Weekend special: These five bites will rock with your whisky
Unlike beer, which the common palate know goes best with fried and hot flavours, the perfect bite complementing whisky is less explored. The result is 'on the rocks' has become the established order. However, the tipple is quite versatile and can be paired with a lot of dishes, including Indian.
Shehan Minocher, Brand Ambassador, Moet Hennessy India shares, "Although not as common as pairing wine and beer with food, marrying whisky with the right food results in a highly rewarding drinking and gastronomic experience. Whisky has been a favoured companion for chefs who often use it to either marinade, glaze or even fire up a sauce through a flambé for an added touch of drama. Traditionally perceived as an aperitif or digestif, today our favourite clear brown spirit has become a popular choice for experimental chefs and restaurants across the globe." Minocher further adds, “The perfect combination of libation and food can be distilled down to two key flavour components: complementary or contrasting. Both work equally well in stimulating the palate to provide a multi-sensorial experience that perfectly brings together texture, taste, aroma and emotion."
Here, Minocher has broken down the pairing process with five of his favourite foods. Check it out and enjoy your drink to the optimum.
While Sushi is traditionally paired with Sake, a Single Malt Whisky can provide an exciting alternative for those feeling a bit experimental. Most seafood is quite delicate in its flavour and can be easily overpowered by a full-bodied scotch. Luckily for us Sushi doesn’t always mean just raw fish, it is a combination of a variety of ingredients including soy sauce, vinegars, pickled ginger, wasabi and more. This results in a rich palate that presents itself well to pair with the right whisky. The obvious choice here would be a Japanese Whisky as they are very well balanced and have a complex base flavour to build off. The less obvious choice would be Single Malt Scotch, this can be a bit trickier but very rewarding it if you get it right. The ideal pairing would be whiskies with saline characteristics and good minerality. Think coastal malts and lightly peated Islay whiskies.
The Perfect Tipple: Ardbeg An Oa
Arguably Britain’s unofficial national food – Pie’s. Mince Pies, Shepherd’s Pie, Pecan Pie or Pot Pies , there’s something just so fulfilling and heart-warming about a pie. All pies work incredibly well with Scotch Whisky. The Maillard reaction that takes place on the dough through baking caramelises the starch and brings out nostalgic flavours of burnt butter and baked bread, couple this with stewed meats or veggies and you have a dish oozing with robust flavours ready to be paired with a fine whisky. Full bodied, well rounded single malts are the ideal companion for a pie, especially those matured in Sherry casks – Oloroso or PX (or both in some cases). The richness and dark fruity flavours wonderfully complement a traditional pie and the alcohol helps cut into the heaviness of the starch whilst highlighting some of the malty notes in the whisky.
The Perfect Tipple: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban
The Tandoor is an interesting culinary tool that is probably as old as whisky itself! A technique predicated on extreme heat, the tandoor is intensified by its clay and ceramic sides. It takes skill and courage to successfully work with a tandoor, but the flavours developed are mind-blowing. Meat, Vegetables and Paneer are usually marinated in light spices and yogurt before being immersed into the tandoor where they pick up flavours of smoke and char. The spices are mellowed down by the heat that brings out interesting aromatics. Pairing a whisky with spicy food can be difficult, too much can be overwhelming on the palate. Islay whiskies that have a good level of peat but balanced with sweetness work great with a Chicken Tikka or Fish Tikka. Lighter and sweeter whiskies from Speyside or even single malts matured in new charred oak casks also work perfectly with a Malawi Kebab or Paneer preparations.
The Perfect Tipple: Glenmorangie Nectar D'or with Malawi kebabs/paneer
Nothing seals off a good meal like a light, airy, velvety dark chocolate mousse especially with a pinch of sea salt. Vanilla, oak and honey are flavours found in most single malt scotch whiskies and they all blend perfectly with dark chocolate. Marry the texture of a mousse with rich single malt and it’s a multi-sensorial delight. Well-aged whiskies with strong oak characteristics work great with the creamy chocolate and the hints of sea salt create bursts of flavour on the palate.
The Perfect Tipple: Glenmorangie 18 YO
Almost everyone is familiar with wine and cheese but what about whisky and cheese? Whisky and cheese work in a very similar way, you look to unite two strengths of flavour. In other words, smelly, hard cheeses require a full-bodied strong single malt while creamier cheeses work better with gentle, lighter-bodied whiskies. One of my all-time favourites is Gorgonzola with Ardbeg 10 - the smokiness of the whisky works phenomenally with the strong flavours of blue cheese. Aged, crystalline cheeses with salty characteristics pair perfectly with coastal single malts. Camembert is ideal with an easy drinking Speyside Malt. The most obvious one would be smoked cheese with smoky whisky to create an explosion of smoke that is balanced perfectly by the creaminess and texture of the cheese.
The Perfect Tipple: Ardbeg 10 with Blue Cheese