That's the Spirit: Pairing Multi-Course Meals with Single Malts

Single malt scotch. You may have had it in a meal, after a meal--but with a meal? Whiskey has come into the limelight as an ideal pairing for the main course. What does this mean for your culinary career? Whether you're a restaurant manager, a chef, or a sommelier, you can benefit from a training course in spirits.

Chefs may know whiskey as a recipe ingredient, restaurant staff as an after-dinner drink. But few have the training to pair spirits with food. That's where the "single malt specialist" comes in. Many restaurants have scored style points--and a new source of revenue--by engaging a whiskey expert for in-house restaurant training.

The Culinary Art of Whiskey-Pairing

The single malt specialist devotes his or her culinary career to the art of incorporating whiskey into the restaurant dining experience. Single malt training covers:
  • Production. How is whiskey made? What factors in its production contribute to its complex flavors? Barley, peat, and water are the key ingredients, and each has a dramatic impact on quality.
  • Tasting. The highlight of a restaurant training is the tasting. Not until you sample the culinary art of whiskey firsthand will you be able to develop the discriminating palate you need to incorporate spirits into your menu.
  • Pairing. Depending on your culinary career, you might want to know how different whiskies complement foods. Or how to build a comprehensive whiskey "library." "Each whiskey has a niche of its own," explains single malt specialist Riannon Walsh. Restaurant training programs focus on how chefs, sommeliers, and restaurant staff can present each whiskey to best advantage.

Whiskey has the potential to add a new dimension to the restaurant dining experience. Whiskey training can open your eyes to the subtle pleasures of this drink--and it may also help your culinary career.