Newbie here. We are part of a newly-formed 25-couple scotch drinkers group in West LA. Next week is our turn to host.
We're looking for menu ideas -- and suggestions on what to pair with them. Our only guideline is that this isn't going to be a sit-down meal, since we don't have a space big enough for it, so food needs to be "portable" (small plates, no 2-hand dishes).
Thanks in advance for your ideas!
Welcome to the forum, lots of good advice and whisky wisdom from the posters.
25 couples is a pretty good sized group to feed. The tastings I host or arrange don't pair whisky with food so I can't help you there. We have a flight of 6 whiskies starting at 6:30 pm, after which we have a light repast. Generally I like to have one hot dish and a variety of cold items.
Some sort of prepackaged wings (NOT spicy hot wings!) heated either in the oven or a crockpot. You could instead have a variety of oriental style finger foods heated in the oven. We also have fresh buns, butter, and a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and vegetables with condiments like mustard, veggie dips along with a fresh pot of coffee. During the light meal I clean up and set up the second flight of 6. We kick in around 8:30 with the second flight of 6 and when finished sit back and enjoy a free pour from any of the candidates sampled or whatever the host trots out from his stash. The cold plates are ordered a day in advance and picked up at Safeway where we also get a couple of boxes of wings.
Hope that helps, I been doing this for 4 - 5 years and it's always well received, 'course it could just be the whisky offerings... Musky P.
Also, check out the FAQ section here in Questions and Answers, Jan has done a terrific job of organising it. This is one link for you to peruse:
There's a transference that occurs that makes most whiskies taste bitter after food and at that point you're sunk. Any foods with high fats like cheese butter etc coat the mouth and disrupt the tasting process.
On the other hand if you're going to have a social evening then it's a different ball game (so to speak) and then food and whisky can be a fun social evening.
eelbrook wrote:I'm 100% with Lawrence on this one. By all means, have some water for those who like to add it to their malt. But save the food until after the whisky tasting has finished! Otherwise, what's the point. Half the subtle flavours will be masked by the grub.
I have to concur with Lawrence and Eelbrook to a certain extent, no food until after if it is a serious nosing and tasting. If it is a social event, as ours have become, there is a breaking of bread between flights, to allow for social conversation and dramming. In some cases it's supper, as some members come direct from work.
We have stopped using bread as a palate cleanser between drams as it has the same base ingredients. Haven't tried oat cakes, 'though. We cleanse with tumblers of water, plenty of it between samples, which has the added benefit of helping against gremlins the next morning. Musky P.
See how the different items affect the taste of the whiskies. Have plenty of oat cakes and water around to cleanse the pallet between drinks.
If it is a social event then I agree that strong cheeses, smoked and other fish, flavourful meats, etc. go well with strong whiskies. For more delicate whiskies, more delicate cheeses can be used along with vegetables.
Give us the expected whiskies and we can suggest matchings.
If it's a social dealie, perhaps some deli meats, and olives and filo pastry type things. Toast points and pate, perhaps?
irishwhiskeychaser wrote:Buffalo wings ..... Mmmmm
I Seriously love buffalo wings with whiskey.. I know wierd.
Actually, I did try hot wings (aka Buffalo wings) at the last tasting. Effectively destroyed what was left of my tastebuds and olfactory senses for the second flight. I've been to one "serious" tasting. No food just 14 whisky all blind tasting, with a mini pail at each seat to "spit in". I can't spit out good whisky, must be a flaw in my upbringing. My momma taught me to be polite and swallow whatever foodstuffs I placed in my mouth. M.P.
This is most definitely social; food is "buffet style", so those who wish to be more serious can be.
We've selected 3 whiskeys for the evening:
Highland Park (18 y.o.)
Springbank (12 y.o., "regular" bottling - not the 175th or the rum wood)
Smoked salmon is definitely on the agenda; we were thinking about asking our favorite sushi chef to put together a platter for us too. Cheeses, veggies, etc., of course.
For an evening ender, we were thinking of home-made chocolate truffles.
Does anyone have any ideas for food (other than meats)?
Or for particular pairings of any of these whiskeys?
What malt whiskies will you serve?
Just as a kind of wild card, throw in a bourbon or two and see what people think. Use a good one though, say Rare Breed (the current WT-03B is drinking very nicely, or Knob Creek or Elmer T. Lee or Russell's Reserve). Or, a straight rye whiskey, say Sazerac 18 year old rye and there are a number of other good ones. Straight rye, not Canadian blended. Although there are good Canadian whiskies too, but that is a different kettle of fish and you don't want to muddle the focus overly.
I am a member of a small group in Brantford, ON, Canada.
We taste 3 whiskies once/month.
The presenters are always responsible not only for the whisky and accomp. info, but for a complementing food.
We always taste the food after the whiskies.
Some of the excellent pairings we've had are:
Scottish shortbread. Goes great with the fruitier whiskies.
Scottish highland oatcakes. Extremely dry, but an authentic match, and quite a complement!
Bacon wrapped scallops/waterchestnuts. Both are easy to prepare and have a wonderful flavour with a whisky.
Nuts. Any number of nuts can complement nicely.
Smoked salmon/other fish. An authentic pairing and goes nicely especially with Islay region/smokier whiskies.
Just some ideas,for you for next time.
We try to keep things interesting... last month was exceptional!
The theme was "Whiskies from outside of the UK"
We tried two japanese, Yoichi 12yo and Suntory Hakushu 12yo, as well as a Canadian Single Malt that is available called Glen Breton.
Our food pairings were Sushi rolls, with assorted filling, as well as some Japanese sweet rice crackers, Wasabi covered peas, and some really great chocolate covered almonds.
Its interesting how the food brings out a completely different set of flavours!
By the way... i don't think there are very many things I wouldn't eat, if friend up in lots of butter with bacon and garlic
hpulley wrote:Ordering jokes aside, it really does seem that bacon makes it better! I made Jamie Oliver's Cheeky Christmas Turkey last holiday, draped in smoked back bacon and with leeks and red wine underneath and it was fantastic. Bacon wrapped asparagus takes a healthy vegetable and turns it into a tasty artery clogger but with all the whisky that accompanies my food, I doubt anything sticks
Well, they're fine for a private dinner, Harry, but I can't take leeks in public.
Oh, I have sunk so low lately! Bad, bad Mr Tattie Heid. Excuse me while I go thrash myself with a cedar switch. (Even I won't touch "I don't think there are very many things I wouldn't eat, if friend up in lots of butter.")
Where exactly in West LA are you? How did your event come out? When will you be having another one?
I'm in OC. Do you, or anyone else for that matter, know of any similar tasting clubs in OC? I've gone to a few liquor stores to pick up some bottles and asked the people behind the counter if they know of any local tasting clubs or events and they aren't aware of any.
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