Cheese + Gin: A Perfect Partnership in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

This limited-edition collaboration is the cheese world’s hottest winter ticket

Kat Craddock

By Kat Craddock

Published on December 18, 2020

Among this country’s artisan cheesemakers, there are a few names even non-”cheese nerds” recognize: Cypress Grove Chèvre, Uplands Cheese, Rogue Creamery. Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont, might be at the top of that list. The pasture-to-cave operation nabbed two (two!) of the 20 most prestigious awards at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin this year; in 2019, Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Blue became the first cheese ever to beat out the Brits at the UK’s International Cheese Awards.

In addition to producing its regular star-studded roster, the farm’s founders, brothers Mateo and Andy Kehler, occasionally collaborate with craft breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries to create limited-edition mashups. The duo joined forces with their Vermont neighbor ­Caledonia Spirits three years ago, washing Jasper Hill’s ­popular Winnimere—a spruce-wrapped cow’s milk cheese with an earthy, nearly bacony flavor—in the distillery’s Barr Hill Gin. Though these special releases aren’t widely distributed, they are offered online, but be warned: The fan base is eager. This year, more than a hundred wheels of the “Ginnimere” sold out in under an hour.

Ginnimere has been one of Jasper Hill's most successful collaborations.

This winter, Jasper Hill and Caledonia are switching things up, with a midseason version using the amber-colored, barrel-aged Tom Cat Gin, which lends the cheese a faintly botanical sweetness and even deeper wood notes. So, how do you snag some when it goes on sale in January?

If you follow these guys on Instagram (@jasperhillfarm), poised to snap up a wheel the moment it drops on both companies’ websites, you might get one ($32 per 13-ounce wheel). There is a way to claim your Tom Cat Ginnimere in advance, however, by dipping into Jasper Hill’s monthly Cheese Club. A subscription costs $100 per shipment, and includes three cheeses, plus a few choice accompaniments. The Tom Cat Ginnimere will arrive in the first box of 2021. During the winter’s coldest months, it’s the perfect dessert course, especially when paired with a finger or two of the gin itself.

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