Combining whisky with food

Patrick Björsjö

Hi everyone! What many of our readers have in common is a desire for more, crystal clear tips on how to combine culinary flavours with whisky. Here is some simple, basic advice, whereby I’ve divided whiskies roughly into two categories: non-smoky and smoky.

ELEGANT, NON-SMOKY WHISKY AND CHEESE

Hard cheeses with a distinctly salty flavour go with whisky like hand in glove. As a rule, Parmesan, a well matured Gruyère or a two to three-year-old Comté make a great match for non-smoky whisky. Give your favourite combination a try. American Bourbons also work well. I personally recommend combining Comté with a slightly sweeter, spicier whisky, which marries nicely with the saltiness and unami of the cheese.

NON-SMOKY TYPES HAVE A TASTE FOR CHOCOLATE

While other types of elegant whiskies, matured in sherry casks, for example, also work well, they truly come into their own together with dark chocolate, preferably with a cocoa content of around 70–75%. 

The bitterness of the chocolate is balanced, bringing forth dried fruit, raisins and a peppery flavour. One exciting combination is dark chocolate flavoured with orange together with a non-smoky whisky containing citrus tones. This suddenly accentuates the sublime citrus, creating an intriguing marriage of flavours.

SMOKY WHISKY AND FAT MAKE GOOD FRIENDS

Cheese, cheese and cheese again … but cheese with a kick. A king-sized kick! Imagine the mouldiest cheeses you can think of. For me, Roquefort is the ultimate companion for a smoky, straight whisky. The fusion of the salt and creamy fat with the sweet vanilla from the oak cask is definitely trés bienGenerally speaking, salty, fatty ingredients or culinary flavours marry effortlessly with smoky whiskies.

Living here on the West Coast, I enjoy the odd bowl of smooth and creamy lobster soup with strong flavours and rich, salty stock, together with a smoky whisky and a cold, dry lager. 

So start trying out your favourite whiskies with your favourite culinary dishes and flavours. And please feel free to share your experiences and tips.

Enjoy life! / Patrick Björsjö, Experience Manager