For whatever reason, many people don’t think about pairing spirits with cheese. Yet, when you consider that the flavor profiles inherent to many white and brown spirits- the floral or piney notes of gin; the herbal aromatics of certain digestifs; the caramel, leather, peat, or butterscotch in bourbon rye, scotch, or whiskey), are similar to cheese, it makes sense.
We’re fortunate to have Basalt’s acclaimed Woody Creek Distillers as a neighbor. As part of their newly-launched food program (in collaboration with Carbondale’s Fold Community Kitchen) our cheese is now featured on their menu. The rustic cheeseboards contain a rotating roster of pickled and preserved accompaniments and homemade crackers.
Says WCD co-owner/hospitality director Tracey Snow, “Our customers kept asking when we were going to start serving food, and it just made sense. It adds to the tasting room experience, and goes with our concept of growing and sourcing locally (WCD co-owner Pat Scanlan owns a farm upvalley, where he grows the potatoes used in their vodka).
We asked WCD’s talented bar manager/resident cheese geek- and Tracey’s son- Ryan Snow to pair a cocktail with his favorite Avalanche cheese. The result was a house-infused beet vodka martini (aka the “Beet-tini”) with orange bitters (also made in-house) and rock candy syrup. The pairing elevated our Bloomers to a new level of love.
Explains Ryan, “This is a slightly syrupy cocktail, but it works with the Bloomers because the earthiness and slight vegetal quality of the beets compliment those qualities in the cheese.” The surprising play of a soft, slightly oozy, natural rind cheese like Bloomers with a more viscous cocktail works because of the the palate-cleansing qualities of the citrus and clean, light potato vodka. The Beet-tini is also nice as a contrast to the drier, grainy quality of Midnight Blue.