Like fine whisky? Us too. Here’s how to match it with ramen
Pull up a stool at the long zinc-topped bar in Tonkotsu Mare Street and you’ll discover a range of more than 60 whiskies to choose from. You’ll also see most of them come from Japan. And you’ll find out just how much our bar team know their stuff – we’re happy to admit their knowledge is bordering on obsessive.
But if you’re reading this, they’re not here right now. So before we point your pallet towards a few of our whisky favourites, here are a few things to think about when making your choice.
As the bar sits at the front of our much-loved ramen restaurant, chances are you’ll want to order your whisky with food in mind. When you do think about terroir in the same way you do with wine.
Whiskies from coastal regions – like the Islands of Scotland or the coast of Hokkaido – often possess the vigorous, salty elements of their home. That’s why they go brilliantly with fish and sushi dishes.
So look to pick out distinct tastes and aromas from a whisky and think how those elements work with the food on our menu. A particularly nutty whisky pairs well with earthy food like mushrooms. While a whisky with a strong orchard-fruit character with be a fantastic match with pork.
When it comes to Japanese whisky, there are four things that standout. It’s always incredibly smooth. The flavours work in perfect harmony. The packaging is exceptional. And so is the price.
Try the Hibiki 17 for a perfectly distilled expression of what makes Japanese whisky outstanding. Aged in barrels made from coveted Mizunara oak, Hibiki 17 characteristics include coconut, sandlewood and pine.
Or you could go for Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries. This whisky is a blend from the sadly defunct Hanyu distillery and the renowned Chichibu distillery. Its vanilla, coconut and bourbon-like characteristics are what you’ll notice first. Before some wonderfully woody and spicy notes. You’ll struggle to find this whisky behind many bars in town, so enjoy it while you can.
Finally, for something a little bit out there, you might want to give the Nikka Coffey Malt a go. It’s the only malt whisky in the world made in a Coffey Still, which is something normally used for grain whisky. Somehow balancing clean citrus fruit, dense spice and rich oak, it’s one for the vinyl collectors.
If you’re ordering whisky at Tonkotsu, start a conversation with our bar team. They’ll always be happy to help you find the kind of drink you like and pair it with the right food.