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.
Desserts and whiskies have always made a harmonious marriage. From pies and cupcakes, to entire books written on the perfect whiskey-caramel sauce – a dash of liquor adds a layer of complexity to the richness of dark chocolate and the nostalgia of sliced apples – bringing out the best of both worlds: the highlight of age coupled with the joys of childhood.
That’s precisely the charm of a dessert-whiskey pairing.
The bold silhouette of each complementing the other in perfect concord, the bittersweet alcohol is an ideal companion to traditional sweets – like the crème brûlée. A crème brûlée comes with a volley of daunting associations – notoriously difficult to make, the thickness of its sugary crust and a barely-set texture instills fear in the hearts of many master home-cooks.
So, should you push the boundaries with a rebellious helping of alcohol on the side?
The crème brûlée is known for its nuanced flavor profile, with a sharp, sugary sprig emerging from its caramel envelope. Hence, pairing it with medium-to-light whiskies proves particularly effective. Lighter blends like the Chivas Regal 12 Year Old can be overwhelmed and pushed aside on the palate. On the other hand, the peaty oiliness of Johnnie Walker Double Black is too contentious for a light, creamy combination.
Experts, connoisseurs, and discerning amateurs alike seem to prefer a floral concoction.
Tyrconnell 10-Year-Old Single Malt Madeira is a mellow Irish whiskey with 46% ABV and a pronounced floral note – evoking an almost wine-like presence (it’s flair for food-pairings is no surprise). With a clear yet bold aroma, Tyrconnell begins with a refined balance – letting the freshly-burnt warmth of caramel wafts through. On the palate, the Single Malt hits all the right notes.
A highland touch, akin to chocolate-roasted almonds, plays with the slight bitterness in the toasted sugar. A creamy suggestion of honey reflects the dessert’s delicately firm body, and a hint almost-stark sweetness (like ribbon-candy) carries the subtlety of the brûlée one step further. With a finish that’s ‘soft and sweet’ this whiskey aged in Madeira wine casks evokes a sense of sophistication – reminiscent of the archetypal crème brûlée.
Good things, they say, often come in small packages. At your next dinner party, then, why not shelve the familiar long-neck, and bring out its more petite cousin instead?
Typically, a whisky connoisseur is a man of habits. He sits with a glass of Jim Bean after a heartwarming dinner, sharing a weekend round with equally discerning peers – or relishing a solitary moment with his single-malt and bedroom slippers.
Fortunately, Eastern customs are turning this picture upside down.
Pairing scotch with food is a bit of a challenge owing to its strong flavor and heavy alcohol content. Even in Scotland, the alcohol is not preferred to be consumed along with dinner, rather served after it. But why reserve your favorite drink for the end? Choose a perfect appetizer to complement the whiskey flavor of your choice.
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.