The Best Cheese To Pair With Gin And Expert-Approved Charcuterie Board Additions

gin tonic with cheese plate
gin tonic with cheese plate - Rodrigo Cuel/Getty Images

For all the charcuterie board fiends out there, take a break from the usual wine and cheese nights and switch to a bold liquor that invites unique pairings with more daring cheeses, such as gin. Take it from Matthew Rose, American Cheese Society certified cheese professional, and partner at Fairfield Cheese. He prefers pairing gin cocktails with creamier cheeses, specifically a creamy cheese with a robust flavor: blue cheese. "Blue cheese and gin are best friends! Blue cheeses typically have a salty brininess, a spiciness, and a creamy texture with loads of flavor that will stand up to the bold flavors present in gins," Rose told Daily Meal.

A powerful blue cheese ups the botanical notes in gin — pairing boldness with boldness pays off. But beyond that, blue cheeses are also very porous, allowing the gin and blue cheese flavors to blend as you take each sip and bite. If you're on board, try Rose's favorite blue cheese with gin: a French Roquefort. "French Roquefort ... is one of the boldest and briniest of blue cheeses and is best smeared on crusty bread or crackers," he said.

And if you're not particularly a blue cheese lover, don't fret! Rose has some more pairing recommendations of cheese and unique gin flavors to drink and bite the night away.

Read more: The Ultimate Vodka Brands, Ranked

Soft And Firm Cheeses That Complement Gin

soft and firm cheeses, knife
soft and firm cheeses, knife - Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock

Juniper berries are often the main botanical added to gin during the distillation process, giving gin its signature sharp but floral taste. To cut through these bright, floral notes, Matthew Rose suggests "a flavorful cheese that also boasts some acidity to help cut through some of that big flavor."

A great candidate for the job, second only to blue cheeses, would be a soft goat's milk cheese, according to Rose. You could find a specialty goat cheese made for hardcore cheese lovers, marinate your goat cheese, or get specific with some of Rose's favorite goat's milk cheeses made in the French Loire Valley: a Valencay or Chabichou du Poitu.

To round out your gin-complementing cheeses, opt for sheep's milk for medium-firm or firmer cheese varieties. Sheep's milk cheeses won't be as full-bodied as a cow's milk cheese, employing grassier, floral notes similar to your gin. "A young pecorino from Italy works well, a Manchego from Spain, or my favorite, Ossau-Iraty from the French Pyrenees ... I think they tend to work much better with gin-based drinks," Rose mentioned. A pecorino, in particular, has just enough fattiness to contrast the sharpness of the gin, while its saltiness is comparable to gin's smacking punch.

Best Charcuterie Board Accoutrements To Pair With Gin

cheese board, cured meat, olives
cheese board, cured meat, olives - Serhiy Stakhnyk/Shutterstock

No board is complete without cured meats to elevate your gin and cheese experience. "A smoky speck adds another fun layer to gin and botanicals and citrus. If you are not a fan of smoky flavors then a nice salami or prosciutto would work well," Matthew Rose said.

Cured meats certainly contain a saltiness that works beautifully with gin's strong flavors. As for the snacks and extra bites, Rose recommends everything from sweet and chewy to salty and crunchy. It may be obvious, but they also work here because olives are always right for a gin martini. Rose likewise loves candied citrus to contrast all the salty, briny notes across the cheese board. Finish off each bite with "honey, especially a rhododendron honey or a wildflower honey, for something sweet that works really well with cheese that also really [complements] gin as well," Rose advises.

Rose encourages everyone that there are no hard and fast rules for pairing: "Do your own experiments at home and if you like a certain pairing with cheese or meat, then go for it and eat and drink what you enjoy!"

Start with a base of high-quality cheeses and meats. As Rose recommends, go bold with your gin and cheese choices for a charcuterie board that'll delight the senses of any cheese or gin lover.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.