It feels as though there is something innately wrong the exercise. But the end result is something that feels very right.
Pairing a cookie sold by grade-school girls wearing green sashes with the very adult and (stereotypically only) very manly drink of bourbon (or another whiskey) shouldn’t be as enjoyable as it is. But from concept to final taste, it’s an experience you just need to try.
Over the past three or four years, I’ve seen the same article pop up every February (that’s Girl Scout Cookie Season, by the way). Four or five whiskeys paired with an equal number of Girl Scout Cookies. Some of the pairings have seemed to make sense, others not so much. One has always stood out: Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year with Shortbreads. Maybe in 2012 you might have been able to pull that off, but today that bottle may be one of the hardest current releases to come by. None of this is intended as a slight against the article’s original author (whomever that might be). Instead, the point is that it is just time to test out some new pairings.
Thin Mints and High West Double Rye
The Cookie: Girl Scout Thin Mints are described by Girl Scouts as “round, mint-flavored cookies with a delicious chocolaty coating” and might just be the quintessential Girl Scout Cookie. But contrary to its name, it won’t make you “thin.” Experiences would prove that you might not be able to stop until the entire box is gone.
The Whiskey: High West Double Rye! is a blended Rye Whiskey produced by High West Distillery in Park City, Utah. This whiskey is, as its name suggests, a blend of two rye whiskeys ranging in age from 2 to 16 years. It is very herbal with heavy mint and rich pepper spice, softened by honey, caramel and cinnamon. It is delicious, and it will only set you back around $35.
Why it works: Many might not realize that rye whiskies often have heavy mint characteristics. Pairing the chocolate/mint cookie with this rye leave no question about the spicy/herbal characters of the Double Rye! These two seem almost cut from the same cloth.
Caramel Delight and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
The Cookie: Girl Scout Caramel Delights are also known in some regions as Samoas. They are chewy, with drizzled caramel over toasted coconut. These are my personal favorites and might be tough to improve – unless it’s with whiskey!
The Whiskey: Woodford Reserve Double Oaked is a double-barreled bourbon whiskey, twice aged in new charred American Oak. The barrel contributes rich toasted flavors, along with rich sweet caramel, chocolate, and even some honey. If you are a fan of heavy caramels and rich toasted oak, grab yourself a bottle of this at around $65.
Why it works: As with the first pairing, the aim here is to pair similarities in flavors. Warm toasted notes with rich caramel are the center of both the Caramel Delights and the Woodford Double Oaked.
Peanut Butter Patties and Old Grand-Dad Bonded
The Cookie: Girl Scout Peanut Butter Patties are also known as Tagalongs. They have a peanut butter coated wafer center, coated in a sweet chocolate coating. If you have never tried them, think of a cookie version of a a delicious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
The Whiskey: Old Grand-Dad Bonded is a bourbon that we have written much about. At around $20, most people look straight above this bottle regularly sitting on the bottom shelf. But those people are missing out. This bourbon offers some delicious vanilla, caramel, brown sugar and baking spice, backed by a very notable peanut “funk.”
Why it works: Peanut and chocolate are at the heart of both the Old Grand-Dad and the Peanut Butter Patties. For this one, try a sip of the bourbon, then the cookie, and then the bourbon and watch how clearly defined the peanut notes in the bourbon become after even just a small bite of the rich cookie.
Shortbread and Rebel Yell 10 Year Single Barrel
The Cookie: Girl Scout Shortbreads are as simple as they get. They are sweet, buttery and delicious.
The Whiskey: Rebel Yell 10 Year was a newcomer to the bourbon scene in around 2017. It is produced by a St. Lous Missouri company, using wheated bourbon from the famous Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky. What does heated mean? By law, corn must be the dominate grain in bourbon. Here, wheat is the secondary grain, and creates a rich, sweet, fruity bourbon. I would be remiss if I didn’t again mention “Pappy” (see above). Both Rebel Yell and Pappy Van Winkle are wheated bourbons. While Rebel Yell is somewhat limited, it is a strong substitution for the impossible to find Pappy Van Winkle. $55.
Why it works: The shorbread cookie begs for complex flavors in a whiskey. And the Rebel Yell offers exactly that. Here, the complex, fruity, chocolaty, sweet bourbon contrasts the soft/subtle character of the cookie.
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.