Forget ice or soda; have you tried pairing Scotch with food? It can work surprisingly well, and so-called “whisky dinners” are becoming increasingly popular in Europe and Asia. Just this year alone, I’ve led dozens of them in twenty countries.
I particularly enjoy matching single malts with appetizers, small plates like tapas or meze, and desserts. This can showcase unexpected characteristics in a spirit and invariably leads to a lively discussion. (As for entrees, they’re often too complex, and, frankly, I think wine is better suited as a companion to many dishes.)
The general idea is that the cuisine and the whisky should either complement or contrast with each other. Since every Scotch bottling has its own unique flavor profile, I suggest keeping the food relatively simple and based on quality ingredients, which will allow the liquor to really shine through.
Here are some of my favorite pairings. Bon appetit!