Most of us have had bourbon with food before — it’s an inevitability, really. As bourbon lovers and as food lovers, naturally the two will eventually meet. Have you ever thought about how you’re pairing your food and booze before, though? Sure, beer and cheese or wine and cheese pairings are a thing, but have you ever really thought about how to pair straight bourbon with a meal?
In an effort to better ourselves as gentleman, we worked with Four Roses Bourbon to do just that. On March 29, 2018 at American Whiskey in New York City, we hosted our latest Manual Meet-Up: a night of contemporary bourbon and food pairings that were then joined by classic whiskey drinks.
The idea behind the night was to celebrate how the classic nature of Four Roses Bourbon is perfect in any contemporary setting (not only are they an integral member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail that is visited by thousands every day, but they are also celebrating 130 years in 2018) and to showcase just how closely The Manual mirrors that ability. We pride ourselves on being able to not only provide timeless options for everything from food and drink to fashion, but also being able to offer the newest (and best) ideas for what to drink, how, and when.
Basically, the idea for this night was a match made in Heaven. If Heaven was a barrelhouse in Kentucky, that is. Below, check out the pairings and feel free to recreate them at home. We assure you, dear reader, that all three pairings were delicious.
Pairing 1: Four Roses Bourbon with Grilled Cheese
Four Roses Bourbon Tasting Notes
Nose: Pear and light fruitiness, floral, gentle spice, honey
Palate: Crisp, yet soft & smooth, fresh fruit, hints of apple
Finish: Soft and smooth
Paired with: Grilled cheese
Ingredients: Fontina, basil, chili flakes
Why? The apple and pear flavors in the bourbon match up with the smooth, creamy flavors of the melted cheese. They reflect each other and mutually enhance the experience with every bite and every sip.
Pairing 2: Four Roses Small Batch with Mini Burgers
Four Roses Small Batch Tasting Notes
Nose: Spicy, rich, mellow, fruity, hints of sweet oak & caramel.
Palate: Creamy, mellow, ripened red berries, rich, spicy, well-balanced, moderately sweet.
Finish: Soft, smooth & pleasantly long.
Paired with: Mini burger
Ingredients: Lettuce, pickles, Dijon mustard
Why? As we move into a slightly more substantial pairing, the oaky, somewhat sweet flavors of the bourbon manage to mimic those of the burger roll. From there, Four Roses Small Batch’s spicy backbone is like adding another layer of condiment to the burger.
Pairing 3: Four Roses Single Barrel with Rye Dogs
Four Roses Single Barrel Tasting Notes
Nose: Fruity, spicy, floral, caramel, vanilla, cocoa, maple syrup, moderately woody.
Palate: Hints of ripe plum and cherries, robust, full body, mellow.
Finish: Smooth and delicately long.
Paired with: Rye Dog
Ingredients: Merguez sausage
Why? Another instance of matching body with body. The robust nature of Four Roses Single Barrel paired excellently with the merguez sausage, which was presented in corn dog format. The most full-bodied of the bourbons on display, the spicy nature of the bourbon was bolstered by the sweet cornmeal breading of the sausage.
Oh, and did we mention there were tater tots too? If the mere thought of deep fried potato chunks and whiskey doesn’t get you excited, well then we don’t know what to do.
Once the pairings were done, our guests were able to enjoy pours of Four Roses Bourbon or two classic drinks: Whiskey and Ginger or an Old Fashioned. We’ve had our share of both of these drinks over the years and thought they would be great juxtapositions with our previous pairings. Not only would you get something novel to try, but in the end you could always fall back on what most of us probably grew up drinking. New and old, classic and contemporary. The mix of the two is something we at The Manual have worked hard to perfect over the years and will continue do no and every day in the future.