Whiskey has become one of the favorite drinks in Japan.

You still don’t know Japanese whiskey? You might be surprised to learn that they are among the best in the world.


When pairing Japanese whiskey with food, serve the whiskey neat or slightly chilled. Sip the whiskey before or just after you take a bite and don’t cleanse your palate in between drinks.


Whiskey and Japanese food 


Fruity, medium-bodied Japanese whiskeys like Oban 14 year and Yamakazi 12 year clarify the trampled wisps of mild herbs such as chervil, tarragon, and thyme in by “cutting through” the flavor mélange with bright flavors and a touch of acidity.


-The Oban 14 and Yamakazi 12 also pair fantastically with rillettes and savory mousses.


Smoked Foods


Smoked and cured foods make for delicate pairings, but not because of whiskey’s inherent boldness because of the cooking. Most whiskeys work with smoked food, but you’ll enjoy a more rounded overall experience with peated whiskeys, such as Hakushu 12 year and Hakushu Heavily Peated.


Suntory’s Hakushu 12 is packed with herbaceous, grassy notes and a classic Islay-style smokiness that comes from roasting barley over a peat fire. Making it a smooth companion to lightly smoked items, such as smoked salmon, oysters, and scallops.




The nuances of Japanese whiskey put umami on a gustatory pedestal. It brings out more beefy flavor in the meat than you taste on its own. Whiskeys such as Nikka Whiskey From the Barrel, Hibiki Japanese Harmony, and Hibiki 21 year.


-Nikka From the Barrel can combine it with dark-meat chicken, pork, or duck.


-Hibiki Japanese Harmony, from Suntory, consists of whiskey drawn from five different casks. Those include American oak, sherry, and Mizunara, which imbue it with a tease of vanilla, orange, and honey.


-Hibiki 21 year, a Japanese whiskey that can pair it with cuts of meat, such real Kobe beef graded of A-4 or A-5. Try Hibiki 21 year with bone marrow for a mind-blowing experience.


Spicy Foods


Alcohol tempers the spiciness of spicy foods by dissolving capsaicin, which allows you to focus on the finer points of dishes like vindaloo curry and Sichuan hot pot.


-Japanese Harmony and Japanese Harmony Master’s Select both match up well to spicy foods while highlighting aromas and subdued flavors. Master’s Select has a lot of sherry and vanilla in the nose, and a sensational brown sugar finishes you have to try with most curries.


-White Oak Akashi Blended has a touch of nutmeg and cocoa on the palate. Complement Akashi with spicy Asian fares, such as tom yum (hot-sour Thai soup) and kua kling phat tlha lung (a curry-like beef dish from Thailand)


-Yamakazura Blended pair Yamakazura Blended with chicken curry, paella, and spicy charcuterie, like Spanish chorizo.


Sweet Preparations


Miyagikyo Single Malt from Nikka has burst with ginger, cinnamon, allspice and chocolate, and a long finish of tobacco, cardamom, stewed fruits, and toasted nuts. Pair Miyagikyo Single Malt with dark chocolate, bananas Foster and spiced cakes, and baked goods. One of the moderately priced Japanese whiskeys, Kikori, matches well with pecan pie, berry savarin, and crème brûlée.


Whiskey is now one of the drinks that Japanese people enjoy most.


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