Daring Pairing: Whiskey and Ice Cream

Words: Shamim de Brún
Pictures: Instagram & Unsplash
Artwork: Paul Smith

Food pairing can be mental. And mental is always tremendous fun. So every week, we will bring you a new off the wall match to try. This week it’s whiskey and ice cream.

Sounds bananas but hear me out.

Naturally, Ireland makes the best dairy in the world. We also make the best whiskey in the world. So if you’re following the adage of what grows together goes together, Whiskey and Ice cream ticks all the boxes.

Ice cream is a fatty and creamy food with a simple salty-sweet flavour. Great vanilla ice cream is smooth and silky—not icy or gritty- and has a rich, enduring vanilla taste.


On the other hand, whiskey is strong juice that can contain various flavours and aromas. It’s a versatile spirit that mixes well with everything from Coca Cola to Pickle Juice.

Milk and whiskey are surprisingly delicious combinations because of how the two ingredients contrast one another and echo each other’s dominant flavour compounds. In addition, there is a long history of mixing whiskey and milk that stretches back to at least 1711, when the recipe for Milk Punch was first published.

The alcohol content in whiskey cuts through the fat in ice cream very effectively, so you can still taste the main components of the whiskey. Meanwhile, the ice cream can add a certain creaminess to your drink, which whiskey thrives on. The ice cream also dilutes the whiskey’s alcohol content, making it easier to detect flavours.

Both whiskey and ice cream contain vanillin. Vanillin is the dominant organic compound in vanilla beans. We also find it in the wooden barrels in which we age our whiskey. Therefore, the vanillin in the ice cream will bring out the vanillin in the whiskey to make it a congruent pairing.


Bonus points if you add Malteasers and use a single malt whiskey. The malt in the Malteasers will bring out the sweet biscuity notes in a single malt whiskey. Match up vanilla ice cream, single malt whiskey and Malteasers. You’ll get a pairing that’s creamy, crunchy, mildly savoury, is also complemented by harmonious flavours and abundant richness on both sides. The only danger in this pairing is how much you’ll like it.

Try it:
Out: The Bankers bar has a great selection of Single Malt Whiskey and Ice cream for only €3.50. Be sure to grab some Maltears from the shop next door and you’re sorted.
At Home: Grab some Malteasers, a tub of Haagen Dazs Vanilla and a bottle of Single Malt (Shout out to the West Cork Sherry Finish) from the leading supermarket of your choice and you are golden.

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