Pairings | Whisky
Given that whisky is generally considered the most appropriate match for haggis I thought it would be interesting to check out what Britain’s top whisky experts have to recommend for Burns Night:
I’d been aware that cheese was a good match for whisky but it was good to have the opportunity to try several different styles and cheeses at a tasting recently.
I’ve been a bit of a sceptic in the past about pairing food with whisky. Not that there aren’t some great combinations but I find it hard to sustain for more than one dish.
It struck me as slightly ironic that the best example of a food offering I’ve seen at a consumer tasting recently was the Food Pairing Room at this weekend’s Whisky Show - whisky being the last drink that many people would think of pairing with food.
Asking what to drink with Indian food is a bit like asking what to drink with European food - it’s so incredibly varied - but there are pointers that should hopefully make the decision a bit easier.
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.
One of the all-time favourite British desserts sticky toffee pudding is super-sweet so will overwhelm most wines you might think of pairing with it so what should you choose?
Smoked salmon is most commonly associated with champagne but in fact it goes with many other wines as well as with beer, whisky and vodka.
The type of artisanal cheddar I was writing about yesterday - mature, full-flavoured, unpasteurised - isn’t the easiest cheese to match with wine.
When I was in Dublin a few weeks ago I ate at a pub called L Mulligan Grocer which had been recommended on Twitter by a number of locals. I expected it to be a great hangout - most Dublin pubs are - but not that it would have a strikingly original approach to food and drink pairing
We automatically think of matching wine and cheese or beer and cheese but there are many drinks that work just as well and can give a real ‘wow factor’ to your cheeseboard.
So far as we’re concerned January is all about whisky so what better way to celebrate this fabulous drink than a case of six Scotch whiskies from our friends at The Whisky Exchange? It’s the perfect prize for any whisky lover and a way for those new to the spirit to explore its myriad different styles and flavours. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
Tastings on Twitter are all the rage at the moment. The other day it was BeerBods. Last Thursday it was a tasting organised by The Whisky Wire of whiskies from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with chocolates by William Curley.
If you're on the wagon - or even if you're not - you've probably heard of one or two alcohol-free spirits and aperitifs but you may not be aware just how many there are on the market now. So our good friends at The Whisky Exchange have come up with a whole case of different bottles to inspire you for Dry January - and keep the winner going through February and beyond*.
Among the many invitations I get to food and drink matching events a recent one to attend a dinner at the Bombay Brasserie in London where each course was paired with whisky sounded the most intriguing. But pairing a high strength spirit with spicy food was surely a recipe for disaster?
Whisky may have become firmly entrenched in the after-dinner slot in the Western world but Japan has always been more open to the idea of drinking it with a meal. In fact, the Japanese are much more open-minded about the drinks they enjoy with food and you’ll often find beer, sake and whisky on the table at the same time. It certainly maximises the opportunities of finding a good food and drink match.
There were a number of great matches with Deanston’s Virgin Oak whisky up in Scotland last week but unusually I’m going for the most conventional - a starter of (very good) smoked salmon with gravadlax and a tomato and cucumber dressing at Gleneagles hotel - on the grounds that it’s the most useful.
I’m not a big fan of buying whisky for Father’s Day - it always seems a bit of a cliché - but this new blended malt from Whyte & Mackay is such a great bottle it’s an absolute must for any whisky-loving dad (or mum, come to that!)
Given that it’s Burns Night what other bottle could I feature but whisky? And as I couldn’t make up my mind which one here are five!
I’ve long been an admirer of Compass Box whisky who were one of the first blenders to create and package sophisticated modern ‘artisan’ whiskies as they like to describe them.
If you're planning a Burns Night supper this weekend you may be wondering which whisky to pair with it. Born and bred Scot, Ewan Lacey, general manager of the International Wine & Spirit Competition has some answers.
Occasionally you come across a pairing so brilliant, so simple that you wonder why you’ve never thought of it before and so it was on Saturday evening.
Haggis may be traditional fare for Burns' Night but let's face it, it's not everyone's cup of tea. So here's a Scottish inspired menu that I suspect you'll probably enjoy rather more (unless you're born and bred Scots, of course...)
Unusually Father’s Day, which comes up this weekend, is celebrated on the same day in Britain, the US and France. I must say I think the hype for these ‘special days’ has got a bit out of hand but if mothers are pampered, hey, why not fathers too?
One of the interesting trends I’ve noticed is the number of English whiskies that are now coming on stream including the Masthouse single malt from the Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham, Kent I was sent the other day. (In fact there are, amazingly, more distilleries in England than Scotland now!)
I’ve been away in Scotland for a couple of weeks and seem to been drinking more beer and whisky than wine but the standout pairing was with an innovative dish at The Macallan distillery of fermented barley with a confit egg yolk and caramelised yeast which was like a savoury marmitey risotto. (Much tastier than it looks in my particularly rubbish photo).
This might sound a wacky pairing (OK, it is) but it’s sooo good I had to pass it on. One for Christmas morning, even.
Since we’re incarcerated for the forseeable future with only a daily walk as light relief it struck me we need to go back to the days when people carried a hipflask of something warm and sustaining, particularly given the current icy conditions.
I’ve not been sure what to do with this section since I moved most of my recommendations to my Substack newsletter Eat This, Drink That (which helps to support this website by the way if you feel inclined to take out a subscription).
It’s not often I come across such a good dessert pairing, let alone one with whisky but here’s a stellar one from L Mulligan Grocer in Dublin which offers whisky pairings with all its desserts
A recent email from a reader asked me to suggest a wine to go with “a triple coconut cake with a tangy pineapple icing served with fresh fruit salsa that has kiwi, strawberry, madarine oranges, blueberries and fresh pineapple in it”. Quite a challenge (I suggested demi-sec Champagne or a peach-flavoured liqueur topped up with fizz) but it got me thinking that there are many possible matches for cake beyond a cup of tea or coffee, particularly if you're serving it as a dessert.
Having been on Islay for the jazz festival all weekend I've been thinking about nothing but whisky and jazz but there is as good a combination : Islay whisky and strong blue cheese
If you’re looking for a whiskey to celebrate St Patrick’s Day try to get hold of a bottle of Dunville’s Very Rare Old Irish whiskey.
With temperatures falling well below freezing over the coming week it’s a timely reminder that matching drinks is not just about flavour but temperature and alcohol levels too.
It might seem perverse to pick out a cocktail match during a week of drinking stellar wines in Oregon wine country but I’m saving my new thoughts on wine pairing with Pinot Noir for a more wide-ranging piece. And this is a great cocktail pairing