Bourbon Bites

Chefs’ picks for perfect food pairings.

What dish should you choose to accompany your perfect pour? Here are four Virginia chefs’ picks for favorite bourbon-food pairings.

Eagle Rare bourbon with grilled barbecue octopus.

Photo courtesy of Brabo Brasserie

Sebastian Rondier

Brabo Brasserie, Alexandria

The Booze: Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Eagle Rare Bourbon

The Food: Grilled barbecue octopus with charred savoy cabbage and pickled red onions

“Eagle Rare has delicious hints of orange peel, vanilla bean, leather and oak,” says Rondier. “The bold taste with a dry finish—it is not as sweet as most bourbons—pairs very well with our summer octopus.”

Severin Nunn

The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs

The Booze: Basil Hayden’s

The Food: Open fire-grilled scallops

Basil Hayden’s is light-bodied with a clean, dry finish, and “due to its high rye content and mellow profile,” says Nunn, would pair well with grilled scallops “seasoned lightly with coriander.”

Other suggestions: 1792 bourbon with venison loin, charred pearl onions and thyme or Jefferson’s Ocean with sea salt caramel ice cream.

Tom Sosnowski

Rockfish Food & Wine, Roanoke

The Booze: Copper Fox Rye Whiskey

The Food: Grilled pork belly with a pickled cherry glaze

“There is definitely something magical about a perfectly crisp, rich, fatty piece of pork belly with a nice tart glaze and a great sipping rye that will always make me long for a summer’s night on the porch,” says Sosnowski.

For something on the sweeter side:  Brown butter pound cake with Four Roses and Granny Smith apple sorbet and toasted pecans.

David Everett

Blue Talon Bistro, Williamsburg

The Booze: George T. Stagg

The Food: Dry aged or braised beef

Everett’s perfect bourbon pairing is “a splash of water or a chip of ice, relaxed atmosphere and great company.” But for food, he chooses red meat. “My pairing would have to be robust and flavorful. I want it to attempt to stand up to the whiskey.”


For more on bourbon, check out our article Booze Cues” in the October 2018 issue, on newsstands now. Plus, look out for more spirits stories in our inaugural Drink issue, making a splash on newsstands in November.

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