It is winter. If you cannot tell by the relative warm we have experienced so far this year, or by the lack of snowstorms compared to last year, the thermometer is still hovering around the freezing mark, if not several degrees below on many nights. On nights like these there is little that warms our insides more effectively than a little Scotch whisky. A bite of cheese provides its own defenses against the stresses brought on by the cold. Try putting the two together and you will weather the winter in better form than usual. Keep the amount of Scotch in moderation, of course, but load up on the cheese. Our bodies require more of those sustaining cheese nutrients than at any other time of the year. This is closely related to the history and advancement of cheese. In the winter months when other sources of nutrition would become scarce, preserved milk in the form of cheese, was able to rise to the occasion.
Speaking of rising to the occasion, the magnificent cheeses from the upper Alpine elevations are in great form now, as are most other aged varieties. Interestingly, the cheeses that appear to pair better with aged Scotch are those that are aged themselves. This is not to say that some of the softer younger cheeses don’t hold up; they simply deliver fewer great matches.
Keeping in mind that not all Scotches are the same, we have noted that different cheeses pair differently with different Scotches. This should be no surprise, as the related but different wines have varying successes with cheeses. The cheese has its own inimitable way of highlighting nuances in beverages, Scotch included.
A word of caution: as cheese has a way of increasing our thirst, we have to be careful not to quench that thirst with Scotch. Water should be included, if not mixed directly into your Scotch, then on the side. To think that there was a time when the available water was not potable in Scotland, that people would quench their thirst with Scotch! Beer usually filled that role, which is one reason why whisky and beer make nice partners.
To fully appreciate the pleasures of Scotch and cheese the beer should be skipped, maybe save one for later. A little Scotch can go a long way, similar to fine cheese. Again, load up on the cheese this winter. You will handle the stresses of the cold season far better with extra cheese, and a nip of Scotch whisky.
We have been meaning to offer a Scotch and cheese class for awhile; we certainly have Scotch fans within our ranks. We finally got around to it this year and now we have a few Scotch and Cheese sessions on our Events calendar. Guests will receive a complimentary copy of Whisky magazine, and a discounted price to the April 11th Whisky Live event in NYC.