Cocktails and Scharfe Maxx

Scharfe Maxx and a SlingThis week, I’m in Wisconsin for sips and nibbles. And the highlight so far: pairing cocktails with one of my favorite stinkers, Scharfe Maxx, from Studer Dairy in Switzerland. It’s a cream bomb with notes of roasted nuts, caramel, fruit, and herbs. Basically, it’s a picnic with a rind.

Here’s how my brother André and I created two cocktails to commemorate the American launch of Kaserei Studer’s Swiss cheeses in Wisconsin this week, at a media bash hosted by parent company Emmi Roth. Using the ethos of our Sprig+Spirit brand, we envisioned fresh, healthful drinks that picked up on pastureland fragrances, incorporated quality ingredients, and offered a balance of flavors.

Tenaya and Andre of Sprig+Spirit1. We started with gin. We wanted to lead with the herbaceous notes that are so central to Alpine cheeses.

2. We incorporated native spirits. Poires Williams and Kirschwasser, both from Switzerland were easy picks. Both brandies incorporate fruit: Poires Williams is the bottle with an entire pear inside it, and  Kirschwasser (a key ingredient in fondu) is distilled from Swiss cherries.

3. We added layers of aroma and flavor with citrus and garnishes. For our Poire Williams drink, we added fresh lemon and a garnish of spanked rosemary. Pear, lemon, and rosemary work beautifully together, emphasizing herbs and ripe fruit. For our Kirschwasser cocktail, we added fresh lemon and a cherry garnish — emphasizing stone fruit and citrus.

And so we developed two easy sippers. The Mad Maxx and The Bodensee Sling (pictured up top).

Pair either of these two cocktail with big Alpines — especially Scharfe Maxx (aged six months) or Scharfe Maxx Extra (aged 12 months). If you own a copy of my book The Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheeseyou can read about Scharfe Maxx there, too, and find a recipe for one of my favorite sweet bites, The Scharfe Maxx S’more.

Cheesemaker Daniel Studer speaking (in Swiss!) about his cheeses.

Cheesemaker Daniel Studer speaking (in Swiss!) about his cheeses.

Daniel Studer, a.k.a. Mad Maxx himself

Daniel Studer, a.k.a. Mad Maxx himself


The Bodensee Sling (Recipe)

Think tropical fruit and cherries. Pair this Swiss version of a Straits Sling with any big Alpine, but especially Scharfe Maxx Extra — (aged 12 months). We named it the Bodensee Sling after Lake Constance (a.k.a Der Bodensee), near the cheesemaker’s home.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce coco-nib infused Kirschwasser (1 tablespoon nibs per 1 cup Kirschwasser for 1-2 weeks)
  • 1/2 ounce Benedictine
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters (Regan’s)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • quarter of a lemon wheel, for garnish
  • cherry, for garnish

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Spear the cherry and lemon to garnish. Note: you can also serve this drink in a rocks glass over ice.


For the Mad Maxx, click the link to find the recipe on Sprig + Spirit.Mad Maxx Cocktail




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One Response to “Cocktails and Scharfe Maxx”
  1. Allison says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing recap! Look forward to working together again soon!

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