The FIVE NO of Whisky Pairing

1. Beware Dairy Products

Food rich in umami is a perfect match with whisky, including cheese. Yet, a light whisky that is not sweet enough will easily immerse in rich milk fat and milky flavour, especially blue cheese, washed-rind cheese, cream soup and cheese cake. You should pair dairy products with sweet and rich whisky, such as first fill bourbon, sherry or bourbon sherry.

2. Mind the Spices

Most of the spicy flavours come from spices. Although whisky can resonate with the buzzing sensation of Sichuan peppercorns, good smell of chili and hot taste of garlic, even Sichuan hot pots, drinking whisky of high ABV while eating spicy food will cause pain easily. Spices will also speed up your blood circulation and get you drunk quicker. By adding ice, water or soda water to drink as Highball, you can neutralise the spiciness, release the aroma in whisky and lower the alcohol content, and then enjoy the reaction between them.

3. Pass Through the ‘Smoky’ Mist

‘Strong with strong, mild with mild’ is a suggested direction for whisky and food pairing, but peaty whisky and smoked food is totally an exception. They will interfere with each other when they meet and confuse your taste buds. Smoked food should pair with a sweet and smooth whisky to emphasise its bold character; peaty whisky should pair with luscious seafood to show its prominent character.

4. Balance the Sweetness

The pairing of desserts and sherry whisky can affect the perfect ending of a banquet. If food is too sweet, it will suppress the sweetness of whisky, making it bitter. What’s more, pairing rich chocolate with bourbon whisky will amplify the astringency in American casks. Your mouth will thus feel numb.

5. Avoid Tasting from Strongest to Lightest

Dishes are generally served from the lightest to the strongest to ensure your taste buds can taste all flavours from the beginning to the end. Considering the sensory endurance, whisky should also be served from the lightest to the strongest. Add water or ice to whisky while enjoying cold dishes and appetisers; drink neat at the middle or ending part of a banquet. In this way, every dish and every sip of whisky can both present their best part.