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Bartenders Tell Us The Best Whiskeys To Pair With Sweet Snacks

Even though many of us are currently a month or more into working from home, that doesn’t mean we’re remotely used to this new normal yet. Sure, we can set up schedules so that we complete our work in a timely manner, but a mid-afternoon nap or yet another snack break always seems to beckon us away from our laptops, like the proverbial siren’s song.

Partly out of hunger, but mostly due to boredom, many of us have found that we’re stuffing our faces with pretzels, chips, and cheese balls during these long quarantine days. We’re also snacking on sweets and desserts. With our seemingly endless free time we’re baking up brownies, blondies, and any number of cakes. And we need something to pair them with — that “something” being whiskey.

To get more specific, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the best whiskeys to pair with our insatiable sweet snacking.

Oban 14 Year

Peter Ruppert, beverage director at Short Stories in New York City

Dessert can be tricky because it’s very much so its own dish but if I were to pair it with anything, I’d say Oban 14 Year fits. Although it’s aromatic, it’s not too smokey or oaky so it actually has the ability to compliment something like a rich cake without stealing the show.

Michter’s American Whiskey

Piero Procida, bartender at The London West Hollywood in Los Angeles

Michter’s American Whiskey. I enjoy desserts that are typically very sweet, but you also don’t want to overpower it with a heavy, smoky, or spicy whiskey — which is easy to do with most Whiskey’s. Michter’s has a subtle sweetness which complements a sweet treat very well, but is still strong enough to cut down the sugars. I think that makes for a great pair.

Laphroaig 10 Year

James Arensault, director of food & beverage at Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard

I’d pair a single malt possibly Glenfiddich or Laphroaig. Scotch and blended Scotches typically pair better with sweeter items. The smoothness and oak notes present a good contrast.

Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or

Zac Johnson, general manager at JJ’s Wine, Spirits, and Cigars in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or would be my choice. It’s been finished in French Sauternes barrels so it has a great natural orange and lemon sweetness to it that would go great with any kind of cheesecake as a compliment. My choice, I would go with a basic chocolate and caramel drizzled cheesecake.

Blanton’s Bourbon

Brandon Carter, chef at FARM in Bluffton, South Carolina

Probably Blanton’s. It tastes like French toast and French toast (even though it’s not technically a dessert) sounds pretty delicious right now.

Glenfiddich 15 Year

Sebastien Derbomez, brand advocacy manager at William Grant & Sons

Glenfiddich 15 Year will be my choice; the solera system used to age this whisky makes it truly unique. It’s a multi-layered silky smooth whisky, it will take your dessert experience to the next level.

Rebecca Creek Texas Whiskey

Jon Joseph, bartender at JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa in Sonora, Texas

We would have to go with Rebecca Creek. This whiskey is a blend of bourbons that can range from 10 years and younger. It’s silky smooth on the pallet like a good dessert. We don’t want to overpower it, but complement it. You taste some dried tropical fruits with a finish of nuts and vanilla. Of course, this is from Texas.

Aberlour 12 Year

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

A Speyside Scotch whisky with sherry in the finish really comes to mind for me with something like a rich, sweet dessert. Both Balvenie and Aberlour double cask mature their 12-year statements, the marriage of oak and sherry creates a unique finish. The nature of Scotch itself both complements and cuts the sweetness of the dessert while the subtle notes of sherry blend with the richness.

Monkey Shoulder

Nicole Quist, beverage director at Bartaco in Aventura, Florida

A great dessert deserves a balanced, blended whisky. I’m a Monkey Shoulder blended Scotch whisky girl. The vanilla notes + richness make it the perfect dessert pairing whisky.

Writer’s Pick:

Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

This high-rye bourbon is full of favors like dried fruits, vanilla, chocolate, and caramel and would pair perfectly with something like sticky toffee pudding or simply a piece of dark chocolate.