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Sushi with Scotch, am I crazy?

I had a glass of scotch with my sushi recently and I found that the pairing worked well and on different levels. (Note: The scotch was a blend and was served with one cube of ice. The sushi included yellow tail, mackerel, cali roll (w/ real crabmeat) and eel.)
There to me is a natural salinity in scotch that marries with the salinity present in fish. Also, the peaty flavor of the scotch works well with the soy sauce (and even the ginger) and I find too that scotch can "cut" richer sushi like the eel and cali roll (avocado) on the palate. Has anyone else discovered this? Am I crazy?

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  1. If you like it it's good!
    I think a nice peaty scotch would go well with many items at a sushi bar for sure...might have to try it...eel for instance....mmmmm

    1. Well I have enjoyed bourbon with sushi before, so I do not think you are crazy.

      1. No, I don't think you are crazy either. First off, you aren't drinking sake with sushi, so that's a nice start. Depending on the barley used as the base of the scotch, the high protein malting barley used in production can have a wonderful flavor. Additionally the smoking of the germinated, malted barley can impart a wonderful flavor sometimes found in darker porters and stouts, both of which can be good with certain rolls.

        This all said, I'm not sure it would pair particularly well with sashimi as it would cover the pure flavor intended by the raw cuts of fish.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jpschust

          Is there something wrong with sake and sushi? I ate with some Japanese people a while back who ordered the meal for the whole table and also ordered a lot of sake with it. I can't say I enjoyed the sake with the sushi, but apparently they did. Is it etiquette or just a taste thing? BTW, I've never tried it, but bourbon and scotch sound pretty good with sushi. Too bad my local hole in the wall sushi place only serves wine and budwiser?!?

          1. re: sunshinedrop

            It's part etiquette, but it's part taste- I mean you are essentially drinking rice with rice. It just makes even the best sake seem bland and the same for the sushi.

            1. re: jpschust

              It might not be to your taste, which is fine. But saying drinking sake with sushi is like drinking rice with rice is like saying beer and pizza is just grain with grain.

        2. Japanese businessmen drink Johnny Walker with sushi all the time.

          1. Intriguing....always worth a try!

            1. I love either whiskey or scotch with my sushi.

              1. My favorite sushi chef loves whiskey, and his regulars have been known to show up with Johnny Walker to share with him during the meal. I'm sure part of it is statue--Asian business men have what to me is an inexplicable loyalty to Johnny Walker, but if you like it why not? There are so many differences in flavors of whiskey and Scotch, I'm sure some pair well.

                1. In my book, a good single-malt will go well with just about anything.

                  Heck, I've had scotch with breakfast cereal, ham and eggs, PB&J, BBQ pork, and even dessert tarts.

                  1. This is much more common with japan, and more specifically japanese whisky with sushi. It's a little lighter and sweeter than scotch if memory serves me correctly.

                    1. Suntory used to be the only place other than Scotland that made Scotch. A rather good one, actually. So, no, you're not crazy. Scotch, neat, can be wonderful with sushi and sashimi, for that matter.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: EclecticEater

                        Suntory market their single malt whisky specifically to go with food and specifically Japanese food. The reason for this is that mostJapanese people eat when they are drinking. It would be commercial suicide to suggest that whisky didn't go with any food at all. The title of this thread if this were a Japanese discussion board would be more likely to be "Scotch on its own. Am I crazy?" This liking for eating while drinking partly accounts for the Japanese penchant for highly watered down whisky mizuwaris (water mixes) and may account for the quite light touch of some of the premium Japanese whiskies like Hibiki (premium blend) and Hakushu (single malt). Nikka, which is owned by Asahi, is not quite as big on the food thing as the other big distiller, Suntory (which makes Hibiki and Hakushu). Nikka markets itself slightly more on the "authenticness" of its Japanese "Scotch" (although you do see it being pushed with food), whereas Suntory plays the good with food line for all it is worth. For those that are interested in reading a bit more about this I am trying to put together a blog about this Japanese whisky thing and there is a lengthy piece about Suntory and food marketing on there.