Bourbon, brand, rum, gin, tequila, whiskey - they’re all considered hard
alcohol (and all can lead to a doozy of a hangover if you over-imbibe). Hard
alcohol is liquor that has been distilled rather than fermented.
So what do you serve with hard alcohol? Cheese, of course! Here’s a guide to which cheeses work best with which liquor:
Amber-hued whiskey - often referred to as the "water of life" - works well with aged cheese. Comté’s assertive “bouquet” pairs well with whiskey’s woody flavor with hints of hazelnuts. Johnnie Walker Blue can be served with harder cheeses such as Mimolette and Manchego, aged Gouda or a softer variety such as goat cheese.
A good, ripe Brie or saltier, aged cheddar balances the sweet oak notes of an aged Glenlivet. Lighter whiskeys have accents of passion fruit, orange and vanilla and also complement the creaminess and saltiness of Brie. Livarot is a heavy, moist cheese, with almost spicy flavors. Combined with an aged single malt whiskey, the cheese brings out the oak, nutty flavors of the alcohol.
In general, sheep’s milk cheeses like Roquefort and Pecorino Romano tend to pair better with bourbon and other American whiskeys. Gabietou, cheddar and Roquefort are other cheeses to consider. Bleu cheese, Roquefort and cheddar also go well with scotch.
Brandy, a distilled wine, is best served with a strong cheese, such as Epoisse, Muenster, or L’Ami du Chambertin. Calvados, the famous apple brandy, goes exceptionally well with camembert and cheeses from its native Normandy.
The spiciness of Monterey Jack is a good match for strong tequila. Rum also brings out the flavor of a spicy cheese such as Livarot or Monterey Jack. Gin and vodka pair well with sharp piquant blue cheeses. Try a Martini with a Fourme d’Ambert.
Schnapps comes in many flavor varieties, such as apple, peach and pear. Brie or fondue goes well with fruity schnapps, as the creamy texture complements the strong alcohol.
So whatever your “poison” may be, you’ll enjoy it even more when it’s served with a complementary cheese.