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FIOL Prosecco & Parmesan Liqueur | Just what the DOCtor Ordered!

Espresso Martini with parmesan cheese on top, besides a bottle of homemade cheese liqueur

Hello Friends of Cocktails, what do you think about parmesan in your drinks? I know what you’re thinking, that’s so 2023 - and you’re absolutely right. That’s why we’ll add a little Cocktail Time twist to this and make Parmesan Liqueur. We won’t use it in an Espresso Martini though, but something a bit more… sparkly. It will be a cocktail with sparkling wine as its main component, something we don’t see enough out there.

So this year we’ll work to change this with a few episodes where we’ll partner up with our friends from FIOL! They say that when you pour a glass of FIOL, you’re pouring a piece of Italy into your glass. The delicate bubbles, the tantalizing aromas, and the balanced flavors come together to create an experience that’s authentic and enchanting - but it gets even better when you realize that FIOL collaborates with over 2000 wine-making families around Treviso to source Glera grapes!

This makes sure they can go exclusively for grapes that are cultivated with the utmost respect for the land and its preservation, before their wine-maker takes care to balance the final result with the right blend of fruitiness and acidity. So to start our prosecco cocktail journey, I’ll combine the crisp and refreshing effervescence of prosecco with savory cheese and sweet chocolate notes. If you’re looking for something extraordinary, stick around, but you may be asking why we’re going with prosecco in the first place. After all, when you think of sparkly cocktails, champagne usually comes to mind right?

The original “Champagne cocktail” was first created around the mid 1800s. It follows the classic formula, with sugar and bitters, but champagne replaces the spirit and the water part. David A. Embury is pretty critical of this cocktail in his 1948 book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, where he says: “no true champagne lover would ever commit the sacrilege of polluting a real vintage champagne by dunking even plain sugar - much less bitters - in it.”

I’d respectfully disagree, as we made many delicious variations of this cocktail, even adding cognac, whiskey or rum, which all worked beautifully as well. In fact I’m here to tell you that the era of sparkling wine cocktails is here, and not just as a top-up-your-cocktail ingredient! And they don’t have to be old, classic cocktails either. Make it fun, pair it with cheese, but don’t forget about the quality, so let’s take a look into that. It’s Cocktail Time! 

Doctor Giovanni, a cocktail made with FIOL Prosecco, cheese liqueur, allspice bitters and creme de cacao

Parmesan Liqueur

● 135mL · 4.5oz Blended Scotch

● 15mL · 0.5oz Islay scotch

● 33g Freshly Grated Parmesan

● 48g Sugar

● 48g Whey

So to our blend of spirits add the freshly grated parmesan cheese, but avoid using powdered or pre-grated cheese as that contains anti-caking agents such as potato starch and powdered cellulose. Add everything into a sous vide bag, take out as much air as possible and seal the bag with a double seal. Then cook the mixture in a sous vide bath at 65°C for 2 hours. As always, give the bag a mix a few times during cooking. 

In the meantime I'll make some whey. In case you can’t find pure whey at your local supermarket, you can just add 250mL of full-fat milk to a saucepan, bring that to a simmer and add 11g of 6% citric acid solution so it curdles - we did a very similar thing in the Milk Syrup episode. Then to strain out the solids and end up with clear whey, I’ll use a cloth filter. After doing this, enough time should’ve passed for our infusion to be done. 

Cool down the mixture in cold water then place in the freezer to solidify the cheese first. This will make it possible to filter out the liquid through a coffee filter. I ended up with 4oz or 120mL of parmesan scotch . sorry, Scotland. And for every 1oz or 30mL we need to add 12g of sugar and whey. So I added 48 g of sugar, and 48 g of whey, which we made before. Mix this together with a magnetic stirrer, if you’ve already got one, or use a whisk.


Whey adds richness to the liqueur and since it's a by-product of cheese-making it makes perfect sense to use it. If needed you can refilter the liqueur after a few days, when it all settles, but all in all you should end up with about 200mL or 6.33oz of cheese liqueur. If for some reason you need more, you’ll find the Liqueur Calculators here to help you get the amounts right. Let’s first give it a try before going over how to make some White Peppercorn Drops for aroma. Cheers!

You’ll first see it has this nice yellow hue to it. The savory aroma leads into a cheesy, creamy and slightly salty liqueur - it’s kind of hard to grasp that this is in a liquid form. It’s slightly smoky, because of the base that we used, and it pairs wonderfully with the parmesan notes. The aftertaste will linger on your tongue for a long time, but let’s now move onto our next ingredient.

White Peppercorn Drops

● 5g White Pepper

● 45mL · 1.5oz Vodka

Start by crushing the pepper with a mortar and pestle. White peppercorn will pair exceptionally with parmesan cheese, and the other ingredients in the cocktail, so it will be like a spicy cherry on top. So add it to a small jar and cover with the vodka, and let this infuse for 3 to 7 days, depending on how intense you want the drops to be. I had this infusing for 4 days and I think it will be good, after which we’ll filter through a rinsed coffee filter and pour into a small labeled dropper bottle.

Now that we have all the ingredients ready, you’ll want to get them nice and cold, because the cocktail will be served without ice. I’m calling today’s cocktail the DOCtor Giovanni - because it’s just what the doctor ordered. Alongside FIOL & the Parmesan Liqueur you’ll also need a few ingredients we’ve made on the channel before, as well as some chocolate for the garnish. 

DOCtor Giovanni

● 90mL · 3oz FIOL Prosecco

● 7.5mL · 0.25oz Parmesan Liqueur

● 7.5mL · 0.25oz White Cacao Liqueur

● 2 dashes Pimento Bitters

● 3 drops White Peppercorn Drops

● Ruby Chocolate Drops

Let’s start with the garnish by grabbing a chocolate drop with tweezers and melt it slightly from afar with a lighter or a small blow torch, then stick that on the side of the glass. You’ll get this down once you make a few of them, then chill the glass by placing it in the freezer. I’ll add a piece of fresh ice into the glass, to chill the first ingredients a bit more. So over the ice pour all your ingredients except for your FIOL and White Peppercorn Infusion, give this a quick stir to mix and chill the ingredients, then take the ice cube out.

We can now add our sparkling wine. It would be hard to measure it in a jigger due to all the bubbles, but what you can do is use a scale and add 90g or just eyeball it - have fun, be a Fiol! Gently mix ingredients again, then add the final touch: 3 drops of White Peppercorn Infusion, on top of the cocktail. With that we’re ready to give this cocktail a try, saluti!

The cocktail has a spicy and chocolaty flavor. It's interesting how the cheese and chocolate blend together, making it hard to say which one you taste more. FIOL is still the star of the show, and that's exactly what we aimed for with this cocktail - to create richness with an ingredient that’s usually elegant and subtle, without it being overshadowed. Bellissimo!

With that you’ve made it to the Bottom of The Glass. To bring the episode full circle we’ll take a look at how the Parmesan Espresso Martini trend started, and almost ended on National TV. The cheesy twist was first created by a Peruvian bartender, Carlos Ruiz, for a cocktail competition, but the trend blew up a few months later when Jordan Hughes, aka the High Proof Preacher, made a video on it and it went viral. 

Inspired by Jordan, hosts of the Today Show on NBC tried their own version, made with Bailey’s for some reason - not surprisingly, they hated it. If the cheese liqueur ends up going viral I’m available to come and make the cocktail on the show to give it a fair chance, of course. Cheers, Friends of Cocktails! 


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