The next time you reach for the chocy, consider washing it down with it’s best friend: alcohol. Check out our 6 top-notch chocolate and booze pairings.
Chocolate and alcohol make a fine pair. Whether you’re into bold reds, dark stouts, or the odd whisky nightcap, there’s a chocolate to match your sip of choice.
The matchmaking, however, is the hard part. If Snickers and IPA is your match made in heaven, then by all means, stick with it. But for those only starting to dip your toes in the chocolate and booze-pairing realm, here are a few to start out with.
Like whisky, chocolate comes in a multitude of different varieties, flavours and origins. The two can work in harmony, highlighting each other’s subtle hidden flavours or mellowing out any harshness.
Single-origin chocolate will be your best bet when it comes to experiencing it with whisky. This means that the cacoa beans are produced in one region, giving the chocolate a distinctive, pure taste.
Milk chocolate can highlight the spicy kick in rye whiskeys, the bitterness of 70 per cent cacoa can be softened by the sweetness of an aged whisky and a smoky dram works nicely with white chocolate.
Bourbon also pairs brilliantly with chocolate. The velvet smoky characteristic of most bourbons tends to blend well with a chunk of high cocao content chocolate or in these Maker’s Mark cookies, if you’re looking to treat yourself. American whiskey often has strong vanilla notes from the use of American Oak – a flavour that likes to mingle with darker chocolates.
Chocolate and rum are both children of the Caribbean so they get on rather well. Sugar cane – a main ingredient in rum – is affected by where it’s grown, just like cocoa beans. Therefore high percentage, single-origin chocolates often compliment the flavours within rum. Caramel milk chocolate is also delicious.
The concentrated fruit elements of a strong Shiraz work best with a 70 per cent cocoa chocolate. Bittersweet chocolates are strong in flavour and low in sugar, which allows them to mellow out the tannins in a bold, red wine.
Fruit-flavoured chocolates will enhance the flavours in the shiraz, without overwhelming the palate with sweetness.
This match is the easiest one. Stouts often show flavours of chocolate and coffee, so dark chocolate will help spice things up and bring out the sugars and bitterness of the beer.
This one may surprise you, but the next time you go to chase tequila with a lemon wedge (although we hope you’ve put that habit to rest), you might want to try a square of chocolate instead.
Tequila carries toasty notes from blue agave, which works well with the creamy texture of chocolate. Try fruit-flavoured chocolate or mint chocolate to bring out the bright grassiness of the tequila. Chocolate with cinnamon or chili will get rid of the heat but enhance that spicy kick at the back of the throat.
Choc and Alcohol Pairing Tips
- Use high quality alcohol and chocolate. No amount of choccie is going to save a cheap, nasty spirit.
- Pay attention to the flavours and aromas of your favourite drinks, and try and guess which type of chocolate would compliment them.
- When in doubt, go for similar (smoky and smoky) and contrasting (sweet and bitter) flavours.
- Listen to your taste buds. Your perfect match might be something out of the ordinary.
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