At High West Distillery & Saloon in Park City, Utah, whiskey gets an unusual accompaniment. High West’s chocolate-and-whiskey pairing implores your taste buds to linger over the complexities and unexpected flavors that melt on your tongue. Unlike the subtle qualities that can be hard to pinpoint during a wine pairing, High West executive chef James Dumas explains that whiskey develops a multi-dimensional flavor that’s drawn out from start to finish, making it an ideal libation for students of the spirit.
Uncork a bottle of High West’s amber-colored whiskey, and you’ll find an evolving array of flavors and aromas that swirl together, often hinting at notes of vanilla, caramel, cinnamon and spice — largely a result of the barreling and aging process. So it’s a natural fit, Dumas explains, that whiskey is a welcome entrant to dessert — particularly when it involves chocolate.
Working with artisan chocolatier Ruth Kendrick in Ogden, Utah, High West created a flight of six silky, aromatic chocolates (like Meyer lemon white chocolate or Beehive Honey dark chocolate) to complement the characteristics of three of High West’s most popular spirits: Son of Bourye, a peppery and sweet blend of rye and bourbon; Double Rye!, a spicy marinade of a stout 2-year-old rye and a soft 16-year-old rye; and Silver Western Oat, a clear, un-aged whiskey that mimics the tropical tastes of white tequila.
After you taste your way from light to dark whiskies, Dumas recommends an initial sip to clear your palate, a nibble of the decadent confection to absorb the sweetness and another sip to prolong the sensual aromas as flavors continue to develop on the tongue. And for the trepid whiskey connoisseur, Dumas offers an additional piece of advice: a drop or two of water will tame the liquor’s strong bite while enhancing its brilliant flavors.
High West Distillery is open daily, offering its chocolate-and-whiskey pairing year-round.
Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Nitsch