WHISKY & FOOD – Of Appetisers and Aperitifs


Here are links to the previous 2 editions of the series, in case you missed it;


Lets begin by talking a bit about the FCM. The French Classical Menu, a 17 course base menu that is the pinnacle of gastronomy as we know it. Our modern concept of designing menus as hospitality students revolves around it.

Most Michellin restaurants even use it as a sort of template while designing their own menus. And what might surprise you most is that your concept of a menu, or courses has been influenced by it.

It consists of the following courses:

  • Hors-d eouvre -appetisers usually cold cuts, marinated meats, pickled vegetables etc.
  • Potage – Soups
  • Ouefs – Eggs (no not fried eggs, but dishes involving eggs like eggs Benedict)
  • Farineaux – Pasta or Rice (Italian or not, it holds a place in every culinarians heart)
  • Poisson – Fish
  • Entree – Entry of the meat course, or what we might call main
  • Sorbet – Frozen flavoured water worked into the consistency of ice cream
  • Releve – Joints of meat, on the bone
  • Roti – Roast (don’t get fooled by the roti, there is no bread here, except maybe on the side)
  • Legumes – Vegetables
  • Salade – Salads (but over here in India i’m pretty sure the first one makes more sense :P)
  • Buffet Froid – Cold Buffet, including cold cuts, patés, terrines etc.
  • Entremet – Sweets and our understanding of what desserts should be
  • Savourex – Savoury canapes, pates, often on toast
  • Fromage – Cheese
  • Dessert – Cut Fruits and nuts
  • Boisson – Beverage – WHISKY BABY or Brandy with Cigars

Going back to Whisky, this was essential to explain as i have taken and divided some of the courses into the the coming editions of whisky and food. This particular edition focuses on Appetisers (Hors-d ouevre’s) and soups (Potage),  and how to stimulate the guests palate at the beginning of a meal.


Early on in the meal I would recommend that one serve a whisky that is floral and fragrant, or dry and malty (take a look at some whisky’s that fall in this category on the flavour chart here) . This will stimulate the palate, without taking over the food, and more importantly, without taking over the mouth. However if used right, a smoky, oily whisky can play the best role and not dominate the palate.

For Smoked Fish (Salmon, trout etc.), Smoked Cold Cuts (Ham, Bacon etc.) and tandoori snacks I recommend pairing something from Islay such as an expression from Bowmore or Laphraoig. Perhaps a young Islay whisky that is heavily peated as well, such as Talisker. Serve with little cold water and lots of ice.

A Speyside such as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich or Strathisla with its fragrant and floral notes or a spicy Highland whisky such as Abetfeldy or Old Pultney does the trick with marinated vegetables, spice filled snacks such as pakodas (believe it or not) with a dash of garam masala, vegetable tempura or even poultry that are lightly spiced .

Prawns and Lobster or crabs go very well with GlenElgin, so canapes with these fishy friends would do very well with whisky. Patés moreover go very well with floral whiskys, so go back to Speyside for the same.

And last but not least, oysters… with whisky, not vinegar, not lemon and Tabasco, Yes whisky on oysters are an insane thought, but the sweetness and brine of an oyster, or even a scallop for that matter are a beauty to behold, for this however i say mix and match, just as you would with different sauces on the same, who knows you may find an amazing combination,

Additionally use champagne glasses and white wine glasses to make it more festive.


Now you might find it very funny, soup with whisky. That’s a liquid with more liquid. Even wine and soup sounds edgy, let alone a distilled spirit. But you’d be surprised, it goes fairly well.

Bisques and Seafood soups would again go well with saline Islay whiskys as well as some Highlands Whiskys.

For Vegetable soups again, go for a Speyside (fancy some Glenfiddich with your Cream of Leek ?)


When used right, whisky can be the perfect aperitif (drink to stimulate the palate) and with the tips above, they can be used as the perfect accompanying agent to all Appetisers.

With that we say farewell to this edition, but look forward to the next week, as we will journey to the land of Cheese, something that although classically served at the end of a meal, has a welcome place for most people’s hearts at any point of the day.

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