This month we’re diving into the Scandinavian specialty of smørrebrød, the open sandwiches prepared on rye bread that are an intrinsic part of the region’s diet.
When it comes to smørrebrød, there are already several similarities with the world of whisky – they are great for sharing, they encompass a never-ending range of flavours, and you can mix and match them as you see fit. We’re told, though, that nowhere else has the same diversity of smørrebrød toppings as Denmark, so we turned to our friends at the Society’s Danish branch to find out what they suggested.
First of all, they told us, if it’s going to be a proper Danish smørrebrød, it should be prepared on rye bread – even better if you follow our recipe to create your own.*
Next, add a substantial slab of butter before choosing your toppings. They can be anything from a fishy style (herring, salmon or shrimp), meaty (roast beef, ham, liver pate or chicken), vegetarian or vegan (tomato, potato or egg), cheesy (smoked or blue cheese) or basically anything else that takes your fancy.
Add your ingredients on a bed of lettuce, and choose your garnish of cucumber, cress, tomato, lemon, pickles, beetroot or red onion – and lots of dill.
When it comes to pairing your smørrebrød with whisky, you can’t go too far wrong – the rye bread used as a base already has a nice synergy with the malted barley in your glass. Beyond that, you can experiment with anything from Young & Spritely through to our Peated flavour profiles, but here are some of our Danish branch’s favourite smørrebrød pairings:
Fish Filet with Spicy & Sweet: bring out some of the sweetness from the fish with a touch of spice from this classic smørrebrød with a Spicy & Sweet whisky from a first fill hogshead.
Leverpostej (liver pâté) with Young & Spritely: go for a lively and dynamic bottling from our Young & Spritely flavour profile to stand up to the richness of this smørrebrød with liver pâté.
Oksebryst (brisket) with Sweet, Fruity & Mellow: seek out one of the Society’s charred red wine barrique bottlings from our Sweet, Fruity & Mellow flavour profile to match the richness of an oksebryst smørrebrød, made with a thin slice of brisket.
Roast Beef with Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits: savour the robust flavours of our Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits bottlings with a smørrebrød using rare roast beef and a healthy serving of pickles.
Rullepølse (cold cut meat) with Juicy, Oak & Vanilla: the freshness of a bourbon hogshead maturation from one of our Juicy, Oak & Vanilla whiskies will be the perfect pairing with any cold cut you choose for this smørrebrød.
Egg and Shrimps with Peated: add a punch to this combo with some lavender smoke and phenolic aromas from our Peated flavour profile.
These are our six starter smørrebrøds – but there are many more you can choose from, and there are no rights and wrongs to how to put one together. Whatever ingredients you choose, the only rule to remember is the same as we apply to our whiskies – they ALWAYS taste better when shared.
*Rye Bread Recipe
215ml (7.5fl oz) water
225g cracked rye kernels
225g cracked wheat kernels
75g dark syrup
450g coarse rye flour
225g wheat flour
Dissolve the yeast in the water, and add all the kernels.
Put in the rest of the ingredients, and fill the dough into two greased (with butter) bread molds.
Raises at least 12 hours under a damp towel.
Bake 1½ hours at 170 degrees Celsius in the oven, take out the molds and bake for another 30 minutes.
Should not be cut into slices until the next day.