Irish Whiskey Pairing – Cheese & Charcuterie

Lambay Posted 05.04.22

Ireland is famous for its cheeses and our fair land now has a farmhouse cheese movement to rival any country in the world. Whiskey pairs extremely well with cheese due to the ways in which the cheese acts as a foil for the robust quality of the whiskey.

If you’re tasting several cheeses with a number of whiskeys, start with the lightest and work up towards the richest. To start with your whiskey of choice we recommend the floral notes of our Lambay Small Batch Blend.

As you then advance towards stronger flavours and deeper tastes, this is definitely your single pot still or single malt territory, why not try a salty cheese with our Lambay Malt Irish? Always finish with a blue, as the robust quality of this cheese tends to affect other cheeses. When building your cheese board, pick four different cheeses (goats, cheddar, smoked, blue). Always allow the cheese to come up to room temperature before serving. The cheese should be the same temperature as the whiskey.

Highlighted pairings:

Goat’s cheese (St. Tola, Galway Goat Farm) works well with many Irish whiskeys from single malts to lighter, sweeter single grains or blends.

Mature cheddars (such Hegarty’s or Coolattin) work well with both single grain and Bourbon-matured whiskeys. A light and sweet blend can also cut through the richness of the mature cheddar. Because of the subtly of most Irish hard cheddars, they work with a broad range of Irish whiskeys. It can be fun to line up four different whiskeys with the same cheddar and see how the cheese affect the essential character of the whiskey.

Sheep’s cheese (such as Rockfield) pair with lighter, sweeter single grains or blends.

Brie style cheeses (such as Ballylisk) pair with pot still and single malt.

Smoked cheeses (such as Gubbeen or Knockanore) pair well with sherry-finished single malts or pot stills.

Peated whiskeys work well with smoked cheeses and hard cheddars.

Blue cheese (such as Crozier Blue, Young Buck, Kearney, or Cashel Blue) favours single malts (particularly either sherry-finished or peated) or sherry-finished pot stills.

The richness of the sherry flavour cuts through the deep flavour of the cheese and provides a beautiful pairing that complements both cheese and whiskey.

Pair fortified wine driven whiskeys with more of the richer and more robust cheeses.

Ireland produces a great variety of charcuterie now, from Gubbeen salami to McGeough’s smoked lamb. Due to their ageing cured meats have great depth in flavour. For pairing with Irish whiskey you can choose a variety of different cured meats, from pork and lamb to beef and game; and experiment with different whiskeys from light to sweet and mature. Experiment with different whiskeys from light to sweet and mature with different cured meat. Sweeter bourbon-matured whiskeys also compliment the dry saltiness of most cured meats

Highlighted pairings:

Pair sliced salami with single grains or blends

Smoked cured meat work with peated whiskeys or blends

Cured Beef (such as Bresaola, corned beef, or pickled ox tongue) will work with more mature whiskey, and sherry finished single malts.

Spicy cured meats, such as chorizo, will work with sherry-finished pot stills.

If you are less a meaty, cheesy type of foodie then why not discover more information on pairing food with shellfish click here.

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