The drab, grey skies have been sending forth a constant dreary drizzle all day. Gusts of cold, blustery wind shake the curtains as a rumble of thunder rings out. A dismal gloom, punctuated by a steady pitter-patter on the windowpane, descends on your otherwise cheery living room.
On days like these, all you really want is to curl up under a duvet with a novel and a glass of fine whiskey for warmth. What better way to revive your spirits when it’s pouring outside, than with a dram of smoky, peaty scotch? Pair with a slice of richly spiced tea-cake, and you’ve got a combination even gods would envy.
A robust scotch that can stand up to the pervading scent of wet earth, such as the Macallan 12-year-old Sherry Oak, holds several delightful possibilities. This full-bodied whiskey is reminiscent of Christmas pudding—fraught with elements of marmalade, golden raisins and candied peel.
A homemade fruit cake, such as the Dundee cake—a traditional Scottish recipe—makes for a divine pairing with the Macallan. Big, firm notes of sherry and oak in the scotch complement this sweet, zesty cake which is baked with currants, sultanas and almonds. These ingredients, in turn, serve to bring out the undertones of nutmeg and spice present in the Macallan.
Alternatively, a rich ginger cake makes for an equally worthy accompaniment to the Macallan. The Macallan’s crisp notes of sweet oak balance the piquant, buttery ginger without detracting from it. The mélange of spicy ginger and honeyed sherry oak is pure manna, especially during inclement weather.
If you’re in the mood to truly indulge, a decadent slice of warm chocolate cake is bound to fulfill your cravings. It is hard to go wrong when pairing whiskey with chocolate. The richness of dark cocoa and the earthy smokiness of peat come together in heady, almost sinful harmony. Serve with vanilla custard for an added depth in flavor. How about serving some Ardbeg? The vanilla in the cake brings forth the latent aroma of nutmeg in the scotch.
The rains never need be a dampener again.
Does a jaunt to the fair with your five-year-old assail you with visions from your own childhood? Does it revive memories of a jolly carousel spin, the breathtaking view from a Ferris wheel, and of course, the food stalls? Of course, sampling the ubiquitous fare of corn dogs, cotton candy and caramel apple may not impart the same joy you felt back then.
It takes time to appreciate, but then if you do, you cannot really imagine sipping your whiskey without expecting some peat. If you have not acquired the taste yet, give it a little time. And pairing up your dram of peaty delight with the right kind of food uplifts the experience manifold. Many would argue that it isn’t necessary to have a starter with whiskey or scotch.
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.