Whiskey may be considered the “water of life” but what is life without a little bit of good food to go along with it? Pairing snacks with whiskey may be a controversial move because whiskey does not go well with just anything. It’s important to be strategic in what you pair with it. For your next boys night in or house party, we’ll help you plan a menu that goes beyond just the drinks. Here are the best snacks to complement the tasty flavor of your whiskey drink or cocktail.
The reason cheese is a go-to snack to pair with whiskey is because they are both available in a variety of flavors and both are aged. Some cheeses are sharp, others are mild and a few are stinky. As such, not all cheeses pair well with every type of whiskey. If you’re drinking more of a smoky whiskey, pair it with a sharp, aged cheddar. Does your whiskey have a slight sweetness to it? Softer goat cheese or brie pair well with lighter, sweeter whiskey. You can add an apple or pear spread to serve along with the softer cheeses as fruity flavors are a nice complement to whiskey.
Nuts or snack mixes
Snack mixes that include pretzels, sesame sticks, rye chips and peanuts are a great option to munch on while enjoying whiskey. If you’re thinking of adding nuts, pay attention to the types of nuts as the ones you think might pair well with whiskey do not. As a general rule of thumb: heavily roasted nuts go well with smoky flavored whiskey. Sweet nuts like pecans, pistachios and Marcona almonds are a great complement to peaty, strong whiskey. And contrary to what you might think, a more bitter nut (say, Brazil nuts or walnuts) works best with a sweeter whiskey.
As with the other snacks, there’s a wide gamut of sweets to choose from when it comes to pairing with whiskey. A standard option that you can’t go wrong with is chocolate as it’s a perfect complement to whiskey. Overall, the best type of chocolate to experiment with is dark chocolate (the higher the quality, the better). If you’re tasting a strong whiskey, try plain dark chocolate. And milk chocolate (plain, or hint of chili or ginger) tastes great with rye whiskey. Have any salted hazelnut chocolates lying around? Pair them with a single malt whiskey.
Aside from chocolate, another dessert that brings out the best flavors in bourbon is either apple pie or apple crumb. Bourbon with a high rye content works well because of its natural caramel flavor.
Although meat isn’t a snack per se, it’s a great option to pair with whiskey if you’re looking for more of a meal to serve. If you’re serving whiskey with a high rye content, like bourbon, smoked salmon is a perfect choice. The smoked salmon gives your bourbon a fruity, spicy flavor.
Likewise, a juicy grilled steak is a fantastic option to pair with whiskey. As with the other options outlined here, try experimenting with different cuts of meat and seasoning. Medium bodied, smoky whiskey works well as the flavor complements the beef. On the other hand, a leaner steak can go really well with a bourbon. Experimentation is really the game when it comes to whiskey and the snacks you try pairing with it.Want an easy way to experiment with unique types of craft whiskey? Look no further than RackHouse Whiskey Club. RackHouse scours the U.S. looking for the best distilleries with the most interesting stories to curate a unique subscription box filled with full-sized bottles of hard-to-find small batch whiskey. We’re building a community of premium craft whiskey drinkers, and you’re invited. Join us!