Haggis is a crumbly meat dish using a sheep stomach stuffed with minced sheep heart, lungs (except in America where lung meats are banned) and liver, which is then bulked out with oatmeal, onions, suet and seasoning. While the description of Haggis doesn’t sound appealing, Haggis is quite enjoyable as it tastes like a savoury and spicy sausage.
Peaty Scotch and smoky beers pair best with Haggis, however, red wines like a Northern Rhône Syrah, Beaujolais Cru, Australian Shiraz, GSM, Ribera del Duero and Zinfandel all have their place at the table.
Northern Rhône Syrah & Haggis Pairing
A Northern Rhône Syrah offers a nice black peppery spice that complements the peppery flavours found in Haggis. With Syrah, you will also find a refreshing blackberry flavour that offers a gentle contrast to the ‘funky’ flavours of Haggis.
With Haggis and wine pairing, it’s all about preference, and if you are a lover of jammy Australian Shiraz, we say ‘go for it’.
Viognier & Haggis Pairing
Viognier has a oily texture that complements the weight of Haggis, without crushing the herby and peppery flavours of this traditional Scottish dish. Viognier’s tropical fruit flavours also offers a nice contrast to the earthy and rustic notes of Haggis.
Beaujolais Cru & Haggis Pairing
With Haggis, juicy, fruit-driven reds that don’t have a lot of tannin, like Beaujolais Cru, are an ideal pairing as they won’t interfere or compete with the peppery and herbal flavours found in Haggis.
Ribera del Duero & Haggis Pairing
As Rioja is lighter like a Chianti or a Pinot Noir, and as it has a refreshing tartness, you’ll find that it is quite versatile with the meaty and rich flavours of Haggis. As with Beaujolais, you’ll find the fruity nature of this red wine does not compete with the peppery and rustic herbs found in Haggis. Thus, you’ll taste the wine and the food on the finish.
Zinfandel & Haggis Pairing
I find a jammy Zinfandel (made from old vines) is my preference with Haggis. I love how the acidity in this red wine sharpens the peppery and herbal notes found in this cultural dish. With Zinfandel, there’s a touch of smokiness and a kiss of sweetness that adds a touch of depth to the dense meaty flavours found on your plate.
Single Malts Scotch and Haggis
When pairing Scotch with Haggis, you’ll want to save the peatier Scotches, like Lagavulin, after the meal. My go-to Scotch with Haggis would have to be Balvenie Doublewood, as it has rich fruit, honey and sweet spice notes that not only complement the Haggis, but provide a delightful sipping partner through the remainder of the evening.
Scotch Ale and Haggis Pairing
As far as beer goes, a Scotch Ale, or a ‘wee heavy’ is amazing with Haggis. Scotch Ale features rich malty and caramel flavours, along with a complete lack of hops (in most cases).
Hops can’t grow in Scotland’s cold environment, and as such, Scotch Ale is often seasoned with bog myrtle, bitter gorse, ginger, orange peel, wormwood, quassia bark, licorice, dandelion root, juniper, and heather. All of these additional ingredients and their unique notes add further complexity to the Haggis and beer pairing, which makes for a unique dining experience.