The air is balmy, the sun is crisp, there’s a spring in your step, and even life comes with its own soundtrack – “Step outside, summertime's in bloom.” Come summer and the color palette around you changes. Verdant hues lay siege upon the grey and brown. Markets are flooded with fresh produce, and the smell of barbeque wafts through the clement air. Sitting down for a meal with friends and family echoes the warmth of the season. And if salads and citrus punches are what you thought summer food and drinks are all about, we’d beg to differ. So, let’s break that myth and explore how you can perfectly marry bites of the season with your favorite bottle of whiskey.
When you think of summer whiskies, intensity and depth of color is what we suggest you look for. Full-bodied, they should resonate the same warmth that characterizes summer. Whiskies with fruity and honeyed aromas, along with ones which exude a certain amount of pepperiness and salinity.
If you are having friends over for brunch on a weekend, or hosting an evening soiree, it is probably a good idea to get your barbeque out. If you are not much of a pit master, you can always get the grill or the salamander sizzling. Set some lamb chops marinated in garlic, toasted cumin and cinnamon, paprika, oregano, lemon and olive oil on the barbeque top, or put them under the grill.
Pairing lamb with a whiskey is not a complicated endeavor as some might make it out to be. Simply put, choose a bottle of single malt which compliments the meat's spiciness. A Longmore 16 Year Old is a great choice – its vinous character with hints of pepper and basil lines up perfectly with the richness of barbequed or grilled red meat.
We know that chicken can get a bit boring. How about transforming that Sunday roast? Make a compound butter with garlic, thyme, lemon zest, anchovies, capers and black pepper, and stuff it under the skin. Finally, fill the cavity with some more lemon, thyme and garlic cloves, and slow roast. Once done, open a bottle of Glenmorangie Original or a vintage Balblair and you’ll be golden.
Malts tend to pair very well with fish and sea food. A young, peated malt, matured in bourbon casks makes for the perfect accompaniment to seafood. Scallops go very well with something like the Caol Ila Moch. You can serve linguini and mussels, some crab salad, or some butter-poached lobster with a Caol Ila 12 Year Old. If you prefer drinking unpeated whiskies with your seafood, make sure that they are marine-style, with marked saltiness – a Bruichladdich or Oban being a good bet. Don’t forget the fresh catch from rivers during summertime. A sweet river fish, cooked enpapillottes is heaven on a plate – stuff the fish with fennel, lemon, adding some wine and butter, before wrapping it in parchment paper and cooking in the oven. Fruity and smooth malts such as The Glenlivet or Glenfiddich perfectly echo the sweetness of river fish. These malts also go with a few delicate sea fish as well.
Now that we have given you the ultimate low down on how to pair whiskey with summer fare, we earnestly hope you’ll soon throw a bash. Don’t forget to invite us!
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.
Inviting friends and acquaintances over for drinks is always an exercise in indecision. What drinks do you serve? Do you just make finger food, or put out an entire spread? Add to this the fact that you are done with the whole chips, dips, and cocktails affair – something a little more sophisticated is in order.
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.