If you've ever attended a bourbon tasting event, you probably noticed snacks here and there. Wondering why? Snacks can help to protect your stomach from the high proof most bourbons contain. Additionally, they help enhance or add a whole new layer of flavors you would otherwise miss. If you're looking to pair snacks with bourbon, here are some delicious treats you could try.
You can never go wrong with chocolate, as it's a perfect complement to bourbon. Pairing chocolate with bourbon offers a luxurious symphony of flavors and textures. Generally, the best type of chocolate to pair with bourbon is dark chocolate.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Chocolate:
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – With its well-rounded profile, Buffalo Trace can complement a wide range of chocolate types, from milk to dark.
Colonel E.H Taylor Small Batch Bourbon – Its complex flavors can harmonize beautifully with the nuances of chocolate.
While we've already discussed how well chocolate and bourbon go together, don't forget to consider apples' sweet flavor, especially if you're having apple pie for dessert. Apple pie is the ideal dessert if bourbon whiskey is your preferred alcoholic beverage – the sweet and sour flavors of apple pie pair well with the caramelized flavor of bourbon.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Apples:
Knob Creek 12 Year Straight Bourbon – With its oaky and rich profile, this bourbon can provide a bold backdrop for apples' juicy and tangy aspects.
Four Roses Small Batch Select – The blend of floral and fruity notes in this bourbon can complement the apple's crispness and natural aromas.
There is a reason why nuts are a staple in many restaurants and bars. The smooth umami, salt, and fat of nuts help drinks go down easier and better. While bourbon typically doesn't need it, a good handful of nuts can assist in mellowing out some flavors.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Nuts:
Maker's Mark 101 – This bourbon's flavors can enhance the nuttiness of the nuts and create a smooth, mellow combination.
Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel – This bourbon's toffee and deep caramel notes can harmonize beautifully with the earthy qualities of nuts.
4. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is undoubtedly one of the best snacks to pair with any glass of bourbon, whether you're sipping or tasting. The sweet, chewy nature of dried fruit complements bourbon's intricate and often fruity characteristics.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Dried Fruit:
Old Forester 1910 Bourbon 93 Proof – This bourbon's fruit-forward notes can beautifully complement the sweetness of dried fruit.
Angel's Envy Straight Bourbon –This bourbon can harmonize with the dried fruit's sweetness while adding a touch of complexity.
Crackers are something you should have on hand if you plan on drinking bourbon. A little crunch and some saltiness will help to wash away the lingering taste of bourbon. Without a palate cleanser, all bourbon might start tasting the same to you. You will need a palate cleanser to prepare your taste buds for each new flavor note, and the perfect choice is crackers (the higher the quality, the better)
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Crackers:
Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey – With its slightly fruity and spicy profile, Bulleit can add depth to the cracker's simplicity without overpowering it.
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Its well-rounded profile makes it a versatile pairing with different types of crackers.
The reason why cheese and bourbon are a popular snack pairing is because they both come in a wide range of flavors and are aged. Some cheeses are pungent, some are mellow, and some are both. As a result, not all cheeses go well with all bourbons. If your bourbon is smoky, pair it with a sharp, aged cheese. Does your bourbon have a hint of sweetness? Lighter, sweeter bourbon pairs well with softer cheeses like brie or goat cheese. Softer cheeses can also be served with an apple or pear spread, as fruity flavors complement bourbon.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Cheese:
Bulleit Rye Whiskey – The spiciness of rye can create an exciting interplay with the flavors and textures of different cheeses.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Barrel Finish Bourbon – This well-balanced bourbon's vanilla and caramel undertones can harmonize with various cheeses, from mild to aged.
7. Unsalted Corn Chips
Unsalted corn chips are another great way to cleanse the palate and help you enjoy the nuances of each sip better. Corn chips are somewhat sweeter than plain crackers, but the flavor difference is hardly noticeable.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Unsalted Corn Chips:
Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey – This bourbon adds an interesting layer of flavor to the corn chips without overwhelming them.
Michter's Small Batch Bourbon – With its caramel and vanilla notes, this bourbon can provide a smooth backdrop for the corn chips.
Even though meat isn't exactly a snack, it goes well with bourbon if you're aiming for more of a meal. Smoked salmon is the ideal meal for bourbons with a high rye content. Likewise, a grilled steak is an excellent option to pair with bourbon.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Meat:
Wild Turkey Bourbon 101 – With its bold and spicy profile, this bourbon can withstand the rich flavors of different meats.
Colonel E.H Taylor Straight Rye Bottled in Bond Whiskey – Its rye spice and herbal undertones contrast pleasantly with the meat's umami flavors.
Pairing pizza with bourbon can create a delightful contrast of flavors and textures. The rich, savory flavors of pizza complement the complex, often sweet and smoky notes of bourbon.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Pizza:
Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey – With its high rye content, Bulleit offers a spicy and slightly fruity profile that can stand up to the robust pizza flavors.
Wild Turkey Bourbon 101 – Spicy or meaty pizzas go well with this bourbon because of its robust and peppery flavors, which provide an extra layer of depth.
10. Kettle-Style Potato Chips
We wouldn't advise you to use regular potato chips, but we make an exception for kettle-style potato chips. Compared to the original, this snack is less salty and oily and has a better overall mouthfeel. Additionally, it will provide you with the necessary crunch, which will elegantly contrast with the smooth, rich spirit.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairings with Kettle-Style Potato Chips:
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old 2021 – The smoothness and caramel-vanilla notes of this bourbon offer a delectable contrast to the saltiness of the chips.
Basil Hayden's 10 Years Straight Bourbon – The richness of the chips can be cut through with a lighter, spicier bourbon like Basil Hayden's, which also adds a hint of sweetness.
11. Roasted Pecans
The buttery and slightly smoky taste of roasted pecans provides a delightful contrast to bourbon's warmth. Their earthy flavors and crunchiness create a wonderful balance.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairings with Roasted Pecans:
Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon – Blanton's nuanced flavors of toffee, honey, and almonds can accentuate the roasted pecans' nuttiness.
12. Spiced Almonds
For an exciting twist, try spiced almonds with bourbon. The blend of spices adds a touch of heat that pairs well with the spirit's robust and complex nature.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Spiced Almonds:
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon – This bourbon's vanilla and caramel undertones can provide a smooth and mellow backdrop to the vibrant spiced almonds.
High West Campfire – Rye's herbal and peppery notes can create a harmonious contrast with the spicy almonds, enhancing both the nutty and zesty elements.
13. Salted Caramel Popcorn
The marriage of salty and sweet caramel popcorn perfectly matches bourbon's intricate balance of flavors. The popcorn's crunchiness also enhances the sipping experience.
Ideal Bourbons for Pairing with Salted Caramel Popcorn:
Old Weller Antique 107 Proof Bourbon Whiskey – The caramel and butterscotch notes in this liquor harmonize pretty well with salted caramel, creating a pleasant experience.
Larceny Barrel Proof Batch #B523 – The toffee, caramel, and spice in this bourbon can accentuate the sweetness of salted caramel while adding a touch of complexity.
The world of bourbon is a realm of nuances, and pairing it with the right snacks can elevate your tasting experience to new heights. Whether you prefer the spicy, the savory, or the sweet, there's a snack on this list that will perfectly complement your bourbon.
What Is the Best Way to Pair Snacks With Bourbon?
The best way to pair snacks with bourbon is to balance flavors and textures. Opt for snacks that either match or perfectly contrast bourbon's sweetness, spiciness, and smokiness.
Are There Specific Bourbons That Pair Better With Certain Snacks?
Yes, some bourbons have unique flavor profiles that pair well with certain snacks. For example, a bourbon with prominent caramel and vanilla notes might pair well with salted caramel popcorn.
Is It Better to Choose Savory or Sweet Snacks With Bourbon?
The choice between savory and sweet snacks depends on your personal taste preferences. Savory snacks can enhance bourbon's complexity, while sweet snacks can create a contrasting yet harmonious experience.
Is It Better to Choose Savory or Sweet Snacks With Bourbon?
Absolutely! The above recommendations are just that: recommendations. Feel free to experiment with your favorite bourbons and snacks to discover unique combinations that resonate with your palate.