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Pairing Cheese and Cocktails

Gin fizz with a sprig of thyme in the glass and half wheel of Kunik on a slate

Though this pairing does not get as much attention as cheese and wine, or even beer, cocktails certainly deserve some time with cheese. Trends in the craft cocktail culture mirror the same passions that drive the artisanal cheese movement, such as creativity, originality, and unique flavors. Test out some of these combinations from the experts the next time you’re feeling adventurous at the bar!

A Margarita + Manchego

The recipe for this margarita is simple, making it an easy go-to drink for the hot days of summer. The dominant citrus and agave flavors in a margarita don’t seem like a natural pairing for cheese, but according to  Martin Johnson, the cheese, charcuterie, beer, and wine buyer for Gastronomie 491 in New York City: “The margarita is the ultimate test of the concept that Basque sheep cheeses pair with anything and everything.” A nibble of the buttery flavor of a Basque-style sheep’s milk cheese is a great way to end this dry cocktail.  

The Hemingway + Triple Crème Brie

Chef Michael Tuohy of Block Butcher Bar in Sacramento, CA, recommends his restaurant’s cocktail of blonde rum, grapefruit, lime, and Luxardo with a triple crème Brie, such as one from Marin French Cheese Co. The tang of the grapefruit and lime cuts the butteriness of the cheese as it coats your palate — summer breeze and porch swing optional.

A Bloody Mary + Parmigiano Reggiano

This pairing comes from Rocco Rainone of Di Bruno Bros. in Philadelphia. This bloody mary is garnished with parmesan-stuffed Kalamata olives and anchovies, leading to a briny and salty flavor combination that balances the spiciness of the drink.

A Herbal Gin Fizz + Goat’s Milk Triple Crème 

This bright and bubbly gin cocktail is perfect for sipping while enjoying the last weeks of summer. Try it with a triple creme made with goat’s milk, such as Nettle Meadow Farm Kunik, a mixed-milk, mold-ripened round made with goat’s milk and Jersey cow’s cream. The citrusy notes of the cocktail would also work well with the tang of a fresh chèvre. Get the recipe!

For more ways to match spirits and cheese, check out our Cheese+ pairings issue!

Molly Farrar

Molly is a web editorial intern who hails from Virginia, also known as the place with some of best ham in the world, in her humble opinion. She has yet to meet a cheese she does not like. Other interests include drinking craft beer and running, sometimes at the same time.

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