Whisky and Food

One of my favourite things in the whole world is to go out for dinner. Picture the scene; me sat in my finery, a nice glass of Pinot Noir, a rare Aberdeen Angus Steak, a beautiful girl sat across from me and the icing on the cake: a whisky. The question is, what whisky should I choose? Both myself and Lucas worked in a fine dining restaurant with an excellent whisky bar, so we were constantly presented with this challenge, to match a whisky with every course. Obviously a lot of this is personal taste, but there is some logic that can be applied.

I think the best way to explain this is to look at a sample menu, pick some whiskies that I think go with each course and justify the choice.

The Menu I have chosen is from Amber Restaurant in the Scotch Whisky Experience , Edinburgh. I would thoroughly recommend going there for dinner.

Evening Menu


Warm hot smoked salmon with horseradish cream £6.20

Whisky: A couple of choices. Something like Oban or Cambpletown has that taste of the sea which would go with the salmon. Or something bourbon matured, like Royal Lochnagar to balance the dish with some sweetness

Old fashioned potted ham hock with piccalilli £4.95

Whisky: Something nice and robust with a bit of an edge, Old Pulteney 17 year old Cask strength. Start the night as you mean to go on.

Butternut squash and carrot soup topped with crème fraiche £4.15

Whisky: Something sweet to go with this sweet entrée. Glenmorangie Quitna Ruban . Grapey port flavours.

Baked spinach pancakes with woodland mushroom casserole £5.95

Sounds like the vegetarian organic choice. Why not go Benromach, Scotland’s first truly organic whisky.

Duck and mixed berry filo parcel with honey and balsamic jam £5.50

I think something finished in a sherry cask. Benriach 15 year old Pedro Ximnez? Its rich and with this rich starter you are going to feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Main course

Roast fillet of cod topped with oatmeal and sundried tomato crust served with saffron potatoes £19.50

I am going to go with a lightly peated whisky. Bunnahabhain 12.

Rump of lamb, crushed garlic potatoes and wild mushroom jus £21.50

Something grassy and floral to go with the Lamb. Rosebank 12 yo Flora and Fauna.

Medallions of Scottish beef fillet with fondant potato and whisky peppercorn sauce £25.95

Whisky: My choice for the main course. I am going to say Bowmore darkest. Rich, smoky and a little bit chocolaty.

Pithivier of goats cheese and shallot, rocket salad and beetroot chutney £13.95

Whisky: Oban Distillers Edition. With a Fino sherry finish, provides dry complex flavours.

Pan fried corn fed chicken supreme, served with grainy mustard mash, Stornoway black pudding and elderflower sauce £17.50

Whisky: Glenfarclas 21. Spicy and fruity flavours will complement the black pudding.


Gingerbread and pear cheesecake with sauce Anglaise £4.90

Whisky: Balblair 1975. Go on treat yourself to this fantastically fruity whisky.

Tropical fruits Lemon tart with thick cream £4.50

Whisky: Cutty Sark. I wanted to mention a blend and I think this will go with the lemon. Slightly grassy flavour.

Terrine of dark chocolate and heather cream £4.95

Whisky: Have yourself a Heather Cream to match it perfectly

Rhubarb crème brulee £4.90

Whisky: Aberlour Abunadh: Very heavily sherried, cask strength. A good way to finish the night

Selection of Scottish cheese and oatcakes £5.95

Its hard to pick a whisky for the cheeses. You could go smoky (Lagavulin 16 yo) or sweet (Dalmore 15 yo). Alternatively get a Whisky Smash or a Drambuie.

I hope some of these suggestions have helped. It definitely enhances the dining experience to have a couple of drams with a meal. Enjoy!



  1. Mouth-watering stuff, Chris – and the food sounds pretty good as well.

    WRT the cheeses – Lagavulin (or any southern Islay whisky) goes brilliantly with blue cheeses, as I’m sure you already know. My other rule of thumb for desserts is that sherried malt always seems to work very well with ice creams. Love your selections, and Amber sounds like a great place to grab a pretty posh bite. If I was eating there I reckon I’d have the chicken with black pudding for the main, perhaps with a Springbank 1997 with just a slight drop of water with it. Yummy.

  2. Sherried whisky with ice cream. Sounds amazing, will try that!
    Unfortunately in Amber they don’t stock Springbank;)

  3. Maybe its a good plan just to get several whiskies with the cheeses :)

    I think the chicken with black pudding would be my second choice. I wonder if they would let me bring my own bottle of Springbank 1997 to try out your recommendation.

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