Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and for many, that means just one thing: pie. OK, two things: pie, and whiskey.
Artful pairing of whiskey with savory foods is certainly possible, but it can be challenging, Higher-proof than beer and wine, whiskey can mask or overpower delicate flavors, and having more than one or two glasses of whiskey over the course of dinner might spell disaster, especially if this year’s conversation turns to politics.
But by the time dessert rolls around, most of us are simply too full to be rowdy, and we need something big and bold to cut through the buttery crust of our final indulgences. Here’s where I’ll be reaching this year:
Bourbon is a natural match with the spicy, rich flavor of pumpkin pie, and Wild Turkey Rare Breed has the spice and high proof to stand up to the toasty flavor of a well-browned crust. Both also exemplify the best of New World culinary traditions, making this pairing satisfying from a gustatory and intellectual perspective.
Lock Stock & Barrel Rye | Pecan Pie
Lock Stock & Barrel is a big, spicy rye with an incredible punch of flavor – just the right companion for that heady concoction of sugar, fat, and carbohydrates that is pecan pie. All that spice cuts through the sweet heaviness of the pie, while dark herbal flavors in the whiskey accentuate the nutty flavor of the pecans.
Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or | Apple Pie
Apple pie might be quintessentially American, but it sure pairs well with this import. Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or spends 12 years maturing in casks that once held Sauternes, a French dessert wine made from botrytis-infected grapes. Honeyed and delicate, it’s the perfect balance of sweetness, spice, and an underlying freshness, just like apple pie.
Ah, the dessert of champions. Lagavulin’s rich malty body, sweet flavor, and pungent peat smoke pair beautifully with the flavor of high-quality dark chocolate. Instead of clashing, Lagavulin 16’s marine smoke accentuates the earthy flavors of chocolate just like a few grains of sea salt, and dark chocolate’s slightly bitter note makes Lagavulin taste sweeter and more refined than ever before.
Margarett Waterbury is the author of Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland's Whiskies and a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Whisky Advocate, Food and Wine, Spirited Magazine, Artisan Spirit, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is...