What to Pair with Bourbon: A Guide to the Best Bourbon Pairings

what to pair with bourbon

Bourbon is a unique and complex spirit, with notes of caramel and vanilla, oak and spice. Pairing it with the right food and drink can enhance its flavors and elevate your spirits experience. From cocktails to cheese, chocolate to BBQ, there are countless possibilities for bourbon pairings to explore. In this section, we will dive into the art of bourbon pairing, offering ideas and inspiration for your next bourbon adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • Pairing bourbon with different foods and drinks can enhance its flavors.
  • Cheese, chocolate, BBQ, and desserts are just a few of the foods that pair well with bourbon.
  • By understanding the flavor profiles of different bourbons, you can find the perfect pairings for your tastes.
  • Experiment with different combinations to discover your favorite bourbon pairings.
  • Enjoy your bourbon responsibly and always drink in moderation.

Bourbon and Cheese Pairing

Bourbon and cheese pairing is a match made in heaven. The rich, complex flavors of bourbon are perfectly complemented by the creamy, salty, and savory flavors of cheese. It’s a delightful taste experience that you don’t want to miss.

The Art of Bourbon and Cheese Pairing

When it comes to pairing bourbon with cheese, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The key is to find the right balance between the flavors of the two, creating a harmonious blend that enhances the experience of both.

Here are some tips to help you master the art of bourbon and cheese pairing:

  • Pair bold, aged cheddar with a high-proof bourbon for a robust flavor combination.
  • Pair soft, creamy brie with a mellow, well-aged bourbon for a smooth and subtle taste.
  • Pair blue cheese with a sweeter bourbon to balance the sharpness of the cheese.
  • Pair gouda with a spicy rye bourbon for a complex and flavorful pairing.

Bourbon and Cheese Pairing Table

Cheese TypeBourbon Type
Aged CheddarHigh-Proof Bourbon
BrieWell-Aged Bourbon
Blue CheeseSweet Bourbon
GoudaSpicy Rye Bourbon

“Bourbon and cheese pairing is like a good marriage. Each partner brings out the best in the other, creating a harmonious and delightful union.”

So, next time you’re sipping bourbon, don’t forget to pair it with some delicious cheese. You won’t be disappointed!

Bourbon Cocktail Recipes

Are you tired of drinking your bourbon neat or on the rocks? Why not mix it up with some delicious bourbon cocktails? Here are some of the best bourbon cocktail recipes that you can try at home:

1. Old Fashioned

The classic Old Fashioned is a simple yet delicious bourbon cocktail that you can easily make at home. Here’s how:

2 oz bourbonPlace a sugar cube in a glass and add a few dashes of Angostura bitters.Muddle the sugar cube until it dissolves into the bitters.Add ice to the glass.Pour in the bourbon and stir.Garnish with an orange twist and a cherry.

2. Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a refreshing bourbon cocktail that is perfect for hot summer days. Here’s how to make it:

2 oz bourbonMuddle a few fresh mint leaves in the bottom of a glass.Add crushed ice to the glass.Pour in the bourbon and stir.Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

3. Bourbon Sour

The Bourbon Sour is a tangy and sweet bourbon cocktail that is sure to please. Here’s how to make it:

2 oz bourbonCombine the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice.Shake vigorously and strain into a glass filled with ice.Garnish with a lemon wheel and a cherry.

These are just a few of the many bourbon cocktail recipes that you can try at home. Experiment with different ingredients and find your new favorite bourbon cocktail. Cheers!

Bourbon and Chocolate Pairing

Indulging in a piece of chocolate while sipping on a glass of bourbon is a match made in heaven. The rich flavors of chocolate and the smoothness of bourbon create a perfect combination. When it comes to bourbon and chocolate pairing, it’s essential to find the right balance between the two flavors to create a harmonious blend of taste. The following are some tips on bourbon and chocolate pairing that you can try at home.

Dark Chocolate and Bourbon Pairing

Dark chocolate is the perfect partner for a good bourbon. Its bitter and intense flavor profiles match well with a smoky and rich Kentucky bourbon. The high percentage of cocoa in dark chocolate can balance the sweetness of bourbon while preserving its distinct flavors. Here are a few recommendations for bourbon and dark chocolate pairing.

Jim Beam Black70% Dark Chocolate
Makers Mark80% Dark Chocolate
Bulleit Bourbon65% Dark Chocolate

Milk Chocolate and Bourbon Pairing

Milk chocolate has a mild and creamy flavor that can pair well with a smooth and less intense bourbon. It’s important to choose a bourbon that matches the sweetness of milk chocolate without overpowering it. Here are some recommendations for bourbon and milk chocolate pairing.

Woodford ReserveMilk Chocolate with Hazelnut
Knob CreekMilk Chocolate with Caramel
Wild Turkey 81Milk Chocolate with Almond

White Chocolate and Bourbon Pairing

White chocolate has a delicate and sweet flavor that can complement the oaky and vanilla notes of bourbon. The creaminess of white chocolate can help to balance the alcohol’s intensity, making the pairing an enjoyable experience. Here are some recommendations for bourbon and white chocolate pairing.

Four Roses Single BarrelWhite Chocolate with Raspberry
Blanton’s OriginalWhite Chocolate with Lemon
Angel’s EnvyWhite Chocolate with Vanilla

“Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays.” – Unknown

In conclusion, when it comes to bourbon and chocolate pairing, it’s all about finding the right balance between the two flavors. Whether it’s dark, milk, or white chocolate, there are many bourbon options that can complement your sweet treat. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different pairings to find the perfect match for your taste buds. Cheers!

Bourbon and Cigar Pairing

For many bourbon enthusiasts, enjoying a fine cigar while savoring a glass of bourbon is the ultimate indulgence. The marriage of flavors between a premium cigar and a well-crafted bourbon creates a luxurious experience for the senses. Here are some tips to help you achieve the perfect bourbon and cigar pairing:

Consider the Strength of the Cigar

When selecting a cigar to pair with bourbon, consider the strength of the cigar. A full-bodied cigar requires a bourbon with a robust flavor profile, such as a barrel-proof bourbon. On the other hand, a mild cigar pairs well with a smoother, lighter bourbon.

Take Note of the Flavor Notes

As with any pairing, it’s essential to consider the flavor notes of both the cigar and bourbon. A cigar with earthy, nutty notes pairs well with a bourbon with similar flavors, such as those with notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel. For cigars with spicy notes, a bourbon with a little heat, like a high-rye bourbon, can complement the cigar’s flavors.

Cigar Flavor NotesBourbon Flavor Notes

Balance the Flavors

When pairing a cigar and bourbon, it’s important to balance the flavors of both, rather than having one overpower the other. A cigar with a lot of flavor can easily overpower a delicate bourbon. Therefore, it’s best to pair it with a bourbon that can hold its own against the cigar’s flavors.

“A fine cigar and a glass of bourbon–there is no better way to end a day.”Unknown Author

While there’s no hard and fast rule for bourbon and cigar pairing, experimenting with different combinations can lead to discovering new and exciting flavor profiles. Don’t be afraid to try different bourbons and cigars until you find the perfect pairing that suits your taste preferences.

Bourbon and BBQ Pairing

Experience the mouthwatering fusion of bourbon and BBQ. The smoky and savory flavors of BBQ dishes can complement the rich, bold character of bourbon, making it an excellent pairing choice. Selecting the right bourbon can elevate your BBQ feast to new heights. Here are some tips for pairing bourbon with your favorite BBQ dishes:

Bourbon and Beef Pairing

Beef is a staple ingredient in many BBQ dishes. A high-proof bourbon, such as Booker’s or Knob Creek Single Barrel, pairs well with beef. The intense flavors of the bourbon can balance the richness of the meat and cut through the fat to provide a satisfying taste experience.

Bourbon and Pork Pairing

Pork is another popular meat used in BBQ dishes. Choose a sweeter bourbon with a smooth finish, such as Maker’s Mark or Four Roses Small Batch, to complement the succulent flavors of pork. The caramel and vanilla notes in the bourbon can enhance the natural sweetness of the meat, creating a delectable pairing.

Bourbon and Chicken Pairing

Chicken can be a lighter option for BBQ dishes. An oaky bourbon, like Elijah Craig or Woodford Reserve, can complement the smoky and herbaceous flavors of chicken. The woody and spicy notes of the bourbon bring out the subtle flavors of the meat, creating a harmonious pairing.

Bourbon and Corn on the Cob Pairing

Corn on the cob is a classic side dish that pairs well with bourbon. A buttery and smooth bourbon, like Buffalo Trace or Basil Hayden’s, can complement the sweetness of the corn. The mellow and creamy flavors of the bourbon can balance the smoky and charred flavors of the corn, creating a delightful taste experience.

Bourbon and Baked Beans Pairing

Baked beans are a staple side dish in BBQ menus. A bold and spicy bourbon, such as Wild Turkey 101 or Bulleit Bourbon, can complement the sweetness and smokiness of baked beans. The robust flavors of the bourbon can cut through the heaviness of the dish and provide a refreshing contrast.

Remember, the key to successful bourbon and BBQ pairing is to experiment with different combinations and find the ones that suit your taste preferences. Cheers to a fruitful journey of bourbon pairing with your favorite BBQ dishes!

Bourbon and Dessert Pairing

Are you a fan of bourbon and sweets? Combine the two for an unforgettable taste experience. Whether you prefer creamy custards or rich chocolate desserts, there’s a bourbon that can enhance the flavors of your favorite indulgences.

Custards and Puddings

For a classic vanilla custard or bread pudding, reach for a smooth and sweet bourbon like Maker’s Mark. The caramel and vanilla notes complement the creamy texture and soft flavors of the desserts, creating a perfect balance.

Tip: Add a splash of bourbon to the custard mixture or drizzle it on top for an extra boozy kick.

Chocolate Desserts

BourbonChocolate Dessert
Blanton’sDark Chocolate Brownies
Basil Hayden’sChocolate Mousse
Woodford ReserveChocolate Cake

For chocolate desserts, look for bourbons with a higher proof and rich, complex flavors. Blanton’s pairs perfectly with dark chocolate brownies, while Basil Hayden’s complements the silky texture of chocolate mousse. Woodford Reserve’s oaky and caramel notes bring out the sweetness in a rich chocolate cake.

Fruit-Based Desserts

For fruit-based desserts like apple pie or peach cobbler, opt for a bourbon with a spicy finish like Knob Creek. The warm spices complement the fruity sweetness, making for a comforting and delicious pairing.

Next time you’re indulging in a sweet treat, grab a glass of bourbon and elevate your dessert experience.

Bourbon and Food Pairing

When it comes to pairing bourbon with food, the possibilities are endless. Bourbon’s flavor profile is diverse, ranging from sweet and fruity to smoky and spicy, making it an excellent complement to a wide range of dishes.

Flavor Profiles

Before diving into specific pairings, it’s essential to understand the flavor profiles of different bourbons.

Bourbon TypeFlavor ProfilePairing Recommendations
Bourbon with high rye contentSpicy and boldGrilled meats, barbecue, spicy dishes
Bourbon with high corn contentSweet and mellowCreamy pastas, roasted vegetables, pecan pie
Bourbon with wheat instead of ryeSoft and smoothSeafood, fruity desserts, light salads

Now that you have an idea of how different types of bourbons taste, let’s explore some of the best bourbon and food pairings.

Pairing Suggestions

  • Grilled Steak with a high-rye bourbon: The spicy notes in the bourbon complement the charred flavors of the steak while cutting through the richness of the meat.
  • Bourbon-Glazed Pork Chops with a high-corn bourbon: The sweetness of the bourbon glaze pairs perfectly with the caramelized crust of the pork chop.
  • Bourbon-Glazed Carrots with a wheat-based bourbon: The smooth and fruity notes in the bourbon complement the sweetness of the glazed carrots without overpowering them.
  • Bourbon and Dark Chocolate Tart with a high-corn bourbon: The richness of the chocolate is balanced by the mellow sweetness of the bourbon, creating a harmonious pairing.

Experiment with these pairing ideas and create your own combinations to find the perfect match for your taste buds. Remember to savor each sip and bite, enjoying the intricate flavors that bourbon and food pairing has to offer.

Bourbon and Wine Pairing

While wine is often the go-to drink for pairing with food, bourbon can also make an excellent pairing partner. But with such different flavor profiles, how can you find the perfect match? Here are some tips for pairing bourbon with wine:

Consider the Flavors

When pairing bourbon with wine, it’s important to consider the flavors of each. Bourbon has a sweet, oaky flavor with hints of vanilla and caramel, while wine can range from dry and fruity to sweet and robust. Look for wines that complement the flavors of the bourbon, rather than overpowering them.

Experiment with Bold Reds

Bold, full-bodied red wines can make a great pairing with bourbon. The tannins in the wine help to balance the sweetness of the bourbon, while the rich flavors of both create a harmonious blend. Look for red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or Syrah.

Try Pairing with Port

For a truly decadent pairing experience, try matching bourbon with port wine. Port has a sweet, fruity flavor that complements the complexity of bourbon, creating a luxurious taste sensation. Look for port wines such as Vintage Port or Late Bottled Vintage.

Don’t Forget About White Wines

While red wines are often the go-to for pairing with bourbon, don’t overlook white wines. Dry white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of bourbon, while fruity white wines such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc can complement the sweetness.

Overall, pairing bourbon with wine is all about experimenting and finding the right flavor combination that suits your palate. Whether it’s a bold red, a sweet port, or a crisp white wine, the possibilities are endless.

Bourbon and Coffee Pairing

Start your day with a twist by combining the rich, complex flavors of bourbon with the bold flavors of coffee. The combination of these two strong flavors can create a unique taste experience, perfect for those who love to experiment.

Bourbon and Coffee Cocktail Recipes

If you’re a fan of coffee and bourbon, there’s nothing better than combining the two to create a delicious cocktail. Try one of these recipes to experience the perfect union of two classic flavors:

Bourbon and Coffee Old Fashioned– 2 oz bourbon
– 1 tsp simple syrup
– 2 dashes orange bitters
– 1 oz cold brew coffee
– Orange peel for garnish
1. Stir together the bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters in a mixing glass.
2. Add ice and stir for 20 seconds.
3. Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube.
4. Pour cold brew coffee on top of the ice cube.
5. Garnish with an orange peel and serve.
Bourbon and Coffee Flip– 2 oz bourbon
– 1 oz cold brew coffee
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp honey
– Nutmeg for garnish
1. Combine the bourbon, cold brew coffee, egg, and honey in a shaker.
2. Dry shake (without ice) for 20 seconds.
3. Add ice and shake for additional 20 seconds.
4. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different amounts of bourbon and coffee to create your own unique cocktail!

Bourbon and Coffee Pairing Tips

When it comes to pairing bourbon and coffee, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose a high-quality bourbon and coffee for the best flavor combination.
  • For a more subtle coffee flavor, choose a lighter roast coffee.
  • If you prefer a stronger coffee flavor, choose a darker roast coffee.
  • Avoid using flavored coffee, as it may overpower the flavor of the bourbon.
  • Experiment with different brewing methods to find the perfect pairing for you.

“The combination of bourbon and coffee creates a unique taste experience that’s perfect for those who love to experiment.”

Whether you’re starting your day with a coffee-infused bourbon cocktail or sipping on a neat pour alongside your favorite roast, the pairing of bourbon and coffee is a match made in heaven. Give it a try and let your taste buds be the judge!

Bourbon and Spicy Food Pairing

Spicy food and bourbon pairing is a match made in heaven. The heat of the spicy food is balanced by the sweetness and smokiness of the bourbon, creating a perfect balance of flavors.

Bourbon Pairings

Not all bourbons are created equally when it comes to pairing with spicy food. Here are some of the best bourbon choices for a spicy food pairing:

Bourbon TypeFlavor NotesSpicy Food Pairings
Basil Hayden’sSpicy with notes of pepper and cinnamonSpicy chicken wings, buffalo shrimp
Blanton’sMaple and vanilla with a hint of cinnamonSpicy pulled pork, BBQ ribs
Booker’sStrong notes of caramel and vanillaSpicy beef brisket, chili con carne

Experiment with different bourbons to find the one that complements your favorite spicy dish the best.

Spicy Food Pairings

When it comes to pairing spicy food with bourbon, it’s important to find the right balance. Here are some spicy food pairings that work well with bourbon:

  • Spicy chicken wings
  • Buffalo shrimp
  • Spicy pulled pork
  • BBQ ribs
  • Spicy beef brisket
  • Chili con carne

When pairing spicy food with bourbon, it’s best to start with milder spice levels and gradually work your way up to spicier dishes. This will help you find the perfect balance between flavor and heat.

TIP: If you’re new to bourbon and spicy food pairing, start with a classic bourbon and coke. This will help ease you into the combination of sweet and spicy flavors.

Overall, when it comes to pairing bourbon with spicy food, remember to experiment and have fun. With so many great bourbons and spicy dishes out there, the possibilities are endless.


Now, armed with the knowledge of the art of bourbon pairing, you can elevate your spirits experience to a whole new level. Experiment with different combinations of food and drink to find the perfect match for your preferred bourbon.

Perfect Pairings

Remember, bourbon and cheese make an excellent pairing. Choose a cheese that complements the flavors of your bourbon for a delightful taste experience. Explore our collection of bourbon cocktail recipes, and you might just find a new favorite. Indulge in the decadent combination of bourbon and chocolate, or wake up your taste buds with the enticing combination of bourbon and coffee.

Complementary Pairings

Additionally, discover how different bourbons can enhance the flavors of smoky and savory BBQ dishes, or pair well with spicy foods. Explore the world of bourbon and food pairing, matching dishes that complement the unique characteristics of your preferred bourbon. And if you’re feeling adventurous, venture into the realm of bourbon and wine pairing for a delightful contrast of tastes.

With this guide, you can experiment with these different pairings and discover new flavors to suit your taste preferences. So, raise a glass to a fruitful and enjoyable journey of bourbon pairing!


What are some bourbon pairing ideas?

Some popular bourbon pairing ideas include cheese, chocolate, cigars, BBQ, desserts, food, wine, coffee, and spicy dishes.

What types of cheese go well with bourbon?

Rich and creamy cheeses like Brie, Gouda, and Camembert complement the flavors of bourbon well. Additionally, sharp cheddar and blue cheeses can create interesting flavor contrasts.

Can you recommend any bourbon cocktail recipes?

Sure! Some classic bourbon cocktail recipes include the Old Fashioned, Mint Julep, and Whiskey Sour. Experiment with different ingredients and flavors to find your personal favorite.

How can I pair bourbon with chocolate?

When pairing bourbon with chocolate, consider matching the intensity of the bourbon with the richness of the chocolate. Dark chocolate with higher cocoa percentages pairs well with bolder bourbons, while milk chocolate can complement milder bourbons.

Which bourbons go well with cigars?

Full-bodied, smoky bourbons like a Kentucky Straight Bourbon or a peated whiskey can complement the flavors and aromas of cigars. Experiment with different combinations to find your preferred pairing.

What bourbons pair well with BBQ?

Bourbons with a smoky or charred flavor profile, such as a Tennessee whiskey or a bourbon with a higher proof, can enhance the smokiness of BBQ dishes. Consider trying bourbons with hints of caramel or vanilla to balance the richness of the flavors.

What desserts go well with bourbon?

Rich and decadent desserts like chocolate cake, crème brûlée, and pecan pie can be wonderfully complemented by the flavors of bourbon. Consider choosing desserts with elements of caramel, vanilla, or chocolate to enhance the pairing.

How do I pair bourbon with food?

When pairing bourbon with food, consider the flavor profiles of both the bourbon and the dish. For example, a spicy bourbon can be paired with spicy foods, while a sweeter bourbon can complement dishes with a touch of sweetness.

Can bourbon be paired with wine?

Yes, certain types of bourbon can be paired with wine. For example, a bold, oaky bourbon can complement a full-bodied red wine, creating a delightful contrast of flavors. Experiment with different combinations to find your preferred pairing.

How can I pair bourbon with coffee?

You can create delicious coffee-based bourbon cocktails by combining bourbon with brewed coffee, flavored syrups, and cream. The combination of the rich, smooth flavors of coffee and the depth of bourbon can be truly delightful.

What bourbons pair well with spicy food?

Bourbons with a higher proof and bold flavors, such as a rye bourbon or a high-rye mash bill bourbon, can complement the heat of spicy foods. The spiciness of the bourbon can balance and enhance the flavors of the dish.

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