Whiskey And Chocolate Is The Indulgent Pairing You Must Try

Reaching for a piece of chocolate may not be the first idea that comes to mind when enjoying a freshly poured dram of whiskey, but the decadent ingredient pairing is worth some serious consideration. As surprising as it might sound, whiskey and chocolate share many of the same flavor profiles and tasting notes. Not only can matching whiskies with chocolate lend to a memorable evening, but the combination could be the sweet luxury you never knew you needed.

Alternating sips of whiskey with bites of chocolate can highlight some of the more subtle flavors found in both the liquid and the treat. When sampling various whiskies, notice the range of flavors that hit your palate — vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, pepper, peaty, and smoke. Then, look to complement your dram with chocolate that can emphasize the tasting notes you've identified. Ideally, the intensity of your whiskey is either complemented or matched by the chocolates of your choosing. 

How to pair whiskey and chocolate

If you're unsure of which kinds of whiskey brands to match with your favorite specialty chocolate bars, begin by using lighter whiskies that offer sweeter flavor profiles as your starting point. Whiskies with fruity and nutty notes can be easily complemented by milky, buttery chocolates, while stronger whiskies can hold their own next to richer, more decadent pieces of dark chocolate. 

Subdue weightier servings of peat whiskey with peppermint-infused dark chocolate, or look for chocolate bars with floral notes to encourage richer, more mature whiskies to sparkle. If you enjoy a crispier pour of whiskey, try pairing your drink with salty or caramel chocolates, and for whiskies aged in sherry casks, whiskey connoisseurs frequently pinpoint "cake" as a tasting note. Use this to your advantage and play up the feature with chocolates that contain dried fruit, nuts, or flavored essence for a smooth, rich-tasting experience.

Planning a tasting experience at home

Because there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to pairing whiskey and chocolate, you can enjoy experimenting with flavors, textures, and tasting notes. A tasting experience is an easy way to familiarize yourself with the tasting options and introduce friends to the idea. 

Set out drams of whiskies, have plenty of tasting glasses at the ready, and arrange an assortment of chocolates to mix and match. From truffles to chocolate bars, offering a variety of options — including chocolate-covered nuts and chocolate-covered fruit — to sample alongside drams can be a fun experience to share. Palate cleansers like coffee, sorbet, and sparking water can keep mouths fresh in between pairings, and encourage guests to sip slowly, paying careful attention to the dance between the chocolates and the poured drams.

Once you've sampled the two ingredients together, get creative in mixing your own drinks and recipes. From a classic old fashioned cocktail made with whiskey, dark chocolate, bitters, sugar syrup, and orange zest to truffles that use whiskey and vermouth in the recipe, or lava cakes that present whiskey-enhanced dark chocolate fillings, the world of whiskey and chocolate is ready to explore.