The Irish Whiskey Association and renowned Irish chef JP McMahon have unveiled a new ‘grain-to-glass meets farm-to-fork’ guide that matches Irish whiskey with the best of Irish breads, cheeses, charcuterie, seafood, meats, and chocolate.
Oysters, crab, beef tartare, blue cheese, and dark chocolate mousse are among the Irish whiskey food pairings devised by Ireland’s leading local food advocate, chef, and food writer JP McMahon for the special guide produced by the Irish Whiskey Association to mark St Patrick’s Day. From bread and butter to Irish farmhouse cheeses, charcuterie, beef, lamb, and more, the guide gives advice on making the best out of every sip and bite.
“Whiskey and food pairings don’t need to be complex — experimentation and simplicity are key, as are the finest and freshest ingredients,” explained McMahon. “It’s as easy as slicing several cheeses and meats and pairing them with a few whiskeys. Of course, more complex pairings also work, but simplicity is key. Try not to pair too many different flavours together at once, though, as your palate gets tired quickly.”
Highlighted pairings include:
- Lighter white soda bread or sourdough and farmhouse butter with single malts or pot stills, or peated whiskeys with whole grain breads, such as rye and wholemeal, with a note to try adding seeds to homemade bread to complement the nutty nature of mature, sherry-finished Irish whiskeys.
- Mature cheddar cheeses with single grain or Bourbon-matured whiskeys, with a note that it can be fun to line up four different whiskeys with the same cheddar to see how the cheese affects the essential character of the whiskey.
- Different cured meats for charcuterie, from pork and lamb to beef and game, with different whiskeys, from light to sweet and mature.
- Smoked fish, such as salmon, eel, tuna, and mackerel, with peated whiskey or a spicy pot still — the smoky nature of the fish will complement many different Irish whiskey varieties.
- The charred flavor of most meats mean they match very well with mature whiskeys finished in a sherry barrel.
- Dark chocolate mousse, or a few squares of good quality 70% chocolate, with a pot still or sherry matured whiskey, as higher cocoa content chocolate requires a more robust and rounded whiskey.
“The Irish whiskey food pairings developed for us by renowned local food expert JP McMahon demonstrate how Irish whiskey and food can marry together to bring out the most exquisite and intense flavours of Ireland,” said Director of the Irish Whiskey Association William Lavelle. “We encourage people to enjoy these pairings in the pub or restaurant, or in the comfort of their home, to discover the magic of Irish whiskey and food.”
To view the Irish Whiskey Food Pairing Guide, head over to the Irish Whiskey Association’s official website.