Even though the holidays don't have quite as much shine as they did when we were young, there are certain things about the holidays that we always look forward to: the smell of Houston air below 65 degrees and apple cider. We like the peak season Gala blend, and the alcoholic kind as well.
Now that we are fully stocked on beer and wine, we just so happen to have bottles of Leprechaun cider on hand. The founder of the company is a 22-year old Houston native who began his business before he was even old enough to drink. If self-doubt about your life's accomplishments didn't just inspire you to stake a swig of something, perhaps the dry, subtley sweet apple flavor will.
To go with this delightful winter beverage, we recommend Buttermilk Blue Affinee from Wisconsin. The cheesemakers at Roth Kase aged this rindless blue over six months to enhance its complexity and intensity. We'll also have Marieke Cumin Gouda, which is likewise from Wisconsin. Midwesterners know how to enjoy both their cheese and their winters so we're emulating them this week.
If you've melted any sandwiches recently--wait, of course you have--then perhaps the smoked habanero Cheddar from Beehive will appeal to you. Less well-suited to melting, but a wonderful substitute for Pecorino, the San Andreas is a farmstead sheeps milk cheese from California that will also be in stock.