food.
*Breakfast Whisky – please understand that I do not encourage drinking in the morning (although Winston Churchill was famous for it) this merely refers to a meal that is similar to breakfast in terms of its components.
- FRUITY & SPICY
SERVE WHEN: At any point of the meal
SERVE IN: White wine glass
SERVE WITH: Almost everything, the fruitiness would suit tart or lightly prepared food, the spiciness suiting pecant (spicy) preparations or any well seasoned food using spices and herbs.
- RICH & ROUND
SERVE WHEN: After dinner or mid meal
SERVE IN: Red wine or Old fashioned glass
SERVE WITH: Possessing tannin’s one could serve it to accompany cigars at the end of a meal. Alternatively their balanced palate would allow red and white meats to go well with it.
- SMOKY & PEATY
SERVE WHEN: With any charred or smoked course, alternatively since most peated whisky comes from the islands or isles, it possess a saline touch perfect for fish or seafood courses. The smoke allows for it to compliment cigars at the end of a meal as well
SERVE IN: Old fashioned glasses, Brandy Snifters – young with Soda and old chilled neat
SERVE WITH: Seafood (fish, crustaceans, oysters, clams), Cigars, Roasted/charred meat and vegetables, also great with smoked food such as smoked fish
So begin your own adventure into the land of whisky and food and classify your favourite bottle and see what food can go well with it.
So that’s all this week to for whisky and food, see you in the next addition where we explore in detail about pairing appetisers and finger food with whisky.