Put off by pretentious wine and cheese pairings? Welcome to the easiest bourbon cheese board you’ll ever build, brought to you by expert Will “Cheese Dude” Eaves.

Eaves, who has worked as a cheesemonger in Kentucky for years, can now be found making pasta at Louisville specialty store Lotsa Pasta. He knows his way around a cheese plate – and believes they’re best served with bourbon.

“Many people don’t immediately think of pairing cheese with bourbon,” said Eaves. “But, the lemon custard and fresh oak in Coopers’ Craft Bourbon and caramel, pear and cinnamon in the Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve really complement the cheese beautifully, and sometimes you need something stronger than wine during a pandemic.”

With the 100 proof Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve coming in at around $30 and the sippable 82.2 Coopers’ Craft going for under $25, these crowd pleasing cheese boards come together under budget and can be easily enjoyed at home. Read on for two sets of bourbon and cheese pairings, personally guided by the Cheese Dude!

Bourbon and Cheese, iStock.

Coopers’ Craft Pairings

1. Deer Creek The Doe + 70% Dark Chocolate

Instructions: Cheese, sip bourbon, chocolate
Description: “The Doe is a young cheddar so it doesn’t bring too much salt. The aroma of the vanilla cheddar lingers after the bourbon. Pop in the chocolate while the bourbon is still on your tongue to set it off.”

2. Taleggio + Sweet type apple + Sourdough bread

Instructions: Apple, cheese & bread, sip bourbon
Description: “First the sweetness, then the funk of a little fermentation, finishing with baked apple and spice.”

3. Bruder Basil’s Rauchkase + Carmelized pecans

Instructions: Pecan, cheese, sip bourbon
Description: “Good caramelized pecans should crunch the way charcoal breaks in the hand, crystalline-like. Sweet and woody pecans pair very well with the birch-smokey creaminess. Sip while the flavor still fills your mouth and blends with oak characteristics.”

Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve Pairings

1. Comte de Gruyere + Slices of Bresaola + Dried cherries

Instructions: Works on every level!
Description: “Sweet cherry brings out the fruity notes, Comte loves oak, the spices the bresaola was aged in develop the cinnamon, they all play so well together. This pairing is the best for trying out different patterns. Seeing what opens the next flavor combination. Eat the next piece while the previous is still melting on your palate. Then change it up.”

2. Red Dragon + caper berries

Instructions: Cheese, sip of bourbon, bite of berry
Description: “This one brightens the cheese to me. The dragon has texture and tang in abundance. A big sip of Coopers’ Craft Barrel Reserve puts a little fire on it, with a bite of caper berry for the savory tart finisher.”

3. Smokehaus Blue + Dark Chocolate

Instructions: On your first pass, go cheese, bourbon, chocolate.
Description: “The Smokehaus deserves its place as the finish. Creamy sweet-savory smoke, truly complex in its own right. My favorite path though is chocolate, cheese, bourbon. The way it lingers is just …decadent.”

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