The classic match-up for cookies may be a cool glass of milk—but who wants milk when you can have whisky? Just as there’s a different style of whisky to suit every person’s taste, various cookies also have a perfect flavor match.
“Whisky and cookies are an ideal pairing,” says Morgan Kirchner, whiskey advisor for Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C. “Cookies, like whisky, are a marriage of simple ingredients that come together to make an incredibly delicious snack. Aside from the fact that they share multiple aromatic and flavor profiles, cookies are comforting and homey, as is a lot of whisky. Few things sound as appealing as a fresh-baked cookie and a delicious dram.”
Or perhaps you’d prefer a whisky cocktail with your cookies. Gamlin Whiskey House in St. Louis, Missouri recent partnered with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri for a fundraiser event. The bar developed a special whiskey cocktail—Buffalo Trace Single Barrel bourbon, simple syrup, and lemon juice, topped with LaMarca Prosecco—to pair with the Savannah Lemon cookie. (The cocktail was for the adults, of course.)
You can also mix your spirit right into your cookie. “Our menu changes often, and in the past, we have created a variety of different whiskey-based cookies and desserts,” says Dustin Parres, corporate bar manager of the Gamlin Restaurant Group. How about a bacon rye cookie with Knob Creek mixed into the dough, or scotch thins baked with chocolate chips and Laphroaig 10 year old?
If that’s too ambitious, simply enjoy these recommended whisky and cookie pairings. Dunking is optional.
Oreos and single malt scotch
Top pick: BenRiach 21 year old
“Oreos present an interesting dilemma—crispy, chocolatey, slightly salty exterior with a cloyingly sweet creamy middle,” Kirchner says. “A good middle ground would be a single malt with an interesting cask maturation or finish.” An awesome dram matured in four types of casks—bourbon, virgin oak, Pedro Ximénez sherry, and red wine—BenRiach 21 year old has flavors of milk chocolate, nuts, and cocoa powder that would complement an Oreo beautifully.
Chocolate chip cookies and rye
Top pick: Knob Creek Straight Rye
“The inherit spiciness of a rye contrasts and calls out the brown sugar notes in a chocolate chip cookie,” Parres explains. Whether you prefer your cookies gooey, chewy, or crispy, a full-bodied rye like Knob Creek will match nicely.
Oatmeal cookies and white whiskey
Top pick: High West Silver Whiskey Western Oat
Without barrel aging to add other flavors, the grains play a prominent role in a white whiskey, making it a natural fit with the grainy flavors of a sweet oatmeal cookie. Any white whiskey will work well, though it’s hard to resist the obvious continuity of pairing this oat-based whiskey from High West.
Thin Mints and high-rye bourbon
Top pick: Noah’s Mill
“High-rye bourbon has a tendency to have a menthol characteristic,” Kirchner explains. “Many people rave about the ‘modern classic’ pairing of Thin Mints and Basil Hayden’s; however, I prefer something more along the lines of Noah’s Mill. There’s a wonderful spicy, floral, minty quality and just enough bite to this particular whiskey to really stand up against and complement the overwhelming mint characteristic put forth by Thin Mints.”
Peanut butter cookies and Tennessee whiskey
Top pick: Jack Daniel’s
The charcoal filtering of Tennessee whiskey imparts a custard-like flavor that goes well with creamy peanut butter, Parres says—though if you prefer a chunky variety, that’s okay too.
Pepperidge Farm Milanos and Irish whiskey
Top pick: Tyrconnell 10 Year Old Madeira Cask Finish Whiskey
Milanos have layers and make a great pairing for a whiskey that has some complexity of its own. The soft red fruit of an Irish whiskey, especially one finished in madeira wine casks, is perfect to complement this cookie’s buttery chocolate flavors.
Shortbread and Speyside single malt scotch
Top pick: Aberlour 12 year old
This is a no-brainer, Kirchner says. “Buttery, toasty, biscuity, and slightly sweet—these cookies make the perfect match for one of the more underappreciated single malts in the world, Aberlour 12 year old. This whiskey is matured in both oloroso sherry and bourbon casks which provide a buttery mouthfeel, as well as a subtle dried fruit characteristic that won’t overpower the delicate nature of shortbread cookies.”
Snickerdoodles and bourbon
Top pick: Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style
For this complex cookie, pick a bourbon with a traditional mashbill. “Spice goes well with spice, especially when it comes to cookies and whiskey,” says Kirchner, who suggests Old Forester because its dark fruit aromatics and caramel and nut-forward flavor profile stand up to all the cinnamon in a snickerdoodle.