Whiskey/Bourbon Tasting - food pairing suggestions?
- The Oracle Jun 21, 2013 05:05 PM
I'm in the early stages of planning a whiskey/bourbon tasting.... guest list could range between 12-18/20 people. I've never held such an event. Wine and cheese tasting, no problem... but whiskey/bourbon? is a bit out of my comfort zone.
Any thoughts of what would pair well with misc. whiskey/bourbons and/or what I should have on hand for such an event?
Thanks in advance!
Never done it with bourbon, but I had a meal of UK foods paired with Scotch. I loved the lighter one, a Dalwinnie, with lamb chops, a Lagavulin with something heavier i cannot recall, and a Macallan 21 with bread pudding. iMHO bourbon has not got the range of Scotch, but I have not tried them all. That new blue corn and some of the new ones coming out of the West Coast might have more range, but to me most Kentucky bourbons, while nuanced, are not as strikingly different as a Highland and an Islay or a pinot Gris and a grand old cabernet.
I am from Ky so bourbon is pretty common at our events...ok it's a must.
Pimento cheese bites
Beaten biscuits with a sliver of country ham or country ham mixed into a fluffier biscuit
Corn pudding on a appetizer spoon
Scallops are great with bourbon
Pulled pork on little rolls
Blue cheese is excellent with bourbon
Butter type lettuces
Grits with cheese
Carmelized onion pizza or flatbread
Mac and cheese bites
Bacon bacon bacon
First of all: What a great idea for an event.....
Your tasting menu screams BEEF - there's a very recent thread about Beef Crostini, I think, It would go very well for your tasting - some combination of grilled beef, carmelized onions and blue cheese?
Pork & Bacon must also be on this Menu [Emphasis Added].
Pulled pork with one of the whiskey's made into the sauce? as a slider or on a small biscutt would be a very nice bite.
(You must expand on Idea's around pork & bacon ~ lest the whiskey gods will frown on you! This couldn't be good).
Did an open faced sandwich recently that was sourdough topped with thin sliced flat iron, nice and rare, topped with roasted tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, and a drizzle of EVOO...I'd recommend it paired with a very solid bourbon, like a Knob Creek or Bookers. For finger foods I am addicted to blue cheese truffle French fries.
You could do a slider smorgasbord. Buns with an array of sliced smoked brisket, pulled pork, pepper bacon, and grilled sliced brats and assorted toppings like grilled onions, different cheeses, chili sauce, different mustards, etc. Put out an array of bourbons that are very different like an EW single barrel, a Four Roses small batch, a Booker's, and a Rip Van Winkle. Give folks index cards and pens to make comments on the best pairings. This is turning into one of my favorite threads and making me think about my half bottle of Willlett at 9:50 a.m.
recently made scotch eggs, that i "deviled" with bacon and bourbon in the filling. used bacon fat and mayo in there too. big hit at a kentucky derby party.
spreads of smoked fish, like salmon and trout, with traditional accompaniments would work also.
have on hand pitchers of plain water and also buckets of ice with tongs. some like a splash of water or a cube in their whiskey or bourbon, and no, neither is heresy.
i've worked many events with the ambassadors from johnny walker and quite a few with single malt scotch specialists, and none have issues with adding a thimbleful of water to a whiskey.
there is an old chemistry 104 term called "heat of solution." this rule essentially states that when two chemicals are mixed, they may "take on" or "release" energy, thus becoming cooler or warmer. when you mix whiskey and water, the solution becomes slightly warmer, thus releasing the ethyl alcohols which contain much of the aroma of the single malt.
the sense of smell profoundly influences the sense of taste.
I had chocolate truffles with a Caol Isla the other day.
It was a great combination. So if you're serving any Islay malts maybe consider some kind of chocolate as well as savoury combinations.
How about some deviled eggs? Or bacon candy? Seems like one would want some fatty bites to coat the mouth a bit while enjoying the sharp bite of the whiskey or bourbon.
Many good suggestions already.
I'll add that home-pickled vegetables of many sorts pair well with bourbon. Use a decent bit of salt and a little sugar in the pickling solution. Go for big flavors. Then just a bit of trial and error to see which pickle works best with which liquor. Fermented pickles also work well.