What I personally like best is to have my whisky in a Society glass, either straight or maybe with a few drops of water carefully added. This, combined with the brand new podcast from the Society, is a great way to spend an evening.
The new Society podcast
In this podcast, which you can either find at whiskytalk.fireside.fm or at most streaming services (Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tuneln, iheartradio and a few others), exciting guests talk about the production of whisky, and about their places and their stories. The first two episodes are particularly special, as they were recorded live in the vaults with Pip Hills, the founder of the Society. In future, a new episode will be released every month.
Whisky and food pairing
Franz Scheurer, an SMWS member in Australia, is a master in the art of combining whisky with food. He works together with a variety of chefs in order to discover perfect – and often unexpected – combinations. “Like wine, whisky has a distinct flavour profile, and these aromas and flavours either need to be matched with similar aromas and flavours, or they should provide a distinct contrast in some way,” he says. “For example, the ginger notes in a dish can be matched with the ginger notes in a whisky from the spicy & sweet category, or they can contrast with the meatier notes – as in the whiskies from Distillery 76. However, the biggest difference in comparison with wine is whisky’s high alcohol content. It is naturally sweet and copes well with difficult aromas, like chilli or chocolate.”
When it comes to finding the perfect way of harmonising food and whisky, Franz recommends an experimental approach. “Take any dish and try it in combination with as many different whiskies as you can, until you find the one that strikes you as harmonious,” he says. “Next comes the most important part – try to memorise which aromas the whisky has and which aromas the food has, and why it is that they work well together. You can then reuse this experience in order to find other combinations that work.”
As an apéritif, the cocktail created by Simon Schmidlin using PTB.M01: Peat Faerie, is just the right thing. This one is a welcome guest at any summer party and takes no time to make. You’ll find the recipe here and you can order the whole set complete with whisky, dry ginger and cocktail bitters in the shop.
For the main course, I recommend Cask No. 66.145: Flambé away served with a lightly grilled chicken. The meat isn’t too heavy and the full-bodied notes of maple syrup and jam with a hint of barbecue sauce provide an exciting contrast.
For dessert, I would most definitely go for something spicy & sweet, like Cask No. 113.19: Thyme for a banana. This whisky has a fascinating pallette of aromas, reaching all the way from apple and pear tart to sweet chilli heat to camphor and baked bananas. Not quite a dessert in a glass, but the perfect accompaniment to vanilla custard or cheesecake.
Based on my own experience, all I can say is that there aren’t any rules when it comes to combining whisky with food. So, stay open and stay curious – some things will just scream to be done again, others perhaps not; but there’s an enormous amount of fun to be had!
I wish you all great joy in your own experiments, and make sure you enjoy the start of summer with our diverse and colourful whiskies.
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