National Hot Toddy Day: Make One Today
Did you know that January 11th is National Hot Toddy Day?
If you’ve never had one of these classic drinks, read on to find out more about where it originated and how to make one for yourself at home.
A hot toddy is a warm cocktail of liquor, honey, water, herbs and spices. It’s perfect for curling up with on a winter’s day and some regard it as the perfect cure for a cold!
National Hot Toddy Day: The History
The history of the drink, along with its recipe, is contested. The word toddy comes from India, where it meant a drink made from fermented palm tree sap. The British adopted the idea and began to combine hot water with scotch whisky to warm up cold pub goers. The other story goes that an Irish doctor named Robert Bentley Todd began ordering his patients to drink a combination of hot brandy, cinnamon and sugar water. It then made its way across to us in America, where variations with rum and brandy were all made.
National Hot Toddy Day: The Recipe
3 tsp honey
1 cinnamon stick
Whisk the honey and whisky together, split between two heatproof glasses or mugs. Add half of the cinnamon stick to each and then top each of the mugs with 100ml boiling water. Add a splash of lemon juice to each, then taste and add more honey or lemon to your taste. Finish each drink with a slice of lemon studded with a clove.
Some people like to add tea to their hot toddies. Try it with earl grey for a lovely addition. You could use a teabag but the best thing is loose leaf tea in an infuser. If you want to add a bit of Canadian flavor, try replacing the honey with maple syrup.
You can use almost any spirit you like, but the best are usually whisky, rum or brandy. Try varying your spices too to enjoy different flavors. Pop in a cardamom pod or some star anise. You could also swap the lemon for orange!
National Milk Day
Not to worry if hot toddies aren’t your thing because today is also National Milk Day! Without milk we wouldn’t have our delicious cheese, so it’s definitely a day that we’re going to celebrate (albeit it with a hot toddy!). If you need to warm up but don’t need the liquor then a mug of hot milk with a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste and a pinch of grated nutmeg is the perfect thing. Nutmeg is actually proven to make you drowsy so it’s excellent if you’re heading off to bed for a good sleep. If it’s the morning, leave it out and simply enjoy a cosy moment to yourself.
Will you be making one this National Hot Toddy Day? Let us know in the comments below!
Summer wines to enjoy this season
With the weather warming up, we’ve put together a list of summer wines that you’re sure to enjoy. Whether you’re choosing something to drink with a family meal or simply looking for a wine to sip on a sunny evening we hope this list will help you make your choice.
Summer Wines: Pinot Grigio
A white wine with citrus, apple and pear flavors. It’s fantastic with pasta dishes, particularly those with creamy sauces as the acidity of the wine will cut through them for a perfect pairing. You could also serve it with some perfectly grilled fish for a wonderful summer dinner.
Summer Wines: Albarino
Another citrusy white wine, this time hailing from Spain. Albarino is excellent with seafood. It has a high acidity as well as a light saltiness. You may not have encountered this wine but we really recommend seeking it out as it’s sure to surprise you.
Summer Wines: Pinot Noir Rose
This is a fruity rosé with hints of strawberry and cherries that almost feels like you are tasting the summer sun. It’s a great wine to drink if you’re serving salads, pasta, or even sushi.
It’s an absolute classic for the summer. Whilst we want robust reds when it’s cold outside, a lovely refreshing rosé in the sun is the perfect thing. We love a Pinot Noir based rosé because they’re packed with strawberry and cherry flavors.
Summer Wines: Prosecco
A sparkling wine from Italy that will make for a bubbly evening. We recommend looking for a Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG to ensure the best quality and a wonderful, slightly sweet quality.
Summer Wines: Sparkling Rose
Combine two of our favorites and sip on a sparkling rosé! Sparkling rosé is great with smoked salmon and soft cheeses, and the pink color is sure to add a special touch to any of your celebrations. It’s also brilliant with spiced dishes, such as a spicy grilled chicken.
Of course, this is a mixed drink rather than something that you can buy in a bottle, but we feel that it deserves a special mention for being so delicious! Sangria hails from Spain and can be with red wine or white wine. A traditional red wine sangria is made with bold red wine, orange juice, brandy or rum, sugar, ice and chopped fruit. It’s one of the best summer drinks to enjoy with small tapas dishes like patatas bravas or chorizo. Make a large jug of it to keep all of your guests refreshed.
Which wines do you like to enjoy in the summer? Let us know in the comments below!
Scotch: How to Choose a Bottle of Whisky
Did you know we offer a cheese collection specifically designed to pair with whisky? Our Scotch Collection includes generous portions of Danish Blue Cheese, Gruyere, Cheddar, and Parmesan.
We thought we would put together some top tips to help you choose a scotch, as we know it can be rather daunting when you are faced with a shelf full of options.
What is Scotch?
Scotch is whisky that is made in Scotland. It is mostly made from malted barley, in comparison to American bourbon whiskey which is distilled from corn.
You will often hear a whisky described as ‘peaty’. This means that peat, an accumulation of decaying plant matter, has been used to help malt the barley. It imparts a smoky flavor with rich, grassy qualities.
Some whiskies are sweeter and will have flavors of fruit, vanilla, or spices. Malt and honey might come through, or for the lightest scotch, you may even taste floral notes.
Regions of Scotland
There are four recognized regions for scotch to come from: Highland, Speyside, Islay, and Lowland. Whilst there are some characteristics typical of these regions, this is due to the work of the disChotillery, not the growing conditions in each location. So, unlike when selecting a wine, you don’t need to be as tied to seeking out bottles from specific locations.
Because the Highland region is so large, there is a lot of variation, but generally speaking the whiskies are spicier in the North, whilst they become sweeter in the South. Lowland Scotch is generally lighter and less peaty. Speyside distilleries tend to produce malty, sweet scotch, whilst Islay use the most peat, producing very smokey whiskies with a dry finish.
Choosing a Scotch for you
Of course, you need to decide which flavors you prefer when it comes to your drink. Seek advice from your local shops and tell them what you do and do not like so that they can find you a whisky that fits your preferred flavor profile.
If you’re just starting out trying scotch, then you might want to try a light coloured bottle that will have sweet flavors, rather than going for an extremely smoky finish straight away. However, if you know that you love the smoky taste then don’t let us stop you from enjoying it!
How much to spend
Generally speaking, this is a drink that gets more expensive if it is older. This is not only due to the process involved in aging the whisky, but because they are likely to be rarer bottles. Whilst it is absolutely not essential to choose a more expensive, aged bottle, you will find that cheaper whiskies may not have the smoothness or richness of a more prestigious pour. It’s also important to check that you are buying a single malt scotch, rather than a blended whisky.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and they help you to pick out your next bottle. Why not make an evening of it with our Scotch Collection? It can feed up to 20 guests so you’re sure to be able to put together a fun party.
What’s your favorite scotch? Let us know in the comments!
Summer Drinks to Enjoy This Weekend
It’s getting warmer and sunnier, so it’s time to think about summer drinks to brighten up your weekends!
We’ve put together a list of some of the best for you to enjoy.
It’s an absolute classic for the summer. Whilst we want robust reds when it’s cold outside, a lovely refreshing rosé in the sun is the perfect thing. We love a Pinot Noir based rosé because they’re packed with strawberry and cherry flavors.
Sangria hails from Spain and can be made with red wine or white wine. A traditional red wine sangria is made with bold red wine, orange juice, brandy or rum, sugar, ice and chopped fruit. It’s one of the best summer drinks to enjoy with tapas dishes. Make a large jug of it to keep all of your guests refreshed.
A mojito is one of the easiest summer drinks to make up ahead of a party. Muddle together lime juice, fresh mint, and sugar, before adding ice, white rum and a dash of soda water. You can add berries like raspberries or strawberries to create an even fruitier mojito. Mix up a punch bowl of this before an event and you won’t need to spend all evening mixing up drinks.
This is a cocktail to savor in the summer. It has bitterness from the Aperol and sweetness from Prosecco. If you haven’t had one of these before, mix one up this weekend! Mix equal parts of Aperol and Prosecco over ice. Top with a dash of soda water and add a slice of orange. In Venice, they even add an olive on a stick!
Sometimes you need to whip up something alcohol-free for your summer table. Iced tea ticks all the boxes with citrus flavors and sweetness. The simplest way to make it is to cool strong tea with some sugar and lemon slices, but you can add different fruits and herbs for different flavors. We love peaches, orange, or mint.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our suggestions for summer drinks. Which will you be making this summer? Let us know in the comments!
Choosing the Perfect After Dinner Cocktail
Earlier this week we brought you our recommendations for pre-dinner cocktails. Today, it’s the turn of the post-dinner cocktail. When dinner is finished, you want to be able to move away from the table and continue the party. Creating a batch of after-dinner cocktails is the perfect way to show your guests how welcome they are and ensure the fun doesn’t stop.
Read on to find out what we’re recommending to finish off an evening in style.
1. Espresso Martini
Instead of serving coffee after dinner, serve up a coffee cocktail. Your guests are sure to love them and they’re a great pick-me-up if you’re playing after dinner games.
Shake 1 part coffee, 1 part coffee liqueur and 2 parts vodka over ice. Strain into a martini glass and top with a coffee bean.
2. Mint Chocolate Martini
After dinner chocolates are nothing compared to this quick and easy cocktail. Pair the classic chocolate and mint flavours for a sweet treat.
Simply shake 1 part vodka, 1 part creme de menthe and 2 parts chocolate liqueur over ice. Strain into a martini glass.
3. A Grasshopper
Another cocktail that goes for a hint of mint after dinner. You could even replace dessert with this sweet drink.
Shake 1 part creme de cacao, 1 part creme de menthe and 1 part fresh cream over ice. Strain into a martini glass.
4. Irish Coffee
An espresso martini isn’t always ideal for a cold night. Warm up your guests by making an Irish coffee instead.
Make your coffee how you like it and then add Irish whiskey, a teaspoon of brown sugar and a little cream. Serve this in mugs so that guests can warm themselves up.
5. Porto Flip
This cocktail certainly isn’t for everyone. This is for the more adventurous guest. Port is a traditional after dinner drink but this gives it a twist.
Shake 1 ounce brandy, 1.5 ounces port, 0.5 ounce simple syrup and a whole egg together. Strain it into a highball glass and grate a little nutmeg over the top. Challenge your guests to guess what’s in the drink!
6. A glass of something simple on the rocks
This isn’t a cocktail, but it might be one of the best options after dinner. If you don’t want to be distracted by shaking up drinks and you just want to settle into an evening of easy conversation, then decant some high-quality liquors and serve them up with plenty of ice and glasses.
A glass of great whiskey is sure to please, but you can also serve brandy, port or dessert wine. You could even create a platter with our scotch collection of cheeses.
We hope you have enjoyed our post-dinner cocktail ideas. What do you like to serve and drink after dinner? Let us know in the comments!
6 Pre-Dinner Cocktails to Wow Your Guests
Having previously brought you our top tips for planning a dinner party and how to cater for picky eaters, today we’re continuing with our hosting tips. You always want parties to start with fun, so today we are giving you some pre-dinner cocktail ideas to help make that goal a reality.
We’ve chosen cocktails that can easily be made in a pitcher to serve many guests if you like, although all of them offer customization options. We know that you love tips that cut down on preparation time and it even more important when you’re entertaining.
1. Aperol Spritz
Aperol Spritz has the taste of summer. It’s a perfect cocktail choice if you’re serving Italian cuisine, or even if you’re just ordering pizza!
Pour 3 parts Prosecco and 2 parts Aperol over ice. Finish with a dash of soda water and garnish with an orange slice.
2. Gin Gimlet
This classic has been served before dinner for many years and it couldn’t be easier to make. You could even have a variety of gins on hand and let guests pick their favourite.
Simply pour 2 parts gin with 1 part lime juice over ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
A true classic. There are so many ways to serve a martini, but the basic recipe mixes 5 parts gin with 1 part vermouth. This can be shaken or stirred and garnished with an olive or a twist.
This is another drink that you can serve according to your guests’ liking.
4. Champagne Cocktail
Champagne is the perfect way to make sure that your party starts with a pop! The traditional champagne cocktail is very simple. Put a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, add 2 – 3 drops of bitters, and top up with champagne.
Whilst traditionally a brunch option, they can still work well as a pre-dinner cocktail. Serve a selection of fresh juices so that guests can mix up their own. The classic is one part orange juice with one part champagne, but other citrus juices work well. We especially love grapefruit for a real zing. You can use peach juice to make bellinis and even a green juice can be delicious when topped with champagne!
6. Make your own
Instead of creating a batch of cocktails, put out various ingredients with cocktail shakers and plenty of garnishes. Let your guests create their own cocktails. Make sure you have plenty of glassware on hand, the classic spirits and some unusual ingredients to experiment with. You can even make it a competition!
We hope you enjoy our pre-dinner cocktail recommendations. What do you like to serve to guests before dinner? Let us know in the comments.
Find the Perfect Gifts at Shisler’s Cheese House
Trying to find a gift for that person who has everything? Perhaps you’re heading to the family for the holidays and want to take them a gift to say thank you?
We know how tricky that can be, which is why we put together our gifts boxes. No-one can resist the joy of cheeses, jams, and charcuterie. Take along a bottle of wine and you’re sure to be invited back next year!
Read on to find out all about what’s inside two of our favorite gift boxes and how you can pair them with the perfect wines.
Our Amish Cheese and Goodies collection is a perfect gift for your loved ones this Christmas.
You’ll find a 1Lb. Baby Swiss Wheel, a summer sausage link, a ¾ Lb. wheel each of Colby and Pepper Jack cheese, Shisler’s Private Label Mustard, home style Amish jam, Carr’s crackers, assorted chocolates and 6oz. REACH coffee.
Colby Cheese is very mild and creamy, so it pairs well with light, unoaked white wines such a Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. For red wines, you also want to aim for something light such as a fruity pinot noir.
You might be thinking that it’s impossible to pair a wine with a spicy cheese like Pepper Jack, but you’ll be pleased to find that a rosé will have the sweetness and strawberry flavors to complement the cheese.
One of our other great gifts is the Troyer’s Trail Bologna and Cheese box.
Inside you will find a 1Lb. Troyer’s Trail Bologna ring, a ¾ Lb. wheel each of Colby and Farmer’s cheese and assorted chocolates.
With Farmer’s cheese, try a Riesling or a sweet dessert such as Muscat. The peach tones will sit perfectly with the mild creaminess of the cheese.
You can even find a wine to go with Bologna. We recommend a Malbec which is robust enough to sit alongside the smoky Troyer’s Trail Bologna.
For the sweet-toothed person, you can also find a wine to go with the chocolates. The general rule for this will always be to find a wine that is sweeter than the chocolate. Try dark chocolate with a Merlot and milk chocolate with Sauternes.
We all know someone who really loves cheese, and that’s why we created the Cheese Lover’s Gift Box. This contains a ¾ Lb. wheel each of Cheddar, Cojack, Farmer’s Cheese and Pepper Jack, along with some assorted chocolates. You can see our wine recommendations for Farmer’s Cheese and Pepper Jack above.
Cheddar is a versatile cheese so it stands up alongside lots of different wines. Some of our favorites are an oaky Chardonnay that will bring out the mellowness of the cheese or a vintage port for a real Christmas treat. If you’re presenting to this to someone who isn’t a wine lover, a hard cider or beer will go well with Cheddar.
Try Cojack with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz, as the slightly spicy, peppery notes of the wine will perfectly complement the mild cheese.
Don’t delay, order your gift boxes today!
The Scotch Collection – How to Pair Whisky with Cheese
Want to really wow your guests?
We know that you love to pair wine with our cheeses, and we’ve explored how you might try them with beer, but have you ever thought to pair cheese with scotch?
Read on to find out all about our Scotch Collection and why we think this should be the centerpiece of your next party!
You might not have thought to pair scotch with cheese, but rest assured that it’s a great choice. You’re going to be looking for bolder cheeses with a lot of flavors because these will stand up to the strong flavor of the whisky.
Danish Blue Cheese
Our Danish Blue Cheese has a moderate sharpness and a creamy flavor. Blue cheeses have penicillium cultures added, which create the blue veins that you will see running through the cheese. It is then aged in a temperature and moisture controlled environment like a cave. The unique flavors are best enjoyed at room temperature with fruit and crackers, alongside your scotch.
Gruyere is one of our favorite imported cheeses, originating in the Alpine region between Switzerland and France. It has a sweet, nutty flavor with a slight saltiness. It ages into an earthy, complex cheese. It’s great for baking and melting, as well as served with crackers. If you’re looking to serve something more substantial with your scotch, consider serving a quiche using gruyere, a fondue, or even a French onion soup topped with gruyere croutons.
Cheddar was first produced in England as early as 1170 and originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset. It would be aged in the nearby caves of Cheddar Gorge. It has a sharp, pungent flavor with a firm, slightly crumbly texture. It’s versatile enough to be enjoyed with a huge variety of drinks, including Scotch.
Parmesan is an Italian cheese with a complex, sharp, and nutty flavor. It has a slightly grainy texture and works well with pasta, risotto, or soup when grated. You may not have included it in your cheese boards before, but you can be confident that it’s a great choice. Because of its strong flavor, it pairs extremely well with the strength and smokiness of a good whisky.
Choosing your whisky
To pair with this cheese collection, you are looking to get a scotch whisky, rather than a bourbon. If you have a favorite, then select that or one from the same region as you’re likely to find a similar flavor. If your friends are whisky connoisseurs too, why not ask them to bring a bottle and then you can compare flavors?
If you’re entertaining, this collection should serve up to 20 guests. If you have guests who do not drink whisky, grab some craft beers. The barley flavors of both drinks will work well with the cheeses from the Scotch Collection so no-one will be disappointed. You could also pick up some salty snacks such as nuts, hot mix or chips, and some dark chocolate as a sweet treat. These will pair well with the scotch and give you even more flavors to explore.
Now that you know all about the cheeses, don’t delay. Order our Scotch Collection today.
Our Beer Collection – Try a More Unusual Cheese Pairing Today!
We know that lots of you love drinking wine with our cheeses. We’ve already shared some great pairing ideas for our Red Wine Collection and White Wine Collection. Today we’re going to share something a little more unusual; beers to pair with our Beer Collection!
When pairing beers with cheeses, follow the same principles as a wine pairing. You’re looking for beers that will complement the flavor of the cheese without overpowering it. This collection should serve around 20 guests. Read on to find out which cheeses are included and how you can pair them with beer for a really fun evening.
Our Brick cheese is an American original from Wisconsin. It’s a medium-soft cheese with an easy crumble. Whilst this cheese had a sweet, mild flavor when it is young, it matures into a strong, ripe cheese.
To complement these mature flavors, look for a bold, fruity pale ale. This will stand up to the ripe cheese in the same way that a Sauvignon Blanc might. For a younger cheese, consider a Weiss Beer.
Gouda is a yellow cow’s milk cheese with a wax coating. It undergoes a process known as “washing the curd” which creates a sweet cheese with a slightly crunchy saltiness.
All of this makes it a very versatile cheese for drinks pairings. You’ll also find it in our White Wine Collection for this reason. One great choice would be Helles. This is a German, pale, lager-style beer with a smooth flavor. Alternatively, a beer with caramel notes such as a malty IPA would work well.
Gruyere is a sweet and nutty cheese, which develops a salty earthiness as it is aged from five months to up to a year. This gives it its slightly grainy texture.
Gruyere will pair well with a number of beers but one of the more unusual choices would be a porter. This a dark style of hoppy beer with brown malt. It’s full-bodied, with a roasted flavor that will complement the nuttiness of this cheese. Add a fruity relish for even more flavor.
Ohio Premium Swiss Cheese
Our Ohio Premium Swiss is made in Pearl Valley through a time-honoured process that gives this cheese its distinctive holes and a nutty, bittersweet taste.
A Weiss beer is a great choice for Ohio Swiss as it adds creaminess and complements through the sweetness. This is a beer made with malted wheat in place of some of the usual barley. It produces a beer with low bitterness and some fruity qualities. You could also try Swiss Cheese with a pale ale or craft lager.
Other great cheeses to pair with beers are Limburger or Beer Cheese. We stock both of these cheeses but have chosen not to include them in the collection as they both have a strong smell that might be imparted to the other cheeses in the box. Why not pick them up separately for the ultimate cheese and beer tasting?
Try our Beer Collection today, bring together some friends and have some fun with a cheese and beer evening!
White Wine Collection – Perfect Cheese Pairings for your Favorite Whites
We previously told you all about some of the best cheeses in our Red Wine Collection.
Today, we are going to take you through our White Wine Collection. We’ll show you all of the cheese and offer wine pairing ideas. This collection comes with ample cheeses to serve up to 20 guests. If you’re having a huge celebration this year, why not get both?
Amish Butter Cheese
This is one of our premium local, Ohio cheeses. Amish Butter Cheese is rich and creamy; it certainly lives up to the ‘butter’ in its name! This is a pale cow’s milk cheese with a similar flavor to Havarti. It is ideal for melting, as a snack cheese or as part of a cheeseboard.
An ideal pairing for such a smooth cheese is a glass of Chardonnay. The rich, golden wine with hints of vanilla will sit perfectly with your Amish Butter Cheese.
Wisconsin Brick Cheese
An American original, Wisconsin Brick Cheese is medium-soft, slightly sticky, and crumbles easily. It starts with a sweet, mild flavor, and matures into a strong, ripe cheese. The cheese curds are pressed with clay-fired bricks into a brick-shaped cheese, hence its name.
Try your Wisconsin Brick Cheese with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. This is a full, fruity wine with flavors of citrus, tropical fruits, and floral notes. This will add flavor when eating a young brick cheese, whilst standing up to the strength of an aged cheese.
Gouda is a yellow cow’s milk cheese with a wax coating. It undergoes a process known as “washing the curd”. The milk is heated until the curd separates from the whey, some of the whey is drained, and water is added. This creates a sweeter cheese because of the removal of some of the lactic acid. Gouda originates in the Netherlands, and ours is imported from there, so you know you are getting an authentic cheese.
Gouda’s caramel sweetness, along with a slightly crunchy salt, make it a very versatile cheese for drinks pairings. For white wine pairings, you might find, like some of our other cheeses, that Chardonnay works well. However, if you want to try a variety of wines, then a Pinot Grigio pairs well with Gouda. This light, fruity wine won’t overpower the cheese but will enhance its honey tones.
Amish Country Swiss Cheese
Our Amish Swiss Cheese is made in Pearl Valley, Ohio and we truly believe that it’s the best. It has a nutty, bittersweet taste and the recognizable holes that we expect from Swiss cheese. These are created by natural bacteria used in the process of making the cheese. They consume the lactic acid in the cheese and release carbon dioxide gas which forms bubbles and creates the perfectly round holes.
For wine pairings, try going back to the cheese’s European roots with a Gewürztraminer. This is an aromatic wine that will complement the nuttiness of the cheese. Sometimes it has a little ‘spritz’ to it which gives it a lightness and makes it perfect for a celebration.
If you want to add some extra cheeses to your white wine pairing board, then Gruyere, Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Provolone are all great options.
Pick up our White Wine Collection today!