Why Shortbread Is The Ideal Cookie Pairing For Whisky

The Scots are on to something. Attend a Burns Night event, and you may see shortbread cookies served alongside drams of whisky. Though the pairing might sound curious, this flavor combination is a match made in culinary heaven. The buttery biscuits originated in Scotland, so it's no wonder they have found a home alongside sips of liquid gold. Bites of the crunchy treats can soften punchier whisky blends, and on Hogmanay, the Scot's New Year's celebration, a ritual known as first footing or first foot over the door is still practiced with the ingredients. To invite the best luck into a home, shortbread, coal, and whisky must be carried inside. 

Since classic shortbread recipes don't include any add-ins like nuts, dried fruit, or pieces of chocolate, the reliable staple is the perfect vehicle to accompany a serving of a smooth single malt. The silkiness of whisky becomes magnified when complemented by these crunchy cookies, and the buttery flavors play off of each other to result in a delicious pairing that is worth repeating, holiday or not.

Serving up flavors of Scotland

Drams that offer light, sweet tasting notes and palates of citrus can complement the rich sweetness of biscuits, but you may need to go through some trial and error to find the pairing that suits your preferences. Crisp shortbread biscuits mingle nicely with richer drams and any blend that offers whispers of fruits and spice. For shortbread recipes enhanced with caraway seed, look to pair these cookies with warmer, spicier whisky or labels with sweeter vanilla and honey tasting notes, like Indian whisky, bourbon, or rye. 

For an easy party idea, offer a variety of shortbreads for guests to sample with different drams. Include millionaire's shortbread and classic shortbread cookies to let guests create a unique tasting journey of their own by mixing and matching. We're pretty certain the Scots would approve of any reason to break out this gastronomic mashup to share with friends, and this is a fun experiment to try.