"When I was growing up, all I would eat with cottage cheese were these really syrupy, densely packed peaches," says Kiel Schelich, bar manager at Eight Bar (the previously nameless bar/restaurant downstairs from Maple & Ash). But when Steve Gleich of Luxbar challenged Schelich to use cottage cheese in a cocktail, his mind didn't immediately go there. Schelich's first thought was to make a drink modeled after a cement-mixer shot, where lime juice is added to Bailey's to curdle it. He quickly rejected that idea and moved on to scotch because, he says, it pairs well with cheese. "For like three days, I was doing scotches, trying to make a sophisticated cocktail with it," he says. "Then I was like, 'It's fucking cheese curds. Why am I overthinking this?'"
That's when Schelich decided to return to his childhood tastes—with booze added, of course. He blended cottage cheese with canned peaches, vanilla ice cream, tequila, and a little mezcal for a peaches-and-cream-inspired milk shake that smoothed out the lumpy cottage cheese. He also made peach Jell-O shots to "get the texture of what would appear to be the cheese curd," he says.
In addition to mixing a Jell-O shot into the drink, Schelich served one as a chaser for the milk shake. He's happy with the cocktail, he says, but acknowledges that cottage cheese can be a divisive ingredient. "I asked my chef, 'You got any ways I can go with this?' He's like, 'I don't even want to know about it.'"
Schelich has challenged Tim Williams of Benchmark to create a cocktail with instant ramen seasoning packets.
Hope on Top
4 canned peach slices
.25 cup Oberweis cottage cheese
1 scoop (about .25 cup) vanilla ice cream
.25 oz mezcal
1 oz tequila
2 peach tequila Jell-O shots*
Put two canned peach slices in a blender along with the cottage cheese, vanilla ice cream, mezcal, and tequila. Blend well, add one Jell-O shot, then blend again for a few seconds. Place the other two peach slices in a glass and pour the shake over the top. Serve with the second Jell-O shot.
*Jell-O shots: Mix one packet of peach Jell-O with one cup of water, then add one cup of tequila. Pour into molds and refrigerate until set.