Cheese and cocktails, a match made in heaven.
Recently we have been working with The Cheese Truck on their first permanent site (aptly named The Cheese Bar) to create and curate a cocktail menu which can sit alongside their magnificent British cheesy creations. Their cocktail list will go live on March 24th alongside their full food menu and we think it’s dynamite.
Here’s a little look into the process that went into creating the list.
A drink, when paired with food must typically achieve one of two things; it must either contrast with whatever is being eaten, cutting through richness and fats (pretty staple in the melted cheese game) so that each bite is as indulgent and wonderful as the last without getting too heavy. The alternative is to join the ride, adding sweetness and complexity to the flavours and textures of the food creating something even more luxuriant when the food and drink are consumed together.
Now, choosing which of these approaches a menu should follow can be a big stumbling block when starting to put drinks to paper so we chose both. Splitting a short drinks list so distinctly in two is a big move, it means that every drink present has to pull its weight and offer something unique, whilst the list as a whole has to provide something for everyone.
The contrast category is headed up by “Wilderness”. Probably the simplest drink on the list, sporting a big lug of Black Cow milk vodka (perfectly on brand) a house made rosemary syrup, citrus and lengthened with a splash of soda water fits the brief perfectly: It’s not ground-breaking, but it’s refreshing, delicious and for everyone, perfect for cleaning your palette in-between glorious mouthfuls of molten cheese.
Compliment as a category is all the more serious, we saw this as an opportunity to break out the things that bartenders love: red, bitter Italian liqueurs, whisky, bitters and old tequilas. This part of the menu was prohibited from including citrus juices, effervescence and focuses on much richer, grown-up and spirituous concoctions. Underlining the menu is our drink for the real aficionados amongst you. “Fig & Walnut” is a combination of two beloved old classics; the Old Fashioned and the Sazerac, which have been married under the rule of “Substituting your base spirit for old Tequila makes every cocktail better”, something I’m inclined to agree with. We took a base of Cognac and a fine Reposado Tequila, adding walnut bitters and a dash of fig liqueur, which when stirred down over ice really opens up, giving loads of peppery, earthy notes and tons of flavour.
The last major challenge we were set in coming up with these drinks was how to incorporate the cheese itself into some of our recipes. We suspect that simultaneously drinking and eating cheese might be strictly for the hardcore, or, in this case the Hungover. Our inspiration came from a long-dead Italian by the name of Count Cosimo III for whom Tiramisu was supposedly invented. Tiramisu (Favourite dessert of my other half) has got its flavours nailed; coffee, vanilla and mascarpone are a match made in heaven and with bourbon as a grain-based substitute (read – improvement) to fingers of cake, the Cheese Bar’s Bourbon Espresso was born. It’s a fluffy, caffeinated reviver of men and women which you can go get your fill of very soon.
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