If you’re a parent with kids who (would, on a non-pandemic timeline) go trick-or-treating or just a single adult who bought too much Halloween candy, on November 1st you’ll probably find yourself with a surplus of Snickers bars, Starburst, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Candy Corn. To get rid of them, you can spend the next week gradually munching leftover treats with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or you can be a maximalist and pair those sugar-laden confections with your favorite whiskey.
We vote the latter. And since we’re all about the proper pairing, we decided to reach out to our favorite bartenders for help picking which whiskeys go with beloved Halloween candies. Their combinations sound… pretty good, actually. So good, in fact, that we might just have to dip into our supplies early.
The Dalmore 12 (Dove Dark Chocolate)
Christopher Chamberlain, national beverage development manager for E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, California
The core collection of The Dalmore pairs beautifully with a vast array of chocolate. Its introductory, The Dalmore 12 expression is a perfect companion to dark chocolate containing notes of raw honey and candied orange. The Dalmore 15 pairs well with dark chocolates that carry the spicy notes of candied ginger. For those willing to splurge, the Dalmore 18 pairs well with both dark and white chocolates rich with notes of coffee, vanilla, or caramel.
Old Bardstown Bourbon (Candy Corn)
Andy Printy, Beverage Director at Chao Baan in St. Louis
It’s unfortunate, but Halloween brings a surplus of Candy Corn. The perfect whiskey to turn this nightmare candy into a treat has to be Old Bardstown. Lightly allocated, but affordable when found, it’s got lots of corn, but a nice aftertaste of cocoa nibs and light oak char. Its body is light, but the creamy texture of the sugary Candy Corn is a perfect mediator.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon (Milky Way Bar)
Gavin Humes, bartender at Scratch|Bar & Kitchen in Los Angeles
Most Halloween candy is made with fairly sweet, light milk chocolate. Even my favorite Halloween candy – the Milky Way Dark is relatively sweet — so it needs something that highlights the vanilla notes in the candy. For that, I’d reach for something like the Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon. The vanilla and caramel notes in the bourbon work nicely with the sweet dark Milky Way candy bar.
Weller Special Reserve Bourbon (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup)
Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami
Weller Special Reserve and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. A nice wheated flavor to pair with the salty, sweet, and chocolate in the candy. Plus, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are by far the best Halloween candy of all time.
Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon (Snickers Bar)
Nick Coles, bartender at Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in Sacramento
The perfect duo for Halloween would be Snickers and Maker’s 46. We want that caramel from the candy, but we also want the peanuts to complement the spice that Maker’s 46 gives off. Maker’s 46 is creamy and soft at the first drop of the tongue, then the spices explode on the palate.
77 Whiskey Local Rye & Corn (Banana Laffy Taffy)
Roberto Berdecia, bartender at La Factoria in San Juan, Puerto Rico
During Halloween, I once tried a Banana Laffy Taffy candy paired with 77 Whiskey (Local Rye & Corn) and I always have that memory in my mind. It was very good. The flavor and complexity of the rye mixed with corn made that candy taste like heaven and vice versa.
WhistlePig 10 Year Rye (Peppermint Patties)
Nestor Marchand, director of food and beverage at Plunge Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Whistle Pig 10 Year Rye Whiskey with Peppermint Patties. The flavor strength of the rye just melts with the chocolate and mint. Peppery sweetness and dark chocolate and mint are a great combination.
Slane Irish Whiskey (Brach’s Caramel Apple Halloween Candy)
David Velasquez, bartender at Spellbound MIA in Miami
I recommend Slane Irish Whiskey as a perfect pair with Brach’s Caramel Apple Halloween candy because of the notes of caramel and green apple — which can also be tasted subtly when drinking Slane Irish Whiskey.
Halloween and fall, in general, are a festive time of year and Slane always brings joy.
Booker’s Bourbon (Twix Bar)
The unfiltered, robust flavors of vanilla, charred oak, and caramel work perfectly with the cookie, caramel, and milk chocolate of a Twix bar.
Ardbeg Ten (Whatchamacallit Bar)
The peaty, smoky, briny flavor of Ardbeg Ten works well with the peanut butter crisp, caramel, and milk chocolate of the Whatchamacallit Bar. The duo work so well together you’ll wish you had a half dozen of these sweet treats to pair with this beloved Islay single malt.