An Expert Explains Why Bourbon Is The Best To Pair With Smoky Food in USA

Whether or not that is actually the case is anyone's guess — the history of the first-ever bourbon is a bit murky — but bourbon and smoke is a flavor combination that certainly has many fans today. 

Tasting Table asked Mandy Naglich, Certified Taster and author of "How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering Flavor and Savoring Life," to give us the details.  

According to Naglich, bourbon's bold flavors are the reason it can stand up to the assertive nature of smoke-infused foods. "Smoke is an intense flavor," she explained. 

The juxtaposition of the common tasting notes found in bourbon brings a natural contrast to those found in smoke, creating a more even-keeled experience.  

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When offering an example, the beverage journalist and operator of the popular drinks Instagram account @drinkswithmandy said, "The crusty char on brisket is balanced by the smooth vanilla.

that naturally occur during wood aging." As such, the food and drink provide a push-and-pull where the characteristics of one enhance that of the other. 

While barbecue is certainly a go-to food to try pairing with bourbon, there are many other ways to apply this knowledge for a perfectly complex and elevated meal.  

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