Non-Alcoholic Drink And Cheese Pairings That Everyone Can Enjoy

Assortment of cheeses
Assortment of cheeses - Vladimir Mironov/Getty Images

Wine and cheese is a classic food pairing for happy hour or a classy soiree, but if you're not a drinker, don't feel like you have to forgo the fromage. There are quite a few cheeses that work well with mocktails, soda, juice, and other non-alcoholic beverages for those who don't want to imbibe.

Daily Meal spoke with Cody Goldstein, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Muddling Memories, who provided a few exclusive insights into non-alcoholic alternatives for pairing with cheese. He explained that different types of cheeses work well with different beverages. "One of my favorite bites of food is apples and blue cheese, so naturally an apple juice, or better yet, an apple cider, would be the best way to pair blue cheese with a drink," he explains. However, the sky really is the limit. He offers pairing options for everything from fruit juices to coffee and other drinks.

Read more: The 14 Best Sugar-Free Sodas Ranked

How To Pair Cheese With Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Cheese and fruit pairings
Cheese and fruit pairings - barmalini/Shutterstock

One rule for creating cheese pairings is to balance the flavors. Cody Goldstein likes to pair apple juice with blue cheese, allowing the powerful flavors of the cheese to be softened by the sweetness of the apple. Plus, the fruit helps to cleanse the palate. This can work particularly well against stronger or creamier varieties, such as Roquefort cheese. If you find apple juice is too sweet, Goldstein also suggests a quick workaround to highlight the more tart flavors in apples: "To take it one step further, you can add some sparkling water to your apple drink to cut the sweetness and let the cheese really shine with the tartness of the apple."

Moving away from the deep taste of blue cheese, if it's a sharp cheese you're dealing with, such as cheddar, Goldstein suggests pairing it with pineapple juice. "You need a bold flavor to hold up the sharpness of the cheese, and the brightness of the pineapple really lends itself to marrying the two flavors," he says. Other options that have a similar, bright, and sweet flavor mingled with tartness include apricots and oranges. Or, Goldstein suggests trying non-alcoholic beers, noting, "The yeast and malt really accentuate the flavors in the cheese." A non-alcoholic malt soda, such as malta goya or even hop water can also introduce some beery complements to cheese.

How The Fat Content Of Cheese Affects Pairing Choices

Platter of cheeses
Platter of cheeses - Plateresca/Getty Images

Besides tasting notes, fat content can also impact how different beverages pair with different cheeses. Cody Goldstein notes, "A nice and creamy cheese does really well with coffee. The richness is offset by the acidic coffee, and the robust flavors from the beans seem to really mesh well with the high-fat content of the cheeses." The more fat a cheese has, the richer the flavor tends to be. Pairing your cheese with something bitter, like coffee, can help balance those creamy, fatty flavors and prevent the cheese from sticking to your palate.

"In particular, a great shot of espresso works really well with funky-style cheese," notes Goldstein. Espresso has an even more concentrated flavor, so this could work well for a cheese that's both ripe and creamy, such as camembert. Or, you could play around with something like simple sparkling water. The effervescence of the beverage can also help to cleanse the palate and cut through rich, fatty, strong-flavored cheeses, much like how champagne can do so in a more traditional wine and cheese pairing.

Lastly, don't forget about balancing out your cheese and drinks with a bit of crunch! "A good cracker will also be crucial to the ultimate bite and sip," notes Goldstein. This creates a balance of texture, fat, and flavor that leads to a winning combo, even if you're passing on the booze.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.