Pairing whisky with cured meat is the ideal way of savoring two artisan delicacies that are nothing short of excellence.
Similar to matching cheese with wine and sherry with tapas, finding the perfect taste balance between a refined whisky and delicious charcuterie can send your taste buds into a frenzy.
If you haven’t tried it before, or you don’t know which whisky works well with what salami, this short guide should help you pair whisky and cured meat to perfection.
We went out of our way to try the most popular cured meats across the world and washed them down with a select collection of whisky drinks that are affordable, easy to find, and proper companions to a charcuterie board.
The Ideal Whisky to go with Cured Pork Loin
The Spanish call it “lomo,” but you most likely know it as cured pork loin. This cured delicacy is made from one of the most tender and flavorful pieces of pork. It has a fine texture that makes it easy to chew, and a salt-n-sweet aftertaste that always beckons a follow-up slice. If you are lucky enough to find “lomo embuchado,” which is a refined, air-dried version of the common lomo, you should not miss the opportunity of adding it to your charcuterie board.
A good choice of whisky to pair well with cured pork loin should be a bottle of Glen Grant. However, not any bottle will do. You should opt for the 10-year old Glen Grant single malt whisky to drink with finely-sliced lomo. The sweet, somehow buttery nuances of this distilled drink will complement the slight sweetness of the loin, but without washing it completely.
The Best Whisky Choice for Cured Beef
If you prefer Italian deli meat, then surely Bresaola is at the top of your “Favorites" list. This air-dried, salted beef has a robust character and an appetizing, dark-red cover that lures your hand whenever you reach for the charcuterie board. The lean, tender texture makes it an ideal ingredient in small, but filling appetizers.
Because bresaola has a subtle smoky flavor, you can pair it with a rich-tasting whisky that should lower its acidic kick. In this regard, you cannot go wrong with an Old Pulteney of 17-years old, which is aged in both American and Spanish oak casks. The perfect balance between maturity and the unique Pulteney briny taste makes it a fitting choice for this cured meat.
The Perfect Whisky Option to go with Salami
One type of cured meat that should never go missing from any charcuterie board is the good old Salami. This globally famous mix of fermented chopped meat comes in numerous taste variations that range from sweet to sour and tongue-flaming spicy. Whatever your choice of salami may be, there is always a good whisky pairing to go with it.
One of the best whisky drinks that go great with salami is the Scottish blend of single malts, Elements of Islay Peat. With it, you get a rich, smoky taste of roasted fruit and spice. Its thick consistency should slide smoothly down your throat whether you drink it after tasting sweet salami or a spicy cured meat.
The Proper Whisky Pairing for Chorizo
Another Spanish delicacy that makes our list is the famous Chorizo. If you have ever tasted this rich-tasting chopped meat, you know the unforgettable smoky taste, the fat texture, and the spicy aftertaste. Undoubtedly, the chorizo is a symphony of flavors exploding in your mouth with every single bite.
Since you cannot follow up on a symphony with an out-of-tune guitar solo, you need to pair chorizo with an equally savory whisky. In this regard, you shouldn’t look any further than the Four Roses, a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey produced by the Kirin Brewery Company of Japan. Featuring a sweet and rounded flavor and a slightly spicy aftertaste, this whisky will take the strong chorizo taste a notch down without dissolving it completely.
An Enticing Whisky Pair for Venison
Venison is an exquisite cured meat that enriches the value and taste of any charcuterie board. Its taste varies depending on the spices used during the curing process. Nevertheless, venison usually carries a rich, smoky flavor regardless of the seasonings and zests coating it.
To pair venison with an equally elegant whisky, you cannot choose anything less worthy than Glenfarclas aged for 15 years. This single malt whisky carries glorious tones of dried fruit and smoke in every drop. It lacks bitterness, and its slightly sweet taste will complement every bite of venison you take.
A Fitting Whisky for Prosciutto
This Italian-style cured ham has a salmon pink to brownish-red color. Its sweet-and-salty taste makes it a must-have ingredient of charcuterie boards everywhere.
Whether you go for the uncooked Prosciutto Crudo or the roasted Prosciutto Cotto, you cannot go wrong by pairing it with the Glenrothes Vintage Reserve. This blend of 10 different whiskeys has a berry fruit flavor and a sweet aftertaste that goes well with the silky, salty taste of Prosciutto ham.
A Classic Whisky Pair for Pork Rillettes
Rillette is an ancient method of curing pork meat that involves slowly cooking the seasoned meat before submerging it in fat and cooking it again for several hours. Upon completion, the meat is shredded and covered in fat content.
Pork rillettes has a rich, full bodied taste and a sweet aftertaste. The buttery texture slips smoothly down your windpipe and quickly asks for a non-sweet beverage to wash it down. In this case, you should opt for the spicy, high rye blend of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Straight Rye, which will pinch your tongue before slightly burning your throat to ask in turn for another bite of cured meat.
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