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Whisky with Food: Do You Want Fries With That?

Chips being poured into a whisky glass with the Fib Whisky logo
Whisky with Food?

It doesn’t matter if you are new to the world of whisky drinking or have been enjoying the amber liquid for many years, there will always be strong opinions, queries about how it should be drunk, and over-the-top reactions to personal tastes.

Traditionally, these opinions have centred around what can be added to whisky.

Go to any whisky bar or speak with any enthusiast, and there will be a story of someone they know who ordered an expensive whisky with cola, and they were refused service by the bar tender, and there are still those who staunchly believe that whisky should never have water added to it (solid or liquid) as it is diluting the dram.

However, a new annoyance among whisky drinkers has been raised recently, and this involves whether you should eat food while enjoying your drink.

In this article, we are going to explore why you would have whisky with food, what food goes with whisky, and answer whether or not you can have whisky with food.

Why Would You Have Whisky with Food?

Whisky has complex layers of flavour, involving multiple senses, such as smell, taste and even sight (a lot of whisky companies still add colouring to make their whisky look more appealing for a reason).

Purist’s believe that whisky was created perfectly the way it is and that it does not need additional ways to appreciate it.

In fact, people in this camp tend to frown upon people who order food with their whisky and some even go as far as to insist that food is not ordered when taking part in a tasting so the smell of other people’s food does not affect their own palette.

However, some whisky drinkers who enjoy having food at the same time sometimes like to pair certain foods with the flavours in the whisky to enhance the experience and boost these flavours, and other people have food with their whisky out of necessity.

Whether they have gone to a bar or tasting straight from work, and are keen to line their stomach while they are drinking to avoid becoming a drunken mess later on, these drammers are usually having food with their drink to be sensible and are more likely to order a portion of fries or a meal, without considering whether it will go with the flavour profile or not.

What Food Goes with Whisky?

Below we are going to explore some common whisky and food pairings, ranging from savoury to sweet and recommend the style of whisky that works best with each flavour:


o Smoked Salmon

Full bodied whiskies pair beautifully with this smoky fish, especially ones with a hint of sea halt on the palette. A medium peat whisky is better suited, such as Kilchoman, than a heavy peat hitter such as Lagavulin.

o Trout/Cod

These light, flaky fishes are best suited to light, delicate whiskies that have similar notes as white wine. Fruity notes of apple and traditional malt notes compliment this subtle fish beautifully.

o Sushi

Selecting a whisky outside of the Scotch family and choosing a Japanese whisky can truly compliment the delicate flavours and artistry of sushi. These whiskies can also hold their own against the traditional accompaniments of sushi, such as pickled ginger and the saltiness of soy sauce.

o Lobster

Shellfish benefits from aromatic and citrus flavour notes, such as those found in Glenmorangie.

o Scallops

Smoky whiskies are a perfect match for these meaty morsels as they can take on the strong flavours while holding their own taste.

o Oysters

A salty, peated and peppery whisky such as Talisker compliments the salty oysters, whether in raw or cooked form.


o Smoked Cheese

Peated whiskies should be avoided when pairing smoked cheeses as the smokiness while overpower each other. Try sherry cask whisky, with smooth well rounded flavours to fully appreciate the depth in the cheese.

o Blue Cheese

Big, smoky whiskies can hold their own against the tanginess of a blue cheese. The peat flavours compliment the bold flavours of the cheese to create a fantastic flavour combination, along with Fib’s Rivsaltes Ambre finishes with Auchentoshan and Port Dundas.

o Cheddar

A staple on most cheeseboard (and fridges) and for good reason! This classic favourite suits fruity and woody whiskies, such as a Dalmore which is enhanced by the smoothness of this cheese.

o Soft Cheese

Brie and Camembert require a light touch so that they are not overpowered by the whisky. Glenmorangie provides a nuttiness, with fresh dates and figs that compliment and enhance the creamier soft cheeses.

·Cured Meats

o A real crowd pleaser, cured meats can be paired with most whiskies. Salami brings out the best in a peated whisky, whereas Parma ham can be used to bring out the salty flavours in coastal whiskies.

Red Meat Stews & Game

o True comfort food with robust meaty flavours can withstand the power of a more fruity dram and the rich, punchy fruit of the Royal Brackla Permutations Series 1 compliments these domineering flavour profiles.

Sweet Treats & Desserts

o Chocolate

The creamy, velvety texture of chocolate is a traditional choice when pairing whisky. The warming nature and the melting sensation coats the and soothes the palette after a heavier whisky and combines to leave a delicious mouth feel.

So, Can You Have Whisky with Food?

In conclusion, this is another case of personal preference but taking other people’s feelings into consideration when making your choice should be part of your decision.

If you are enjoying some drinks with friends in a pub where food is served then you should feel comfortable ordering food if you prefer it.

However, if you are at a whisky tasting, you should be aware that some people may not appreciate the smell of your food and you should make time ahead of the tasting, or wait until afterwards, to enjoy your dinner.

To fully appreciate the flavour profile of your dram, you could consider selecting your food carefully, by using the above guide.

At the end of the day, whisky should be enjoyed any way you like it - whether that’s with ice, water, cola or even fries, it should be about the spirit and, of course, the company.

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