Person crossing their arms; whiskey; garlic

Steer clear of combining garlic with whiskey

Most people place emphasis on classic wine and food pairings or perhaps what accompaniments to serve alongside beer. However, there’s growing intrigue in selecting foods that go with spirits, too — why not tailor the combination of a stiff drink and a tasty bite?

Whiskey is an excellent candidate for the task, found in many styles that encompass flavors from sweet to smokey, spiced, and more. It can match the palate of many different dishes, with the ability to stand up to bold tastes — consider pairing bourbon with your favorite grilled meats. However, that’s not to say every intense flavor will match that of whiskey. A common one to avoid is garlic.

In large quantities — and especially when raw — the allium has a spice that completely clashes with the liquor. It’ll drown out the nuances in a glass, even more so if you’re sipping on a whisky that’s smooth and complex, like Scotch. You won’t want to pair garlicky foods alongside bolder expressions like rye or bourbon, or the pleasant notes will be lost, and the alcoholic burn will become more prevalent. So leave out the whiskey alongside a creamy, garlicky steak fettuccine; it’s not the right fit.

Garlic dominates over whiskey’s flavor palate

whiskey pictured alongside food

There’s a particular quality about garlic and whiskey that doesn’t sit right. While not always the easiest synergy, there are some wines that remain palatable alongside the ingredient, and some dishes even meld the two components together. However, several cloves and the brown booze just won’t mingle.

Inspect the kinds of dishes that do align in a roundup of bourbon and food pairings and an explanation surfaces. Whiskey goes best with rich, fatty foods, like meats or cheeses, as well as dishes with a sweet note. Popcorn and bourbon are the perfect party pairing due to either the salty, buttery notes or the sugar of candied popcorn. The common thread is to keep it mild with the garlic and instead find flavors that more seamlessly cooperate with your bottle. For example, the heat of a spicy pepper is also not a palatable pairing, nor are raw onions. After all, you’ll take the sip right after eating a bite, so you’ll want an easy transition into whiskey’s flavor without a pungent clash.

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