“Whisky, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it's time to drink.”
― Haruki Murakami
No other spirit or alcohol is associated with being a man’s man as whisky is! Scotch has for centuries, been an acquired taste right from royalty, nobility, and authors to business tycoons, equally! It is believed by whisky aficionados that drinking whisky together often dispels barriers of class and creed and brings about a sanguine equality. Whisky drinkers swear by their whisky and are loyal to an extreme. They rarely if almost never change their preference, choice or spirit. Anything contrary is akin to sacrilege!
Scotch is so bound by tradition, history and attention to detail that those who drink it have no choice but to savour its various flavours and revel in celebrating its craftsmanship! It is not easy to form an alliance or bond with whisky the first time around; especially for a young adult who is eager to prove his transition into manhood can be easily knocked for six with its overpowering potency. If he however decides to give this delicious elixir another chance, he will quickly learn to enjoy its textures, nuances, and fragrances. It will dawn on him and he will finally begin to understand why whisky is so fascinating, enthralling and enjoyable.
Little is known about the art of pairing whisky with the right kind of food: what started as an experiment is now all the rage, especially when it comes to throwing elegant and grand parties with a twist! There was a time not long ago that whisky was reserved solely as an experience for after meals accompanied by cigars. Astute and discerning diners soon discovered that whisky can in fact be enjoyed before and even while accompanying food with the same gusto and enthusiasm as wine is used to pair with food.
With hors d'oeuvres, you can use a whisky of your choice; preferably one that has a light citrus note, a hint of barley malt with a nut finish. For the perfect ‘Mizuwari’ (simply a refreshing combination of ice, whisky and lots of water mixed), fill a highball glass with ice, pour in the whisky and stir until the glass frosts and the ice has melted a little. Once again you top it with ice and slowly add a bit of water, all the while make sure to stir it. Then add more water and stir. This can be repeated and topped up with ice, until the glass is full. For those who are willing to go a step further and be adventurous, can choose to add an orange twist to garnish!
Fresh citrus and smoke elements in the whisky complement a fish dish, especially Salmon. To release these aromas, it is preferred to serve the whisky with water. This changes the vibrancy of the taste, its temperature and makes it the perfect accompaniment for lighter foods. For juicy meats like duck you can pair a whisky with rich, smooth honey and caramel elements. To complement the aspects of more exotic and wilder meats such as Venison, pair it with a whisky that has elements of rich autumnal flavours.
For desserts, there are in fact several options can one can experiment with while pairing whisky. With chocolate, a whisky with a blend of sweeter notes would be the perfect accompaniment, while in the case of a pastry based dessert, a warm, spicy, pear note in the whisky combined with a warm biscuit note would be the quintessential mother of great pairing.
Time flies, the world changes at breakneck speed, but there are some things that remain for posterity. Despite advanced technology, honed techniques and practices, it all boils down to the fact that in the end, pairing whisky with the right food is an ongoing experiment; both for the distiller and the diner!
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