Halloween Special! Bourbon and Candy Bar Pairings
This is by far the most fun I’ve had pairing foods with Bourbon and/or Whiskey. I’m not sure if it was just an excuse to feast on chocolate or motivate by the fact that the chocolate was there for the taking by sneaking some from kid’s Halloween loot. Let’s admit it. We have all been there. Used as an excuse to go through the kids Halloween haul, we make sure everything is safe but we also get to check out what we can pilfer from them when our little trick or treaters are fast asleep. You know you’ve done it. And if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to live with years of shameless guilt.
Now I often see pictures on social media from folks with their favorite pour and a candy bar; incidentally, we call them chocolate bars north of the border. So it wasn’t a matter of, should I do a pairing, it was when should I do it? As I thought about this, the stars aligned and here we are - Halloween just days away. As luck would have it, this pairing couldn’t be any easier for you – you already have the bourbon on the shelf and now your own kids will deliver the goods. It was like Halloween was made for bourbon and candy bar pairings!! Since I purchased candy to hand out for Halloween, I had the chance to sample a few bars and I was surprised at the results.
Bourbon and Candy Bar Pairing
What you need:
4 different candy bars – your choice. I used Aero, KitKat, Smarties, Coffee Crisp and Caramilk. I’m not entirely certain that you can get your hands on all of these in the States, but there are plenty of substitutes!
3-4 bourbon or whiskey samples – try a wheated, a high rye, a higher proof/cask strength and even your favorite pour. I used Makers 46, Lot 40 (100% rye), Blantons Single Barrel and Old Grand Dad 114.
There are no hard and fast rules for doing a pairing. The key is to have fun and discover how the flavors complement each other, become more enhanced or perhaps more subtle. Do you taste something different with the chocolate? With the bourbon? Do you like it? I poured a healthy sample of each selected bourbons and bust up your candy bars so you can try each bourbon with each candy bar. Go ahead and start sipping and nibbling.
One thing you do want to do is always taste the bourbon first to experience the flavor notes without the influence of food. Then take a bite of the candy bar. Then another sip of bourbon. Did the flavor change? Did you notice any new flavors? Anything that you really liked?
One interesting thing I noticed was that the chocolate seemed to reduce the heat of most of the whiskies. I will put this to the fat content of each bar and this was definitely more pronounced with the bars that had a layer of creamy filling – like the coffee crisp and kit kat which also had a higher fat content upon review of the nutritional facts (which you should never read BEFORE you do this). The solid chocolate (Aero) seemed to bring out or enhance the wood/oak flavors.
My favorite pairings for each candy bar?
Makers 46 – 94 proof: the Aero – a solid mild chocolate that just seemed to be made for this bourbon
Lot 40 – this a 100% rye whisky with all the spiciness you can imagine. I absolutely loved the coffee crisp with this whisky.
Blantons Original Single Barrel – 93 proof – Caramilk – between the bourbon and candy bar, this was a caramel explosion! A match made in heaven and probably by far, my favorite pairing.
Old Grand Dad 114 – 114 proof - I really enjoyed the Aero and the Smarties with this one. The solid chocolate paired perfectly with the bold flavors of this big bourbon. It also seemed to bring out the sweetness of the bourbon which I find a little lost in the spiciness and heat.
Whatever your pairings, the point is always to enjoy whatever you choose to pair with your whiskey. Part of the fun is raiding the kid’s Halloween loot too! This year, I may just add some rockets and skittles into my pairings!! Happy Halloween from the Whiskey Corner. We hope your trick or treaters have a fantastic night and score large!!
Do you have questions about pairings or want to share your thoughts and experiences pairing chocolate bars and whiskey? What is your go to pairing? Please feel free to send any questions to @canadian_proof or share pics of your pairing and tag @thewhiskeycorner_abvn on your posts. I hope you have as much fun pairing your whiskey with Halloween candy as I did!!