In the famous words of Ron Burgundy, "I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes, down into my belly." But this time, you're not sending that scotch into the belly alone. Let's take a peek at the best foods to match with that liquid, smoky gold. These options have you covered from a few bites of an appetizer all the way to the last piece of dessert.
Rouquefort, Brie, and Camembert Cheese
Brie is soft yet bold, although Camembert is there for you if traditional brie is too much. The flavors of the brie stand up to both unpeated and peated scotches. As for rouqefort, the earthy and pungent notes pair surprisingly well with smoky, earthy scotch.
The briny, meaty flavors of a freshly shucked oyster may not be the first thing you think of pairing with scotch but here's the thing: this unlikely duo pairs up to create a balance between smoke and salinity. Whether you sip the scotch then slurp an oyster, or shoot your oyster and follow with scotch, be sure to try out this combination with an undressed oyster. Although a mignonette will be very tasty.
Thinly smoked salmon or a smoked salmon filet will go the distance with your glass of scotch. Enjoy an afternoon snack of smoked salmon on some toast or add a layer of complexity to your dinner by pairing your smoked salmon dish with creamy dill sauce and some peaty, smooth scotch. Or grab some salmon sushi and other smoked salmon rolls.
Lamb & Venison
Fatty lamb will melt in your mouth with a glass of scotch in your hand. They say what grows together goes together, and when you think of Scotland, you think of scotch and lamb. Enjoy with lamb chops, lamb meatballs, or in a shepherds pie. Not a lamb person? Bring some venison to your table.
Chocolate? And scotch? Oh, friend, you are in for a treat. Splurge and grab yourself a bar of that good dark chocolate, not the one that's made of gold, but the one with a medium-fancy label. Paired with a peaty scotch, it's smooth and delicious.
Besides a full-bodied, smoky scotch, meatloaf is no longer just something from your childhood memories smothered in ketchup. This is the time to amplify smoky flavors by doubling up on your smoky or mesquite bbq sauces instead of ketchup. And that leftover meatloaf will be great as a sandwich on Sunday, with your scotch, obviously.
Yes, we said what we said: cheddar popcorn and scotch is a phenomenal snack pairing. The buttery and cheesy goodness of the popcorn, along with that bit of salt, is the perfect foil to the peaty scotch you're pouring into a glass. It's turns cheddar popcorn from a quick munchy to something quite highbrow.
Yes, Waldorf salad is a surprisingly delicious match with a peaty or unpeated scotch. The crisp apple with the nutty crunch of the walnuts plays so well with the earthy flavors you find in the scotch. Neither player is overly sweet nor savory. It's a game changer for two very notable names in the culinary and spirit world.
For those deep in the world of rye, bourbon, and scotch, this meaty pairing is a given. For those new to the world of pairing scotches, the filet is an excellent place to get the scotch pairing ball rolling. Because filet doesn't have any big, bold overwhelming flavors, you can happily enjoy your smokiest scotch between bites. Of course, you don't want to go too big with the black pepper, as that'll clash.
Cherries, Strawberries, and Figs
Raid your fruit basket for a snacktivity while you enjoy your scotch. No, put the clementine back down - you don't want any citrus, otherwise you'll be stuck with clashing flavors. While just about any fruit will appease the senses, cherries, strawberries, and figs are your shining stars.
The tart and juicy cherry next to any style of scotch? Check. Juicy and sweet strawberries, fresh or as a dessert? Always. Earthy, savory, figs with a smoky scotch? Heavenly.
Cranberry and Lemon Tarts
Not to totally contradict the above statement about steering clear of tart and citrus fruits, but when it comes to dessert, flavor profiles change, and that couldn't be more true with a scotch pairing. With the sugar offsetting the tartness, you'll find that these draw out the nuttier flavors of the scotch.
The creamy, savory, spiced notes you find throughout pumpkin pie is an excellent partner to your favorite scotch. The nutmeg and cinnamon sprinkled throughout creates a balance to the bite of the scotch. You may never return to an after-dinner cocktail after giving this a try just once.
Caramel Ice Cream
Whether you opt for a peated or smoky scotch, you're going to end up scooping the ice cream straight out of the tub and into your face after just one go-around of these two. Vanilla and caramel or salted caramel will be the best buddy to your scotch.
Foods to Avoid With Scotch Pairing
Here are a few flavors you'll want to skip when you're enjoying your scotch.
- Overly garlic dishes
- Overwhelmingly fatty flavors
- Anything too spicy
- Anything too smoky with a peated scotch
Perfect Food Partners for Scotch
Have a snack, enjoy your dinner, or wind down with dessert and a well-paired scotch. Smoky, peaty, whatever your preferred bottle holds inside of it, you can be sure there's a bite of food that'll pop with these flavors together.