Atlanta and the state of Georgia are some of Virgil Kaine whiskey’s major markets! They are in a bunch of ‘hip’ restaurant/bars, but what food items does whiskey pair with?
Ryan Meany is a partner, at Virgil Kaine Lowcountry Whiskey Co. and has nearly ten years of combined experience in the culinary, hospitality and marketing industries. Meany earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Miami and an Associate of Culinary Arts degree from Miami’s Johnson & Wales University, where he graduated with summa cum laude distinction.
Meany honed his culinary expertise working under nationally recognized talents including chefs Ingrid Hoffman and Emeril Lagasse. After several years in South Florida, Meany returned to his home state of South Carolina to find his place among Charleston’s vibrant culinary scene. He collaborated with James Beard Award nominated chef Sean Brock on the opening of Charleston’s acclaimed Husk Restaurant, and went on to debut his own establishment, Burger Babies.
He now has channeled his love of whiskey and a passion for creativity in the kitchen, so the spirits of Virgil Kaine were born. Following the success of the debut, awarding-winning Ginger Infused Bourbon, Meany and Szlam launched two new Southern spirits – High-Rye Bourbon and Robber Baron Rye Whiskey – in 2015.
He is gracious enough to give some whiskey/food pairings for our readers.
Virgil Kaine Ginger Bourbon on the Rocks with Spicy North Carolina Smoked Barbeque Ribs
Good ribs are going to be smoked. Smoking will help retain a lot of fat and moisture from the smoking process, but will also develop a bitter finish because of the charring. For this pairing, I recommend going with wet ribs (over dry rubbed ribs), meaning we slather them in barbeque sauce over the twelve hours (or more) that they’re being cooked. We use a spicy North Carolina Vinegar based barbeque sauce- the ribs should be drowning in sauce, with a nice piece of cheap white bread underneath to catch all the wonderful juices (this is my personal favorite part!).
While indulging in BBQ meats, we like to recommend drinking the Virgil Kaine Ginger Bourbon with them because the sweetness of the ginger in the bourbon will play nicely with the spiciness from the barbeque. Also, the ribs’ smokiness will amplify the natural flavor profiles of the bourbon.
The cool thing about this pairing is that the alcohol on the palette is minimal, which is ideal when pairing with spicy foods. You don’t want to match a high-heat bourbon with spicy foods. You want a very balanced alcohol presence, in order not to amplify the spiciness of dish. This along with the sweetness of the ginger balances out the spiciness of the ribs.
Virgil Kaine Robber Barron Rye Whiskey with Honeycomb Fresh Seasonal Fruits and Mascarpone
Seasonal fruits are always beautiful, having a ton of flavor and natural sugar, which will replace the need for sugar in the cocktail and/or in the spirit itself. Our Virgil Kaine Robber Barron Rye Whiskey is a 91 Proof Rye whiskey that has a full body and balanced long finish.
Due to Virgil Kaine Robber Barron Rye Whiskey’s sherry finish from the sherry casks and steves, it develops a rich tannic finish, as sherry is commonly known as a dessert wine. Our whiskey is balanced and is not like your traditional rye whiskey. The sherry finishing leaves a very delicate balance between the spiciness’ of the rye mash and smooth sweet tannins of the sherry. This results an easier sipper ideal to step in and replace traditional “dessert spirits”.
Whenever possible, you should use local honey. The main reason is actually health. Honey has a lot of natural antibodies- honey is essentially liquefied pollen. The best way to build up your tolerance to your natural environmental allergens is to consume local honey because it’s made of local pollens. You’re dosing yourself with pollen: honey is almost like a local immunization shot. Eating jar processed honey from California living in Georgia is nothing but caloric intake and flavor. If you eat the honey from down the street, you get serious flavor and serious health benefits. Your quality of life should be better.
Virgil Kaine High-Rye Whiskey Smash with South Fried Chicken
This is a spin on a familiar summer picnic recipe- farmstand lemonade and crispy fried chicken. The smash is a classic cocktail that is making a big comeback and is one of my favorite summer cocktails. It’s simple: muddle half a lime and a spring mint, a jigger of simple syrup, Virgil Kaine High Rye-Whiskey, in a shaker, mix and strain over fresh ice. It’s basic as a cocktail can get and is super refreshing. Serve it with fried chicken with hot sauce dumped all over the chicken. This is just a cure-all summer drink paired with the best plate of food you could ever eat. If you happen to have some of the extra honey lying around, don’t hold back, heat it up on the stove and whisk in your favorite hot sauce. This will surely take it to the next level.
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