You’ve planned your menu with impeccable finesse. The freshly-caught sea bass is poaching in a pan, simmering in juices of its lime-ginger marinade. A medley of vegetables, handpicked carefully from your grocer this morning, nestles in the oven to roast. Bottles of the finest Scotch sit perched atop your bar counter, lined up invitingly. Each course mirrors a fine culinary sophistication.
Needless to note, dessert is not an afterthought. For many, it is the ultimate culmination of a truly gratifying meal. Justifiably, the epicurean in you balks at the prospect of your guests selecting the wrong whiskey to accompany their sweets. Ill-matched combinations can do more than slightly mar the palate— they may upset the flavors of an entire meal.
Pies have always been an integral feature in my book of desserts. Passed down across generations, family recipes have never failed to delight and provide a heartwarming comfort. Some of you will fondly remember those days, when after returning from school, the tantalizing trails of baking pie crust and fruits would lead you straight to the kitchen. And what can be better than marrying your soul dessert with a dram of your coveted whiskey?
A rich ginger pie pairs perfectly with a glass of a sweet, woody single malt, like the 18-Year-Old Macallan Sherry Oak. The Macallan’s crisp notes of sweet oak balance the piquant, buttery ginger without detracting from it.
You can serve a warm pumpkin pie with subtle and smooth single malt, with spicy notes. The Glenrothes Select Reserve pairs quite well with this time-honored Thanksgiving dessert. The luscious, ripe fruitiness of the whiskey accentuates the nutmeg and cinnamon in the pie, while delicate nuances of vanilla and citrus in the Glenrothes lend new dimension to the dish.
A pecan pie is decadence served in a dish – a heady concoction of sugar, butter and rich pecan nuts. A spicy rye whisky, with a big flavor profile will be perfect to wash down a pecan pie with. You can try some Lock Stock & Barrel with the pie. The spiciness of the whisky cuts through the richness, while its dark herbal flavor brings out the nuttiness of the pecans.
It will be blasphemous to leave out the most-loved entity of the pie kind – the apple pie. Anything sweet and floral, with citrus undertones pairs well with apple pies. The Glenmoraigne Nectar D’Or is matured in casks previously used to age Sauternes, a French dessert wine obtained from botrytis-infected grapes. It is delicate, striking a perfect balance of sweetness, spice and zestiness, just like the apple pie.
So, what are you waiting for? Crank up the oven, uncork your bottle and sit down for some whiskey and pie.
Post-dinner indulgences can take several directions – you can traverse a more restrained route with a conventional, sugary dessert, or round off the hearty meal with a glass of whiskey.
Or, you can even intertwine the two for a rewarding – if unusual – nightcap.
As the weather warms up, it is tempting to take cooking and dining outdoors.
To live a life full of adventure, one has to escape the ordinary. If you are up for this quest and willing to go beyond the cliché, food and whiskey pairing is the emerging culinary art. Whiskey and food matching may seem daunting because of the former’s complex character, but once you delve deep into the process, there are some ridiculously delicious flavors waiting to explode in your mouth.