Perfect Pairings? You Tell Me!

Salt and Pepper.
Guns and Roses.
Bonnie and Clyde.
Biscuits and Gravy.

All great pairings, right?

I think so. A question I get asked a lot is, “what pairs well with whiskey?”

Sometimes it depends on your own taste buds, but I can make a few recommendations for you to try on your own and see if you like them for yourself. Any time I try a new whiskey, I always try it three ways: by itself (neat), with a splash of water and finally with a food pairing of some sorts.

Whiskey #1: Eagle Rare
Pairing: Parmesan cheese and apple slices

There’s something about the fresh, tangy taste of parmesan cheese and apple slices that makes me wish it was fall already. (The 100°-degree temperatures this week help too.)

Part of the Buffalo Trace family of whiskeys, Eagle Rare has a rich boldness to it. When you pair it with an aged cheese like parmesan and apples, you’re sure to bring out the oaky flavor of this 90-proof favorite.


Photo from Buffalo Trace Distillery

Whiskey #2: Whistle Pig Rye Old World 12 Pairing: Smoked almonds and gouda

Many think that rye whiskey has the potential to be the “best whiskey in the world.” While I personally am not a huge fan of ryes in general, I like Whistle Pig, and there’s a unique “spice” that comes with this pour.

With “Pig” in the name, many often pair Whistle Pig with a pork dish of some kind, including pork ribs or pork belly. If you don’t feel like cooking a full meal, grab some smoked almonds and some smoked gouda for a nice, rich finish.

Whiskey #3: Remus Reserve
Pairing: Smoked salmon

Another from the Whistle Pig distillery, the Remus family of whiskeys represented the “finest bourbons of the Prohibition era.” Upon initial smell, you might sense leather and nutmeg, a unique combination for this bottle made from five rare bourbons. Try it with smoked salmon on a cracker or crostini, with or without chive cream cheese or dill dip. While I haven’t tried this yet, it might also be good with a sushi roll that features smoked salmon. (Make sure to get the ones with the spicy sauce and little crispy things on top!)

Whiskey #4: Old Rip Van
Winkle 10 Pairing: Smoked brie and fruit

If you’ve never tried whiskey with Kentucky limestone well water added to it, try this one! Bottled as early in the proofing process as possible, Old Rip Van Winkle offers an extremely smooth taste. Another one from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, you’ll pick up hints of gingerbread and fudge with first smell and oak and honey at the end. Pair it with smoked brie and fruit for a delicious finish. P.S. While you might fall asleep after drinking a pour of Old Rip Van Winkle, it won’t be for 20 years like the old fable says. You’ll have a hard time finding this one outside of Dive Bar for less than $1,000 a bottle, so try it the next time you’re in for lunch or dinner.

Whiskey #5: Willett Rye
Pairing: KC Strip

Depending on your palate, this whiskey from the Willett Distillery could smell like caramel popcorn, honey or cherries. Upon taste, those could continue, or they might switch to a “sweetness that dances on your tongue until it exits with a spiciness.” As I said before, I am not a huge fan of ryes, but this one is on my list to try. If it’s on your list, too, it will go great with the aged ribeye we sell each Wednesday for Steak & Bluegrass night. Have it in an Old Fashioned, neat or on the rocks.

Photo from Willett Distillery

In case you’re wondering, we carry all these whiskeys at Dive Bar. Come in and try all five. We might even feature one or two at the next Whiskey Club. You’ll have to get tickets to find out.

Oh, and if you like biscuits and gravy, come to Dive Bar this weekend for brunch, Saturday or Sunday 10am-2pm. From a loaded biscuit smothered with delicious sausage gravy to omelets and waffles – we’re serving up guaranteed goodness.

Until next time, cheers!

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