Must-try Bourbon and Food Pairings for Any Occasion

Bourbon and Food

May it be a dinner, party, tasting or an infamous Australian barbecue, if there’s one thing that a person serving a well-crafted bourbon must do is pair it with good food. The pleasure of combining the most delicious food that compliments one’s favourite drink is unparalleled. This perfect pairing might be hard to achieve as each variant has a unique flavour profile, and no two drinks taste the same. Therefore, below is a list of food items that go very well with the drink that people must try in their next gathering.

What is the Key to Pairing Food and Drink?

The significant aspect of pairing food with bourbon is matching the flavours. Food is simple enough regarding its flavour profiles and what it offers – fruity, meaty, nutty, crunchy, sweet, sour and more. But when it comes to a drink, flavours matter even more as they present a whole array of caramel, cloves, peanuts, fruit, root beer, tobacco, barrel finishes and more. Every pairing works in one of two ways, complement or contrast. When one complements food with bourbon, the flavours melt with each other, and on the flip side, when they contrast it with food, it brings out explicit and nuanced flavours from both components and creates unexpected new flavours. In general, any food that is smoky, sweet, rich or slightly spicy would pair well with the drink.

Which Food Items Go Well with Bourbon?

Range of Cheeses

The high-fat content present in cheese makes it a great pair with alcohol. Hard cheese like Parmigiano – Reggiano and Pecorino have buttery, smokey and salty flavours that complement the oak, high rye and smoky drink. Gouda and Brie, with their mildness, softness and creamy richness, add to the experience, especially with a drink that is wheated or lower proof. Sharp aged cheddar and blue cheese are also crowd favourites.

Chocolates and Flavoured Items

One of the best pairings for this alcohol is chocolate. They are similar to each other. They can both be finicky and can have extremely different flavours depending on their ingredients and water source. Get a mixture of rich milk and dark chocolates and break them into small pieces to serve them during a tasting for bourbons with light and heavy flavours. Chocolate paired with nuts and fruits like cherries, almonds and oranges forms a phenomenal combination. Those who are adventurous also try the drink with chilli-flavoured chocolate.

Cured Meats

Summer in Australia means barbecues, and barbecues mean serving tasty meats. Whether they are smoked brisket, pulled pork, ribs, grilled chicken, pork ribs and sausage, meat is one of the strongest contenders in food and hard bourbon pairings for their complexity of flavours. Meats that have savoury flavours like ham and salami also bring out the flavours of the alcohol when paired together.

Fresh fruits, Dried fruits and Nuts

Peaches, oranges, apple slices, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries bring out the best in both when paired with bourbon. Toasted nuts like pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds buttered with salt go well with high concentrated drinks. Dried fruits like pineapple, apples, apricots, dates and cranberries create contrasting flavours due to their high sugary and savoury taste.


Desserts also go very well with traditional drinks as they are sweeter and full-bodied, containing 15% barley and 15% rye. Due to its sweetness, pairing it with creamy appetizers and desserts is sure to provide that euphoria at the end of a grand meal. A high-wheat variant of the drink due to its earthy and soft feel also goes well with dessert flavours like vanilla and caramel.

Author Bio:

Hannah Gilbert is a freelance writer who offers ghostwriting, copywriting, and blogging services. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases their search engine visibility.

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