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That's What Cheese Said: A Marriage Of Grilled Cheese And Cocktails

By Ben Kramer in Food on Apr 1, 2015 3:10PM

Ginther and Pfeiffer's grilled cheeses (Photo by Melissa McEwen)

You can't go wrong with grilled cheese and cocktails. It's a marriage that works and won't fall apart, unlike most marriages in this country. CH Distillery proved that with "That's What Cheese Said," an event that ended up being more than your average white bread and melted American cheese.

With an all-star lineup of Alfredo Noguiera (chef Fredo) of Analogue, Ryan Pfeiffer of Blackbird and Cody Ginther of Girl & The Goat, the trio concocted their own gourmet version of the cheesy classic alongside CH executive chef Bobby Mayo.

Noguiera's grilled cheese (photo by Melissa McEwen)

Each man went their own distinct way, with some going big, like Ginther's recipe which was jam packed with American and pepperjack cheese, hot dog, bacon, cole slaw and potato chips all on smoked fat and pickled mustard seed bread. Pfeiffer opted to keep his simple and on point: pimento cheese and bacon jam on Texas toast.

Noguiera's had an absolute Cajun feel, pairing creole mustard and crispy andouille to give his sandwich a spiciness that rocked with the melted Prairie Pure buterkase and white cheddar. Mayo bucked tradition, substituting bread for crispy potatoes (a pleasant surprise for potato lovers or those who are gluten-free) and added Grafton white cheddar, caramelized onions, sour cream and chives as his inside ingredients.

Mayo's non-standard potato grilled cheese (Photo by Melissa McEwen)

Cocktails were a plenty for the evening and included makings by Chicago native and 2014's Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year (that's pretty good, BTW) Charles Joly. Using CH spirits, Joly crafted two drinks, Apposta and Breakfast Daiquiri. The former had an overall strong citrus flavor, in part from the grapefruit soda and CH London Dry Gin, but an herbiness too, made possible by the thyme.

Breakfast Daiquiri was a deceptive one in the best way. Within its hazy yellow appearance darker, sweeter spirits lay (CH Rum and CH Overproof Aged Rum) providing a solid base for the Dark Matter Coffee Liqueur to come through and shock the taste buds.

Overall, "That's What Cheese Said" ended up being a fun Tuesday night out and not only showed us the possibilities for grilled cheese are endless, but that cocktails and grilled substances can go hand in hand just as much as beer and burgers.