It is a widely known fact that the perfect cheese and wine pairing goes together like Oreos and peanut butter, or like fuzzy socks and fall. In simpler terms, they just complete each other.
But, for those bold enough to take a walk on the wild side, or maybe just in dire need of something slightly stronger than a glass of red or white, it is a little known fact that a savory cheese plate can also certainly compliment your hard liquor of choice. So naturally, the idea of this experiment was a total no-brainer.
Before hitting up the fancy cheese aisle in the supermarket (you know, the one you only ever step foot in when you’re trying to impress your date), a significant amount of research was conducted on which specific cheeses were best paired with each type of liquor. What we learned was that regardless of the pairing, cheese and liquor are both God’s gift from Heaven, so really it was all just a win-win situation… or maybe that was just the buzz talking…
But here’s what we actually found pairs rather well together, so take notes and then get to boozin’ and shmoozin’.
Blue Cheese and Vodka
When first researching the perfect cheese and vodka pairings, countless combinations flooded across the entire cheesey spectrum. While some explanations suggested that because of vodka’s subtlety in flavor a strong cheese would help enhance its bitterness, others suggested that lighter cheeses would help balance its harsh taste. We decided to go big because any flavorful cheese is rarely a regret. Pairing a rich blue cheese with a solid standard vodka drink (Tito’s soda with lime, to be exact) was heavenly. Maybe it was the hint of lime, or maybe the rich pungency of the blue cheese that enhanced the vodkas’ bitters, but this quickly scored a “win” in our book.
Goat Cheese and Gin
When you think gin, a fancy cocktail recipe generally comes to mind, ranging from mixtures of blackberries and limes to even ginger beer. To keep up with the citrus vibe, pair a citrus-flavored gin drink with a cheese that is also rich in tangy, herbal flavor, like a mild goat cheese. Contrary to what some may believe to be an overbearing flavor explosion when combined, the rich, herb-flavored essence of the gin went together with a spreadable goat cheese like sleeping in on a Sunday morning. Minds. Blown.
Brie and Bourbon
Whiskey is one of those hidden gems that people often don’t realize is rich in flavor. Never in a million years would an Average Joe think whiskey, specifically bourbon, would be packed with hints of orange, vanilla, oak and other fruit flavors, right? One cheese that generally compliments many fruit and citrus flavors is brie. When pairing a creamy brie cheese and cracker with a small-batched bourbon (Angel’s Envy for the win), the fruitiness of the liquor becomes enhanced, also giving a whole new meaning to the term “soul mates.”
Hint: To really enhance the flavors of the whiskey, bake the brie in the oven topped with brown sugar and pecans. You’re welcome.
Pepper Jack and Tequila
This one came as a no-brainer, and NO, tequila does not perfectly compliment melted queso (remember– CLASSY)! So, what comes to mind when thinking “tequila”? Not that one questionable night back in college, but a whole lotta “spice.” Traditional Mexican food is known to have a kick and that is no exception to their drinks. The spicy kick in pepper jack cheese pairs perfectly with a strong tequila, particularly reposado. Due to the fact that reposado is slightly more mellow and aged than silver tequila, the oaky flavor is the perfect touch to the tanginess of the cheese. Olé!
Cheddar, Gouda and Rum
In one of Jack Sparrow’s few logical moments, he asked one single, very important question: “But why is the rum gone?” The answer is, in fact, due to the effect of caramel-spiced dark rum, like Myer’s Dark Rum, paired with a rich cheese, such as an aged cheddar or gouda. After combining the richness of the two flavors together, there will no longer be rum or cheese left, and that is a proven fact. Although spiced rum could be spread onto a wide spectrum of flavors ranging from tropical fruits, smoky oak, vanilla, cocoa and other spices, its richness allows it to take on bigger-flavored cheeses.
Cheddar, Gouda and Scotch
Scotch is generally not a social Friday night choice for many; however, when cheeses like gouda are put on the line, exceptions will be made. Research suggests that cheeses abundant in flavor, like gouda or sharp cheddar pair well with more intensely rich and smoky flavors of many scotches. Although cleansing your palette with two bold and acquired tastes may raise quite a few eyebrows, pairing a delicate single malt scotch with the smokiness of both these cheeses will undeniably compliment each other quite nicely – and that’s a fact!