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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sarah Pairs: Bourbon & Board Games

By Sarah Derylo

As a lover of all things fermented I have always enjoyed the challenge of pairing a wine with its culinary counterpart—a French Muscadet, full of salty minerality, with oysters or sea bass, an Italian Nebbiolo along side a wild mushroom risotto, or a zesty Californian Zinfandel standing up to braised lamb.

Wine enthusiasts for centuries have weighed in on finding these perfect combinations, and in recent history beer has finally been given the attention it deserves, being frequently paired these days alongside the world’s gourmet delicacies.

Although the science behind food/beverage pairing is sensible, the fascination with pairing, for me at least, comes form the desire to complete an experience. As humans, we seem to love things pairs: wine and cheese, beer and bbq, scotch and cigars, Lennon and McCartney, Laurel and Hardy, socks. Therein lies the raison d'etre for my new blog series, Sarah's Pairs.

In the months to come, I hope you will enjoy my take on pairings. Some may be unusual; others unexpected. But, hopefully, all will help make for truly complete experiences. First up, Bourbon and board games.

Bourbon and Board Games

Picture this: Standing on the brink of world domination, you stare across the game board, over myriad armies and fleets of tiny plastic airplanes and into the eyes of your opponent. You sip rye whiskey calmly from a rocks glass, strategizing. The dice are rolled and your opponent fate is sealed. You “cheers” an imaginary Winston Churchill—the Allies have just won WWII and, more important, you have just defeated your older brother at Axis & Allies. When the re-match ensues, your heart sinks along with your battleship as you hear that dreaded letter-number sequence called. You pour yourself another glass of rye, a big one.

So many of us have memories of playing board games as kids, but few of us take the time to enjoy this pastime as adults. When it's raining up at the cabin and after the kids go to bed, it’s a sure bet that the Siciliano family will break out Trivia Pursuit, Monopoly, or Scrabble. Then the Bourbon is poured, laughter ensues, rules are broken (Grandma should be used as a lifeline only once), and memories are made. Why pair Bourbon with board games? The warming sensation you get slowly sipping a world-class bourbon pairs perfectly with the feeling of closeness that only your family and friends can provide. Here are some of the Siciliano family's favorite pairings.

    • Eagle Rare 10 Year and Axis & Allies
    • W. L. Weller with Clue
    • Redemption Rye with Scrabble
    • Maker's Mark with Trivia Pursuit (Music Edition)
    • Basil Hayden's with Monopoly
Tasting fine Bourbon between moves, deals, or rolls of the die is a strategy within itself. While you ponder your next move, you are able to give this exclusively American spirit its rightful due. At, you'll find an excellent starting point on how to properly conduct a tasting. Whether or not you should trade Marvin Gardens to your cousin for Reading Railroad, now that's a decision only you came make.


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