Cocktails are your cheese board’s new favorite companion

World Best Bar

Mar 28, 2022

WBB Cheese and cocktails
Contrary to popular belief, cheeses express themselves much better alongside finely chosen spirits than with red wine! Cocktails — whether…

Contrary to popular belief, cheeses express themselves much better alongside finely chosen spirits than with red wine!

Cocktails — whether refreshing or strong, sweet, sour or bitter, light or creamy… depending on the cheese being tasted — offer a nice contrast to the complex flavors on your cheese board. Now the most important element of any cocktail is, of course, the spirit at its base, and different types of spirits go best with different types of cheeses, bringing out and complementing certain aromas and flavors.

Gin’s versatility allows it to pair well with a variety of cheeses

Distilled with an array of herbs and aromatics, gin’s fresh taste with herbal and floral notes pairs extremely well with cheese, from soft cow’s milk cheeses to stronger options such as aged gouda, lightly smoked cheeses ranging from mozzarella to cheddar, or even blue cheeses. Goat’s milk cheeses also pair exceptionally well with gin-based drinks. Try pairing a creamy cheese with a refreshing G&T to rinse the palate, or balancing out a crumbly aged gouda’s caramelized notes with a tangy and frothy Gin Sour.

Rum, whiskey and cognac pair well with sweeter cheeses

Sweet aged rums work well with sweeter cheeses and cheeses usually served alongside jams, chutneys and fresh fruits — think hard cheeses such as gouda and emmental, or even blue cheeses. Whiskey and cognac’s sweet, spicy and smoky notes are the perfect match to cheeses that are strong in flavor and slightly sweet, but mild cheeses also work quite well. A good Old Fashioned will go nicely with most options on your cheese board, from mild white mould cheeses to firm, aged cheeses, to blue cheese.

Cheese and vodka pairings depend on your mixer of choice

Vodka doesn’t have much of an identifiable flavor, so the cheese you want to pair it with will depend on whatever you pick as a mixer for your cocktail. For example, a Bloody Mary will pair nicely with cheeses traditionally served with tomatoes, like dry, aged cheeses or Italian cheeses such as parmesan or mozzarella.

Remember to first taste your base spirit before deciding what to pair it with

Take gin, for example, which comes in various types and recipes that taste quite different from one another – from dry and herbal or spicy to sweet and floral. This will impact both the taste of your drink and the cheeses you should pair it with.

Your cocktail’s consistency and strength also impacts how the cheese is experienced

Just as cheeses vary greatly in consistency, from soft and creamy to hard or even crumbly, the same applies to cocktails, which range from thin to creamy or frothy, and from refreshing to intense in taste. Make the best of these contrasts: creamy cheeses can be successfully accompanied by thinner cocktails, while firm and crumbling cheeses pair well with frothy drinks, containing egg whites for instance.

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