It’s been a solid two months now that you’ve been stuck (mostly) at home. By this point, boredom is starting to set in big time — accented by about a half-dozen very valid fears with a hint of general malaise. You can only watch so much TV, play so many hours of video games, and stare blankly at your smart phone’s screen for so long before you get bored. And when you get bored… you snack.
Oh, relax. We’re all coming out of quarantine grizzled, wisened, and prematurely gray. What’s wrong with a few extra Pringles pounds? But if you’re going to overeat, you should probably pair those salty, savory snacks with whiskey. (Yes, this is our solution to many of life’s problems.)
The big question is which whiskeys should you sip while grazing? To answer that, we went to the pros. Here are the expressions some of our favorite bartenders told us to try with our snack foods.
Red Breast Irish Whiskey
Peter Ruppert, beverage director at Short Stories in New York City
As far as just having something to accompany snack food, Red Breast Irish Whiskey is a complex but still down to earth whiskey that just sort of fits itself into any occasion.
Johnnie Walker Black
Piero Procida, bartender at The London West Hollywood in Los Angeles
I’ll try not to do anything too over-complicated here. In other words, if you are being simple then stay simple — go with something like a blended Scotch, not only because it’s typically cheaper but also because there’s such a wide array of flavors in these whiskies. My personal favorite is Johnnie Walker Black. It’s not too expensive and it’s still a good quality scotch to enjoy with something like snacks. Blended scotches are slowly making a comeback and this one is incredibly versatile.
Eagle Rare Bourbon
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James Arensault, director of food and beverage at Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard
If I’m eating snacks, I want them paired with Eagle Rare bourbon. It’s one of the easiest drinking bourbon/whiskeys I can think of and it can almost be universally paired, so a snack of any variety would complement.
Jim Beam Apple
Everson Rawlings, mixologist at Scrub Island Resort Spa and Marina in the British Virgin Islands
I’m pairing my snacks with Jim Beam Apple. With Jim Beam Apple we soak the apple and dehydrate it to make apple chips. Jim Beam Apple goes well with nuts, pretzels, onion rings, apple chips, and homemade fried potatoes.
Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye
Zac Johnson, general manager at JJ’s Wine, Spirits, and Cigars in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye goes great with a meat and cheese tray. I’m a fan of spice so I like to pair a spicy summer sausage with pepper jack cheese and two ounces of Knob Creek Barrel Strength Rye.
Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch
Sebastien Derbomez, brand advocacy manager of William Grant & Sons
I like to pair Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Whisky with any snacks — try it neat, on the rocks, with your mum, on date, from a plate, it still tastes great.
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Jon Joseph, bartender at JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa in Sonora, Texas
Most snack foods have a salty taste to them. This is to keep people eating these snacks and always coming back for more. We like to pair a whiskey that has a certain amount of sweetness to it. Staying with our Texas roots, we love to serve Balcones Rumble. Is this technically a whiskey? Well, it is in that undefined area… This Rumble is made from Texas Wildflower Honey, Turbinado sugar, and Mission Fig Spirit. Rumble has a taste of ginger snaps, sugar plums, toffee, and lemon candies. It still finishes like a bourbon though, with an oaky spice. Most people have not tried it and it’s a great conversation piece around the bar.
Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami, Florida
Something with a slightly more aggressive nose like Rittenhouse Rye is great to overpower the salty (or sweet!) midnight snacks the corner store has talked me into. Being rye and bottled in bond, the spice and heat can really cleanse the palette… or prep me for chip flavor number two.
Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon
Nicole Quist, beverage Director at Bartaco in Aventura, Florida
Four Roses Yellow Label is such a great blending bourbon for cocktails. It’s my happy hour go to with some fresh lemon + orange, bitters + vermouth of your choice. Right now, thyme is starting to come up all over my garden, so pretty sure I’ll have the makings of a Bartaco Old Thymer cocktail. Either in a cocktail or on its own, it pairs perfectly with salty snacks.