The Hippo


Jul 23, 2019








 Upcoming pairings

Jack Daniel’s drink specials at Hanover Street Chophouse, 149 Hanover St., Manchester, will be available at the bar on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Dinner (Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m.) is currently sold out, but names are being accepted for the waitlist. The next spirits dinner at Hanover Street Chophouse will be after the holidays in the new year. Call 644-2467 or visit
The Distiller’s Showcase on Thursday, Nov. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel Downtown Manchester, 700 Elm St., Manchester, will feature more than 400 brands, distillery reps and local restaurant pairings with bourbon, whiskey, vodka and other premium spirits. Advance tickets cost $50. The spirits tasting and pairing event benefits the Animal Rescue League of NH. Visit

Pairings to warm you up
Local chefs pair with bourbon and whiskey


 Chefs and spirit aficionados agree, whiskey and bourbon are just the pairing for colder weather.

“Bourbon lends itself to that warmth, that cool weather because bourbon has a certain warming characteristic to it,” Bobby Gleason, master mixologist for Beam Suntory Co. and Jim Beam spirits said during a phone interview. “Most people reach for brown spirits during the winter. It’s a perfect opportunity to bring bourbon together with foods.”
Whether it’s pairing whiskey and chocolate or barbecue and bourbon, Gleason said, you can’t really go wrong.
“There’s no rules,” he said. “Drink what you like, and know what you’re drinking.”
Hanover Street Chophouse in Manchester doesn’t host many wine dinners anymore, says owner Steven Clutter, instead pairing special dinner plates with whiskey or bourbon. 
“A lot of the nuances in whiskey come out of the foods,” Clutter said.
The first dinner was with Jack Daniel’s in 2012, and since, other dinners have featured bourbons like Angel’s Envy, Woodford Reserve and guests like Bill Samuels from Maker’s Mark. Ahead of the NH Liquor Commission’s Distiller’s Showcase on Thursday, Nov. 20, Hanover Street Chophouse welcomes back Jack Daniel’s for another whiskey dinner. This time, Assistant Master Distiller Chris Fletcher will speak during the dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
“With Chris here, for sure people are going to get a history lesson and a distillery lesson,” Clutter said. “It’s almost like a social studies field trip with adult beverages.”
The Jack Daniel’s dinner will include three courses paired with whiskey and three courses paired with wine.
“It’s a light focus on whiskey; it’s sort of an enhancement,” Clutter said.
Although seating for the Nov. 18 dinner is on a waitlist, Jack Daniel’s specials will also be running at the bar that evening. Then at the Distiller’s Showcase on Nov. 20, Hanover Street Chophouse will be serving food samples to pair with Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve.
Gleason recommends pairing high-acidity spirits before dinner, low-acidity spirits during dinner, and very little to no acidity after dinner. A high-acidity cocktail, like a whiskey sour, will stimulate the palate. Flavors that also pair well include peaches, cherries, mint and smoky flavors. Gleason will either make an addition to a smoky scotch or infuse smoke into the spirit, for example.
“I’ll have the chefs prepare their meals first, and I’ll match the cocktails to their courses and try to highlight some of the things they like to do,” he said. “When you look at Thanksgiving, all those flavors of things like cranberries, pumpkin and sweet potato — bourbon is great for that.”
“It’s like winter cooking that go with whiskeys. To me, braised lamb ragu and whiskey sounds comforting,” Clutter said. “It’s more slow-cooked and slow-roasted foods.”
Gleason recommends creating cocktails with flavored bourbons, too. He suggests Red Stag Black Cherry with a mulled wine, or a cinnamon-flavored bourbon, like Jim Beam Kentucky Fire, mixed with local apple cider and a few squeezes of lemon.
“Let’s say you’re tailgating on a cold day in December. That’s what I call fire and cider,” he said. “You’re ready and warmed up to go cheer on your whole team.”
Cooking with flavored spirits will also add to the flavors of a dish. The alcohol will burn off in cooking with a high-proof flavored spirit, which leaves the flavor behind. Safety is key when cooking with spirits since a higher-proof spirit can ignite in certain temperatures.
“A lot of great chefs enjoy using our bourbons, and the feedback I get from them is our flavored bourbons stand up,” Gleason said. 
Peter Agostinelli, executive chef at the Bedford Village Inn, agrees that when it comes to cooking with spirits, the more flavorful and higher-proof spirits work best, with “a fiery finish,” he said. He enjoys using spirits like bourbon, whiskey and even rye both in his own kitchen and at the Bedford Village Inn.
“Generally you want a bigger bourbon, or a bigger whiskey,” Agostinelli said. “When you get one of the higher-proof ones, you get the flavor and then in the back of  your palate you get a burn … a kind of warmth.”
He recommends Knob Creek (“The flavors stand up really well, you can do that with pork,” he said) and Jack Daniel’s for a milder, sweeter whiskey (“It’s got a real nice sweetness to it, it’s really smooth,” he said).
Using spirits in cooking for colder-weather recipes like braises and stews works well this time of year, Agostinelli said, as well as pairing with aromatics like star anise, black pepper and cardamom. 
“I’m a big hunter and I use bourbon when I make jerky out of duck breasts,” Agostinelli said. “I usually use Jack Daniel’s, brown sugar, maple syrup and soy sauce, and cure it for a day.”
When cooking with spirits, Gleason also recommends setting aside some of the bourbon or whiskey for your own enjoyment.
“Save some for you and some for the recipe,” he said. 
As seen in the November 6, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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