Neil Fusillo recounts a personal story on the internet:
My father often, on occasion, when asked if he’d like water added to his whisky, said something along the lines of, “Water?? I’m thirsty, not dirty!”
I have taken the title of this post from his lines… however, I must clarify here that in this post we’ll be talking about not just any whiskey… but a scotch whisky that the world loves! Black Dog is a 125 year old Scotch Whisky launched by James MacKinlay under the original name of Millard Black Dog. It is available in India through United Spirits… and the one variant that reaches the consumer after going through triple maturation, is the Black Dog TGR.
I remember a small discussion in a pub that centred on how a whisky ought to be had… if the spicy Indian food could be paired with it or not. Would it taste best with water or any soft beverage or soda or just plain ice-cubes.
‘I love my vodka!’ said one friend, and then went on, ‘But at recent party I had Black Dog on the rocks and at another I had it with coke and found it smooth on both occasions. The best part was that I didn’t have any challenging hangover like vodka generally gives nor did it make me feel dehydrated!’
We smiled at this exciting revelation and agreed that combining BD with water or soda or having it with ice was all a matter of individual taste and there could not really be any defined rules. This is because another friend was adamant that he would not prefer any fizz with it and would go for just a few sensual cubes of ice to give the whisky that ideal coat of Celsius that would make it taste heavenly.
Another friend interjected, ‘How about food?’
‘No spicy treats for me please,’ immediately chipped in another.
There were a few half-hearted protests at this tough regulation for the largely Indian palate, but we did agree that the subtlety of the flavours and the gently wafting aromas of this scotch would be terribly dislodged with the strong spice presence in some of our delicacies. However, once the flavour and the taste has reached to regale the senses, the spicy food could well be added to tingle the sensations a bit.
‘Yes,’ agreed a friend, ‘it is more about the timing of the food then the type of food.’ Well, we whisky lovers can be rather philosophical about food and drinks and the way they dance together!
We then sat down to do a bit of net search to find out how the world was dealing with food pairing with scotch. What we found was rather interesting as cheese, chocolates, and fruits too can be effectively combined with them. So we did order some swiss, cheddar, and gouda cheese to go with the BD that we were having.
‘Dark chocolates and those with more cacao bring out the subtle flavours of a great whisky,’ said one of the chocolate fans in the group.
I said, ‘I’d personally prefer cheese alternating with something tangy or tart, like apples or pears. I know for sure that intense citrus flavours tend to mask the flavours of whisky.’
Well, we did have an interestingly discovery-oriented evening and loved the tid-bits of food-pairing snippets that each of had contributed.
21 May 2014