By Julie Hartigan of Cooking w/Julie

September 25, 2018

Fall Cocktail and Imported Cheese Pairings

Fall is such a fun time to have friends over for cocktails!   Everyone’s back home from summer travels, holiday madness hasn’t kicked in yet, and the cooler temps are perfect for kicking back with some classic cocktails. Chances are you’ve been to plenty of wine and cheese parties… why not mix things up a bit and host a cocktail and cheese pairing? It may sound surprising, but elegant drinks with bright acidity, slight bitterness, and aromatic complexity all pair deliciously with flavorful imported cheeses!

To start, different types of spirits have their own flavor profile to consider while imported cheeses, depending on what kind of milk they’re made from, how they’re made, and how they’re aged have many different layers of flavor. Here’s a quick pairing guide by spirit:

• Gin is distilled with lots of herbs and juniper berries giving it a fresh taste with floral notes. And it’s these floral notes that go so well with cheese – from a mild cow’s milk blue cheese like imported Gorgonzola to a semi-soft white such as Epoisses, or tangy, creamy chèvre.

• Rum tends to have a clean sweet edge that works well with sweeter cheeses – as well as with cheeses that are typically served with sweet condiments. This includes hard, aged cheeses, like imported Gouda, Comté, Emmental and even sweeter blue cheese like Gorgonzola Dolce.

• “Brown” spirits like whiskey, bourbon and cognac feature a mix of sweet and warm notes, which are perfectly suited to just about any cheese you pair them with! And since they’re often enjoyed straight up or on the rocks; the fat of the cheese also helps cut through any sharpness from the alcohol so you can savor each sip.

• Vodka doesn’t have a specific flavor on its own, which makes it a great neutral base for mixing and pairing. The best way to pair it with imported cheese is to consider the other flavors the vodka will mixed with in your cocktail of choice.

Now that you’ve got the basics, here’s some inspiration for your own Fall Cocktail & Imported Cheese Pairings!

♥ Bloody Mary Bar

The perennial brunch favorite with tomato juice, horseradish, hot sauce, and of course a slew of fun garnishes; Bloody Mary’s go well with just about any cheese that’s traditionally served with tomatoes. Think Italian or Spanish cheeses such as imported sharp Provolone, Manchego, Pecorino, Tetilla, Aged Parmesan, Asiago, and Mozzarella. Try serving these as fun additions to a garnish bar along with olives, pepperoncini, cubed charcuterie, bacon, pickles and the traditional celery.

♥ Go Old Fashioned 

You can’t go wrong with the classic cocktails of the Mad Men era like bourbon or other whiskey’s. The Old Fashioned, Manhattans, and Negroni’s are all strong, warming, and slightly sweet, with a wonderful bitter orange edge that’s perfect for fall. They pair beautifully with a wide range of cheeses and accompaniments. For easy entertaining, create a gorgeous fall cheeseboard with a mix of imported Brie, a ripe Danish Blue, aged English Cheddar paired with candied pecans, sliced apples, and dried fruit. Or for a gorgeous statement dish, try our recipe for Broiled Walnut Crème with Tête de Moine Crostini

♥ The Bee’s Knee’s

Popular and refreshingly bubbly Gin Fizzes, Bees Knees, and other gin-based cocktails typically feature sweet and herbal elements like honey, lavender, and thyme. These flavors all make for a perfect pairing with tangy, creamy goat cheese. For a new twist on happy hour serve our Goat Cheese Three Ways platter with a trendy prohibition-era gin cocktail such as the Bee’s Knees featuring gin, lemon, and honey.

♥ Fun Fall Martini’s

Whether you prefer apple, pumpkin, pear or fig; a lightly sweet, fall-themed martini makes a fantastic signature drink at a party or after dinner dessert cocktail. When pairing cheese with sweeter cocktails just think of the flavor pairings as you would condiments on a cheese board. Any cheese that works with fresh fall fruit or jam would be lovely; such as aged cow’s milk cheeses like imported Abbondance, lightly sweet blue cheeses such as Cabrales or Stilton, or soft creamy cheeses like imported Camembert or Triple Cream. Or to really wow them, try serving fall martini’s with our standout Caramel Apple Baked Brie.

Happy Fall Everyone!