Whisky and Food Pairing
Amongst Life’s most fascinating experiences is matching whisky flavours with food aromas, which either enhances one taste or contrasts with the other. World’s favourite tipple, Whisky, speaks a common language of appreciation, when it is matched with food, which is now being offered from global tables, tribes and traditions. From a humble beginning at elitist tables, with a small group of enthusiasts, the concept has come into its own. The nosing & tasting notes of malt, are in any case offering a spectrum of taste profile, which is also the same as food. People are now approaching this concept, far more than they did a few years back. Drink Less, but Drink Better seems to be the new motto!
The world’s most popular drink being offered with food is an idea whose time has come. With the world becoming a much smaller place & whisky offering a versatility of flavour, there is an increasing adoption of this concept.
Though, internationally the concept has grown over the years, but a lot more is still undiscovered, lending mystique. In India, it has just been introduced & the initial response has been very encouraging.
We decided to capitalize on the growing popularity of Pan Asian Cuisine and worked with a new entrant restaurant and the other an established one.
Whilst one is considered the best and other is still quiet new, we found quite a few revelations and interesting surprises. Though one thing was pretty sure, if you have patience, a broad view and you are not looking at the regular Chinese Fare & Style, of eating, Whisky and Oriental Cuisine can be a great experience. Choose your whiskies well and then enjoy some dishes, you may wish to break from the traditional Appetizer, Soup, Main Course, Noodles/Rice kind of a mould. We have also chosen some familiar whiskies, to ensure that flavours are easily comprehended. This is a customized journey, you may wish to travel with your taste buds and a few like minded partners
Enjoy the Experience and Raise your glass to some good whisky! It’s a path less traveled
1. Sauted Vegetables – The Glenmorangie 18 YO
The vegetables are quite fragrant, sizzle well and carry some soft spices in their folds. The malt is a medley of flavours, sweet, floral and slightly oaky. The sizzle open up the taste buds and the first sip of the malt is slightly strong, could lead to a slight shake, but as savour the vegetables, it complements well and adds an interesting twist, with softness and the malt offers the varied “Tastes of summer”. Feast for the eyes and a great visual treat, some like their malts served slightly cold so go ahead add a few drops of chilled water.
2. Drunken Chicken – The Glenlivet 21 YO
A luxury whisky which is paired very well with the subtle, aromas of the Chicken. The Presentation of the dish and the elegance of the whisky, don’t leave much to speak, it’s more the fine experience. Enjoy.
3. Lamb with Onions in a Stone grill – Glenfiddich 30 YO
Highly recommended. Strong taste of the malt, salty flavours open up to the red meat & complement the taste & spices, with glazed onions softening the tongue. Soft and well cooked meat is able to retain its presence and provide the taste, in front of the formidable malt. Malt opens up with drops of chilled water and time, almost reluctantly. Lamb can withstand the strong flavour of this malt … well almost! Vegetables served on the side, add its own flavour, does not interfere with the malt, but provides a soft sweetness to the elegance of the malt.
4. Chili Pepper Crab – Talisker 18 YO
Strong flavours of the Crab, with strong flavours of the malt are quite a mouth-full, almost literally! The freshness of the Crab adds to the meaty texture and the smoke in the malt “washes over the tide”. Chili, but enough to impact the malt, though there is a moment when both are locked in the tastes buds, with the crab gently giving away.
5. Shoe Strings – Glenkinchie 12 YO
A gentle and quite robust opening pair!
The Beans are dry and juicy, soft retaining the flavours with a strong visual appeal. Fragrance of freshness and soft smoke provides a neutral and gentle touch to the crispiness of the Beans and lays the base for the “silk” of the Macallan. The sweet aromas and slightly “bubbly” mouth feel of the Malt provides a lingering taste to the Beans & walks well with it. Dry wood and dried fruits crackle. The use of special whisky glass enhances the bouquet and provides added flavour. The elegance of the malt is a lovely companion to the Beans, which can seemingly eat forever.
6. Duck with Plum Sauce – Bunnabhabhain 18 YO
The crispiness of the duck, gently smoked romances the malt well. The plum sauce is an interesting twist, which stands out in its own flavour and complement the sweet palate. The toasty and oaky notes of the malt are a nod to the soft flavour of the duck, which is fresh and robust. Apple & woody flavours, enhance the taste of the duck, sharing a common sweetness, with the whisky which offers Crème Brulee, Vanilla, Toasty and Citrus contrasts. Aromatic Duck Malt opens up with drops of chilled water and time, almost reluctantly. Could be enjoyed as the evening progresses, in the company of close friends, in a mood to enjoy not necessarily out for a social dinner.
7. Szechuan Chicken and Waterchestnut – Balvenie 15 YO
First the red rice vinegar is almost invisible, as such not obtrusive to the flavours of whisky. The Whisky itself is strong in its character and dominates the pairing, though it also works well since the gyoza is flavourful and yet subtle, crispy and toasty, brings out the robust flavours of the whisky. Waterchesnuts are a lovely companion!
8. Steamed and Stuffed Mushroom, Pepper Salsa – Maker`s Mark
Jim Beam, an American Icon does a nice salsa with the Mushrooms. The whiskey is loud and vivacious & the Mushrooms? Well they are a willing and capable partner, when enjoyed in scoopfuls, with a slight crunch from the water chestnuts. The whiskey starts a bold evening and the Mushrooms ensure a good presence, almost a like a good conversation. Also enjoyed well with Vegetarian “Mock” Fish!
9. Big Dad Prawns – Balvenie 30 YO
King Prawn and King of Malts truly Xtra Ordinary