I recently teamed up with the Gone Away Bar, The Tortilla Guy and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to do a taco and whisky pairing. I’ll upload a few photos in a couple of days but here was the idea behind the evening’s pairings:

Whisky: 51.7 - Come in from the Cold

Pairing method: Contrast

Pairing:Salmon Tostada, chipotle mayo and home cured salmon.

Idea: Although Bushmills is close to the sea it doesn’t have any maritime notes. It does have an intense fruity lightness. The idea here was to bring the sea to the distillery. A good introduction to those who haven’t taken part in a food & whisky pairing before.

Effectiveness: 7/10 

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Whisky: 100.20 - Kermit’s kale knackwurst

Pairing method: Complement

Pairing:Vegan, mole árabes, dukkah and braised carrot.

Idea: This was crying out to be mirrored with sweetness, spices and Mexican/north African inspired flavours.

Effectiveness: 9/10 

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Whisky: 36.147 - Midnight Contemplation

Pairing method: Contrast

Pairing:Chicken tinga tostada, avocado leaf and black beans.

Idea: I decided that the flavours were influenced by the woody jammy notes in the whisky. These matched very well to the crispness of the tostada, sweetness of the chicken and earthy qualities of the black beans. Each one alone had very mellow flavours but combined created an intense explosion.

Effectiveness:8/10 

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Whisky: 70.28 - A Seashore Sunrise

Pairing method: Contrast and Complement

Pairing: Slow cooked beef brisket, salsa negra and onions.

Idea: Sometimes more is more! The idea here was to take the flavours and multiply them. This was the first real introduction of smoke to the evening, perfect to match with the syrupy smoky spicy flavour of the salsa negra. The sweetness of the white maize and the coastal sweetness of the whisky were perfect companions. This divided the group as the flavour combination was extremely intense.

Effectiveness: 10/10 for 70% of the guests 6/10 for the rest. My personal favourite.

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Whisky: 10.146 - Sweet smoky succulent sensation

Pairing method: Contrast

Pairing: Mole poblano and mole árabes served with a bundle of warm tortillas, freshly pressed and grilled while the guests waited.

Idea: Festival whisky with the traditional festival food mole. The idea here was that the flavours are so intense that harmony is the only way to go. Chocolate and smoky whisky is almost a no brainer, so this was an easy pairing to set up but probably the most well loved and a great celebratory way to finish the evening.

Effectiveness: 10/10 My second favourite. 

We had a fantastic evening and we’re definitely going to do it again! Big up to everyone who was involved.

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