Cabot Cheddar Shake is "a dehydrated cheese product made of the finest northeastern cheddar cheese," says Paul "PK" Kim, a bartender at Cafe Marie-Jeanne. He'd never heard of the cheese powder before Jacob Huelster of Watershed challenged him to create a cocktail with it. "But I wanted to show respect to it, because I know it's an ingredient that's near and dear to Jacob's heart," he says.
Kim describes the powdered cheese as salty, delicious, and perfect for popcorn. "Everything's better with cheese," he says. Well—maybe not absolutely everything. Getting Cheddar Shake into a form that Kim could incorporate into a cocktail was difficult, he says. He first tried mixing the cheese powder with room-temperature water. "It looked pretty gross," he says. "I found it clumped up."
The solution was to make a kind of simple syrup with the powder. He combined sugar and hot water, added Cheddar Shake, and then put the mixture in the blender before straining it to eliminate the "powdery chunks."
The texture issue solved, Kim moved on to flavor. He experimented unsuccessfully with promotional bottles from the cafe's back bar, including Fireball and several spiced rums. "It does not go well with cake-flavored vodka," he reports. So he turned to the book The Flavor Bible, which lists apples as a good pairing for cheddar cheese. Kim figured that apple pie with cheddar is a "weird but traditional American thing" and went with it. He added apple cider, Calvados apple brandy, and lemon juice to his Cheddar Shake simple syrup, along with an egg white for extra body. "Also—when you see opaque drinks, people accept it when it's egg white," he says. "Not when it's cheese."
He named his orange-tinted drink #NotMyPresident. "It has the essence of apple, a hint of sweetness, but it's a savory cocktail," he says. "I wanted to focus on the ingredient."
Kim has challenged Nicole Brudd of the Revel Room to create a cocktail with Off Color Brewing's Troublesome, a gose-style beer.
One egg white
.75 oz apple cider
.75 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
.75 oz Cabot Cheddar Shake simple syrup
1.5 oz Domaine Dupont Calvados
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shake. Add ice, shake again, and strain into a glass.