How To Pair Chocolate With Whiskey Like A Pro

If you've never thought to pair whiskey with chocolate, you're missing out on a host of fabulous flavor combinations. The rich complexities of various whiskeys can complement chocolate — whether luxuriously creamy milk chocolate or bold bittersweet — extremely well. Fortunately, Anna Axster and Wendelin von Schroder, co-founders of Lodestar Whiskey, have shared some top tips with Food Republic to get you pairing like a pro.

For fans of milk chocolate, experts Axster and von Schroder suggest opting for either a single malt whiskey or a blended whiskey containing single malt. "The malted barley in single malt adds really pleasant smokey, nutty, and even chocolatey notes to whiskey," they explain. "Those flavors balance really nicely with the sweeter notes of milk chocolate."

If you prefer bittersweet or dark chocolate, bourbon could be the perfect partner. For 60-70% bittersweet chocolate, Axster and von Schroder recommend a caramel- or vanilla-forward bourbon, or perhaps a high rye bourbon. "The more bitter flavors of a bittersweet chocolate balance the sweetness of bourbon," they note. "If you pair bittersweet chocolate with a high rye bourbon, the chocolate will bring out the notes of baking spice in the whiskey."

Try pairing whiskey and chocolate in cocktails and hot drinks

It's not just bars of chocolate that pair well with whiskey; these flavors can also be excitingly incorporated into both hot and cold drinks. Chocoholics will be thrilled to learn that incorporating rich cocoa notes into classic whiskey cocktails is quite easy. Experts Anna Axster and Wendelin von Schroder recommend using chocolate bitters to create a balance of beautiful flavors.

"There are some great chocolate bitters available that work really nicely in an Old Fashioned or even a Manhattan cocktail," Axster and von Schroder suggest. Adding a few drops of chocolate bitters can introduce a sweet spiciness to your favorite whiskey cocktails, enhancing the cocoa flavors in bourbons and ryes. Alternatively, you could try infusing rye whiskey with cacao nibs for several hours to create a subtly flavored spirit for drinking on its own or in cocktails and mixed drinks.

Whiskey can also be added to hot chocolate to give the comforting beverage a grown-up twist. "We make a really delicious spiked hot chocolate using lightly spiced Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon, vanilla, and chili and then adding Lodestar whiskey and topping with fresh whipped cream," Axster and von Schroder say. Hot chocolate doesn't get more luxurious than that.