If you are mad about meat and like a dram for dinner, chances are you are a steak junkie. It’s no secret that whiskey goes well with a prime cut, done up crisp or left bloody. But, here’s the thing – it’s not just a shank or belly that couples just right with a glass of rich bourbon or scotch. Offal are just as worthy.
The Sicilians cook a mean stew with seasonal vegetables and veal tripe, slowly braised from the crack of dawn and sold as regular street fare. The little pepper, olive oil and lemon seasoning adds the adequate zing you need to pair it with a measure of Kilbeggan 8 Year Old. The young Irish single grain exudes creamy cereals and white chocolate, finishing short with some traces of toffee and butter. Although the pairing might seem counterintuitive, and unlike pairing wine which aims for familiarity, whiskey thrives on contrast which is exactly what this match offers up.
Pate is passé, but that shouldn’t be cause enough to ignore the humble liver. The only problem is, the organ leaves a very strong aftertaste which ends up subtracting from an otherwise pleasant experience. A grass-fed lamb’s liver or for that matter, chicken liver, pan fried with white onions, vinegar, tarragon, pepper makes a great prelude to a glass of Templeton Rye. Capone’s drink of choice – orange, allspice and butterscotch dominate the pallet. Even at 4 years of age, the wood is palpable in every sip and compliments the earthy creaminess of the liver.
The hardest-to-reach places hold the most coveted treasures and bone marrow is a fitting example in that regard. Try it as just an appetizer or as the main course, the buttery texture and the subtle umami is exceedingly more sublime than a cut of Kobe cooked to perfection. Diced marrow even makes an excellent ingredient in a salad or roast platter. The Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch makes for affable company. Combining single malts from Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie, the deeply oaky profile is intercut with strong notes of dried apricots and honey offer a sweet counterpoint for the marrow’s nuttiness.
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.
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.
Few things in life are more gratifying than sinking your teeth into a toasty grilled cheese sandwich oozing warm, gooey cheddar, on chilly winter evenings. So astonishingly simple, yet so satisfying— this classic dish continues to reign among favorites. How does one top such a meal? By accompanying it with a choice dram, of course.