Most whiskey pairings involve cheese and chocolates. But has it ever occurred to you that you can broaden the whiskey food-pairing repertoire? When you invite your besties over for a sumptuous weekend dinner, a gourmet expedition is not a bad idea. It will unfold experiences untold.
The Scots have been pairing whiskey with lamb since long. But this combination has not found way to dinner tables in several regions which includes South Africa. It is common to serve meals with beer and wine but whiskey still remains a digestif.
If you have a lovely piece of lamb waiting in your fridge, why not combine it with your guest’s favorite whiskey this time? Unless you are a whiskey enthusiast, pairing lamb and whiskey can be an interesting challenge.
As the flavors of whiskey can be complex, one should be careful with the spices used as ingredients for the lamb. For rich lamb dishes, a robust and spicy whiskey with long finish, such as Glenfiddich Red Oak would be the perfect complement. A lamb steak goes well with blackcurrant and plum flavors of whiskey. Single malt scotch is the perfect accompaniment to succulent lamb chops. Serve the single malt neat with a light splash of spring water. This allows the scotch’s aromatic complexities to unravel and meld gradually with the distinctive flavor of lamb.
A delicate balance needs to be achieved when pairing whiskey with lamb as the spirit’s robust and playful flavor profile may overpower the dish.
Lamb with dried fruits is a popular dish which you may have already experimented with. The ingredients include apricot, dates, plum, cinnamon, olive oil and black pepper. Among the gold-standard malts, Highland Park 12 would go well with this innovative lamb dish. As the succulent meat falls apart under the mild pressure of the fork and finds way to the taste buds, the whiskey’s flavors seamlessly mingle with the taste of the meat and spices. Sweet smoky finish and a sherry component of the liquor will stand out on the nose. You could also experiment with HP 18, which may turn out even better.
A dram of whiskey also makes a good match with barbecued spring lamb. One of the best ways to cook spring lamb is to keep it simple. Instead of garlic use fresh shallots which add a rich flavor to the slow-cooked gravy. Throw in few sprigs of rosemary in the barbeque embers which add the perfect flavor to the mild, silky spring lamb. A non-peated whiskey such as the Glen Fiddich 15-year old will clearly bring out the sweetness of this heavenly pairing. Do not miss out on this if you are hosting a summer outdoor cookout. The whiskey tastes even better after the outdoor grilling pleasure.
Doing a dish hearty and sophisticated is important if you want to earn the title of the “perfect host.” You may not want to match up to what is served in a Michelin three-star restaurant but a simple desire for the flavor of whiskey to come through can be easily realized. So pour yourself a dram, wear the apron and embark on a delightful culinary adventure.
Pairing up drinks with food has always been a tricky affair. However, that has not stopped chefs, restaurateurs and mixologist from becoming adventurous. While their spree of exploration, creativity and inquisitiveness have resulted in the most divine of unions, it has also triggered the emergence of some unlikely bedfellows.
Katherine, she called herself. Katherine Hepburn. And it was she, being her delectable sassy, fearless self, who once winced, “What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” Katherine was, indeed, a work in chocolate. If you know, or of Katherine, and if you have ever had the euphoria of eating chocolate, you’d definitely stutter in your step.
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.