TikTok isn’t known for mainstream drinking hacks. Its latest viral sensation is a parmesan cheese espresso martini.
Wine doesn’t own the monopoly on cheese when it comes to pairings. Neither is cheese strictly the preserve of port, Palo Cortado sherry or Mr Black’s coffee and now coconut liqueur.
Gin is good with gouda, cognac with wet cheeses and rum with Emmental-style cheeses and Manchego. Bloody Mary makes mozzarella.
A creamy cheese can be accompanied by a less creamy cocktail, while a firm and crumbling cheese goes well with a frothy drink. A Cubra Libre goes with gouda.
But whisky is perhaps the best. An Old-Fashioned works with practically everything and a Manhattan mutes the sharpness of crumbly blues.
Hoary old peaty breaths might try to persuade you that lots of lactones and vanilla from the Troncais Oak, make Glenlivet 15-Year-Old French Oak Reserve the ideal accompaniment to Parmigiano-Reggiano. Or dissuade you from a Glen Grant or A Japanese Nikka.
Some whisky and cheese snobs will insist on Ardbeg Wee Beastie with a Taleggio. Others recommend Crown Royal XO with French chaumes and Woodford Reserve Double Oak with bloomy rinds.
But there is no mystique about cheese and whisky pairing. Mutually complementing and a contrasting, powerful whiskies suit powerful cheeses. Good salt and fat content in the cheese will balance the body and flavours of the whisky. Creamier cheeses with a higher fat content, need a whisky with higher acidity.
Surprise your taste buds and excite your palate with some disruptive tangs and textures. Experiment with different ages.
Try a truckle of mature cheddar with a Glenlivet 12 Year Old. It brings out the best in both. Caribbean Reserve does the same. Captain’s Reserve enhances goat’s cheese.
An 18 Year Old Talisker is perfect with Roquefort and a 15 Year Old Glenlivet with some stinky Camembert. Share some Colston Bassett Stilton with a 10 Year Old Talisker. A 12 Year Old Macallan is a reliable companion to a youthful, semi-firm Gouda.
Glenmorangie and brie is a great combination. Honey, dates and fresh figs and the long, sweet and nutty finish bolster the cheese.
Matured in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks, Glendronach 15 Year Old Revival is a great all-rounder. But best with anything clothbound. According to bibulous gourmands.
Generally speaking, Speyside malts favour mature firm cheeses and peatier Islays suit blues. Elements of Islay and Caol Ila are the go-tos if you are in a goaty mood and Tamdhu Batch Strength a runny one.
Glenkinchie 10 Year Old is a mellow cheddar recommended for a sheep’s cheese. Whisky lore suggests Epoisses is made for Compass Box’s Spice Tree and Gruyere should be tried with a Kentucky rye.
“The beauty of whisky and cheese pairing is that you can go totally bonkers and spend a fortune on artisan cheeses and rare whiskies – or you can go totally Tesco and do it all on a more modest budget. There are perfect partners for every dram and no doubt there’s even a match for the DairyLea Dunker.”
Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer and chief staff writer of PUNCH magazine. His humour, travel, food and drink work appears worldwide and he has been published in over 800 titles.