In these days of Covid 19, it is playing Russian Roulette with your health to go out in public, especially in a crowd. It is a form of attempted suicide for someone of my age and health, so I am not going out a lot, but that does not mean that Rosemary and I can’t have a Bourbon date night at home. I planned this date by first contacting Kelly Ramsey at Art Eatables to purchase a sample of chocolates. I then fixed one of Rosemary’s favorite dinners, spaghetti with garlic bread. After a nice candlelit dinner, we did a whiskey and chocolate pairing. Since Rosemary loves Michter’s products, I chose to pair the chocolates with their Bourbon, Rye, Sour Mash and American whiskeys. The chocolates Kelly sent me were 1) 71% dark chocolate from Latin America, 2) 70% dark chocolate from Switzerland, 3) 60% dark chocolate from Belgium, 4) 40% milk chocolate from Ecuador, 5) 35% milk chocolate from The United States, and 6) 33% white chocolate from Belgium.
We laid out the six chocolates and the four whiskeys on a tasting mat. The mat was home-made, so you don’t have to get fancy. A hand written mat will do if you don’t want to produce one on the computer. The whiskey was poured into Glencairn whiskey glasses – make sure there is enough in the glass to sample with all six chocolates. We then started by tasting the whiskey by itself to set the taste in our mind and then proceeded to taste the chocolate followed by a sip of the whiskey. We started with the 33% white chocolate and went up in percentage of chocolate with each taste, ending with 71% dark chocolate. We repeated the process with each whiskey. In the end, we picked our favorite chocolate with the whiskey. Then, we decided which of the chocolates in our opinion, would make the best truffles with each whiskey. It gave us both a greater respect for Kelly’s talent at making these pairing choices for her truffles. It is not easy and our choices may not be the same as Kelly would choose, but it was a fun game.
Here are the results of our tasting:
Michter’s US 1 Bourbon: 91.4 proof. Caramel, stone fruits and oak. We both favored the 35% American milk chocolate over all. We thought it enhanced the caramel and the fruit flavors. For the truffles, we both agreed that the 35% American milk chocolate should be the center of the truffle with the Bourbon and the 70% Swiss chocolate should be the cover. The Swiss chocolate added a nutty note to mix that we both liked a lot.
Michter’s US 1 Rye: 84.8 proof: Spicy with black pepper, citrus, caramel and oak. Again, we both agreed on our pairings. We liked the 60% Belgian dark chocolate over all. We thought it enhanced the citrus and caramel while toning back the pepper. For the truffle, we would go with the 60% Belgian dark chocolate for the inside and the 71% Latin American Dark chocolate for the cover. The 71% dark chocolate made the spice less peppery and more of a baking spice flavor of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Michter’s US 1 Sour Mash: 86 proof. Lots of caramel toffee, candied berries, cherries and a hint of oak. Here, Rosemary and I disagreed slightly on the truffle. We both liked the 33% Belgian white chocolate over all with this whiskey. I found the 71% dark chocolate as a close second. The Belgian white chocolate gave the whiskey a very creamy mouthfeel and enhanced both the fruit and caramel notes. The 71% Latin American dark chocolate added some complexity with a little more oak wood and enhanced fruit notes – adding some citrus notes. I thought the truffle should be the 71% dark chocolate with the whiskey for the center with the 33% white chocolate for the covering. Rosemary said I was crazy and that white chocolate would melt and not set up right for a covering on the truffle and reversed my choices.
Michter’s US 1 American Whiskey: 83.4 proof: Lots of butterscotch and stone fruit notes with a hint of oak. Rosemary and I agreed on our choices. We found the American 35% milk chocolate the best pairing with the whiskey. The chocolate really enhanced the butterscotch and the fruit while giving it a creamy mouth-feel and some sweet spice notes. For the truffle, we found this combination so superior to the other chocolates, that we would use it for both the center and the covering. You don’t have to go out to have a fun Bourbon Date Night. With a little planning, it takes a few days to order the chocolate, you too can have a great date night at home.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller