Top pairings | 10 food pairings for peaty whiskies

Top pairings

10 food pairings for peaty whiskies

Following my trip to Islay a while ago I drew up some pairings for its extraordinary peaty whiskies. I’m not a great one for whisky dinners but I like the idea of serving tapa-sized dishes with a dram.

Many of these are untried but here are some of the flavours and ingredients I think would work with whiskies such as Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig.

1. Roquefort
Must kick off with a classic. Read this match of the week for the reason why

2. Mutton or rare breed lamb
A pairing that’s closer to home. Islay almost certainly has more sheep than people and the lamb has the same sort of rich, aromatic flavour as salt marsh lamb. In miniaturised terms I’d be thinking of mutton pies or a not-too-spicy lamb samosa.

3. Middle eastern style lamb meatballs or kofte
Similar thinking with a touch of spice

4. Char siu, barbecued or pulled pork
It would heighten the smokey barbecued effect deliciously, I think, and could deal with the sweetness of a marinade

5. Smoked reindeer or venison
Scandinavians are great fans of Islay whiskies, I hear, and I’m sure would love smoked meats like reindeer or venison with them - maybe as a part of a tailormade smorgasbord selection

6. Teriyaki salmon
Again a speculative pairing but I reckon cubes or skewers of teriyaki salmon would work really well

7. Kipper quiche or paté
You’re not going to want to drink whisky with your kippers (I would hope) but in a tartlet or mixed with cream or cream cheese in a paté I’m sure it would work.

8. Charred or roast aubergines
There’s got to be a veggie pairing for peaty whisky and my money’s on aubergine - most likely in the form of the middle eastern spread baba ganoush.

9. Kitcheree
The authentic Indian version with lentils rather than the anglicised one with smoked haddock. Served as a rice bowl.

10. Plain, dark chocolate - at least 70%
Pretty good with blended whisky - bound to be good with a peaty one.

And one for luck: Maltesers! I was originally tipped off by someone who works at Lagavulin and then tried it for myself. It's weirdly moreish - you have to try it for yourself!

Photo by Scott Jessiman Photo at

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Comments: 3 (Add)

Roy Herd on November 1 2013 at 12:50

I must add, (although please do not judge me) that the new Port Charlotte 10yo goes fantastically with Craster kippers for breakfast! The tarry smokiness and sweetness of the malt really works with the similar flavours in a good kipper!

Bea on March 18 2013 at 20:58

I always keep a bottle of Bowmore: peaty and complex enough but goes down easily and my favourite with food. A good way to test the quality of a dark chocolate (70-80% or dark chocolate mousse): if they both stay long enough on the palate without one empowering the other, it's a good one. Superb with a starter of cubes of smoked raw salmon. Simple yet intense with fresh tagliatelle, slivers of Scottish salmon smoked over peat and heather, freshly chopped chive (dill doesn't work), drizzle of olive oil.

Patrick Carpenter on November 1 2012 at 10:40

Laphroaig diluted with burn water is great with undiluted kippers

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