Traditionally, sake is the preferred pairing for sushi, but with people constantly looking for new and interesting ways to spice up their meals, the sushi-whisky combo is quickly crossing culinary borders.
Some would say that seafood is way too subtle to pair up to a full-bodied Scotch. Just remember, sushi is not just raw fish, it’s a high variety of combinations, which include soy sauce, pickled ginger, vinegar rice and spicy wasabi, then you get a very rich and strong taste that pairs very well with whisky.
When it comes to choosing a whisky to pair with your sushi, the best choice, by far, would be Japanese whisky, of course. Nikka Pure Malt Black is a great option, but you can also go for other brands, like Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Hibiki. They are all well balanced and fine whiskies that harmonise very well with sushi while still having a strong base of flavour. Also, Japanese whisky has just the right complexity to be able to combine and bring out the more subtle notes and flavours on the palate, which is why it is very well suited for food pairings.
If you can’t get your hands on a decent bottle from Japan, then there are other options. A more readily available option is Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label – its complex and layered sweetness recalls hazelnuts, honey, and dark chocolate, contrasted by a hint of pepper. A perfect salt-sugar balance when enjoyed with fresh tuna.
When you think about it, the natural salt in salmon or eel, or miso’s touch of brine almost consciously reflects its distilled partner.