We have officially transitioned from warm summer days to sweater weather season - that’s right, it’s fall! As the climate grows colder, trees shed their leaves, and jack o’ lanterns stand guard on people’s porches; it’s also that time of year to binge eat and drink (yay, holidays!). If you’ve noticed that your food cravings tend to increase as winter draws nearer, know that you are not alone. We tend to naturally want to warm our bellies with delicious home-cooked meals paired with a drink to wash it down. If we could choose one alcoholic beverage that epitomizes autumn, it’s whisky. Its deep amber hue is inviting and its smooth, yet sweet flavour make this beverage the ideal treat for your relaxing evenings by the fireplace or your weekend gatherings with family and friends.
While whisky was never traditionally consumed in combination with food, whisky food pairing has become increasingly popular over the years. At Spirit of York, our true Canadian whisky is made with 100% rye grain and aged in oak barrels. What sets us apart is that we control the process from grain-to-glass to ensure the highest of standards for your every sip.
A fine glass of our whisky poured neat, on the rocks, or shaken in a cocktail is a joy on its own, however, whisky food pairing is the ultimate experience that you can surprise your significant other with, your friends, or family.
Pour yourself a drink and let’s get started!
Happy Hour, Anyone?
Cheese Isn’t Just For Wine
It goes without saying that cheese and alcohol are a match made in heaven. While charcuterie boards are traditionally enjoyed with red wine, it’s not surprising that serving cheese with whisky is equally as delicious. The main reason as to why these two delicacies synergize so perfectly is due to the fact that they have both been aged to reach their optimal flavours and quality. Additionally, both whisky and cheese have many different flavours depending on their origin, location and process. For example, strong blue cheeses pair well with whiskies that are on the spicier side. Aged cheddar cheese is the ideal partner for whiskies that exude a smoky flavor, and softer cheese like brie or camembert go perfect with milder whiskies that have a dash of sweetness. Who doesn’t love a cheese board, especially with a glass of whisky to sip alongside it.
Dried Fruits and Nuts
Autumn is a time when we’re regularly gathering; during the holidays we’re surrounded by good people, warm conversations and drinks flowing. Decorating your coffee table with a few bowls of dried fruits and nuts would truly complete the atmosphere of autumn for the perfect simple whisky food pairing. Cheers to good stories, better whisky and a healthy snack!
Dark Chocolate and Whisky
If you’re looking for a whisky food pairing that doubles as a sweet treat, it’s dark chocolate. Before creating your chocolate and whisky tasting station, make sure both are at room temperature to get the full effect. When choosing your chocolate flavour profiles remember this: Sea salted dark chocolate pairs well with notes of citrus, 99% dark chocolate needs a bold pairing whisky that is smoky and creamy, and hazelnut-infused dark chocolate goes best with fruitier, spicier whisky.
Cheers to Dinner and Drinks
Pairing Whisky with Sushi
Who said sake was the only alcoholic beverage that pairs well with sushi? Add a dash of eclectic Asian flair to your autumn get-togethers with sushi. If you’re attempting to make it on your own or grabbing take-out, the appetizing flavours of this Japanese delicacy go surprisingly well as a whisky food pairing. The combination of the rice, raw fish, soy sauce, pickled ginger and spicy wasabi make this dish quite complex in flavours - complementing whisky perfectly.
The Versatility of Grilled Chicken
If you are looking for a meal to consume with your whisky, you’ll love the versatility that grilled chicken offers. On its own, chicken can be quite plain, however, marinating your chicken breast adds the depth of flavour that makes it an ideal whisky food pairing. One simple marinade you can try is balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil, and cumin to create a sweet and spicy flavour that pairs well with whiskies that have a smoldering smokiness and oak tang.
Melt-in-Your-Mouth Steak and Whisky
Steak traditionally has always paired well with red wine, but those people have obviously never paired their favourite cut with their favourite spirit. Impress your guests with your knowledge on pairing steak with whisky by considering the fat content of the cut, the method of preparation and the sauces you wish to serve on the side. We recommend grilled steak with a smoky whisky, as the flavours mimic each other. Sirloin steaks have lower fat content and go best with lighter whiskies that have been crafted with caramel undertones that enhance the deep savoury flavour of the meat.
Whisky for Dessert, What Could be Better?
Apple Crumble Pie
This pie is a staple around Thanksgiving (or any other day of fall if we’re being honest). Apple crumble is a fruit-based dessert that needs a whisky food pairing that’s light and fruity as well. The caramel flavours in our whisky taste extraordinary when consumed with a delicious slice of apple crumble pie. While both contain prominent sweetness, neither of the two overpower the other. In fact, they make each other better.
Pumpkin Pie and Whisky
This pairing is practically a given! Pumpkin spice and everything nice, the natural sweet, earthy flavours of pumpkin pair with the whisky’s hint of caramel and natural sweetness. This pairing is an obvious choice and an excuse to eat pumpkin pie, there’s nothing better.
Now that you’re equally hungry and thirsty for our whisky food pairings, we encourage you to show off this knowledge to your friends by treating them to the ultimate night in! You can find our whisky at your local LCBO or stop by our distillery for more information on whisky food pairing.