A glass of red wine is an iconic partner to a great steak – but whiskeys and bourbons can complement a variety of beef dishes for those who favor the amber-toned spirit. The right beverage alongside classic and experimental dishes alike can take flavors from good to great, from great to unforgettable. Read on for our whiskey and beef pairing tips.
Selecting The Right Whiskey
The best beverage selection depends on the cut of beef, the level of marbling, and the method of preparation for the dish. The amount of fat in a given cut determines which whiskey, bourbon, or Scotch will pair with the dish best. When a cut holds more richness, selecting a lighter spirit can balance its indulgence. Leaner cuts, in return, are better paired with full-bodied selections. As fat and flavor intensify, high-rye or round and single-malts shine.
The preparation can also lend a hand in determining more complementary spirits. Grilled applications share similar notes to smoky Scotches – and richer, saucier dishes can pair well with lighter, cleaner bourbon varieties. Classic and simple steak preparations can stand up to full-bodied varieties with rye-forward notes.
It generally serves beef well to keep cocktails on the simpler side by minimizing sweetness, bubbles, and citrus in order to best balance – not overpower – the dish itself. Below, we’ve identified opportunities for our cuts to partner with popular craft cocktails made with whiskey, bourbon, and Scotch:
Rib, rib steak, ribeye, tomahawk, sirloin cap, sirloin flap, prime rib, porterhouse, t-bone, New York strip, strip filet, filet mignon
Top sirloin, beef back ribs, rib steak, tomahawk, ribeye, sirloin cap, top sirloin filet, sirloin flap, plate & chuck short ribs, prime rib, inside skirt steak, hanger steak, porterhouse, t-bone, New York strip, strip filet, filet mignon, flank steak
Top sirloin, rib, beef back ribs, top sirloin filet, hanger steak, flank steak
Scotch & Soda
Top sirloin filet, sirloin flap, plate & chuck short ribs, hanger steak, flank steak
Top sirloin, rib, beef back ribs
The complex nature of whiskey, bourbon, and Scotch lend well to flavor profiles of beef cuts. Neat, on-ice, and cocktail applications of these barrel-aged spirits can all pair well with the beef offerings on your menu. While sticking to simple variations works well, don’t be afraid of experimenting with your own mixology to develop unique dish pairings.