This winning spread brings together elements of two Southern favorites—pimento cheese and Kentucky beer cheese. Alcohol and cheese play together nicely, whether in the Bluegrass staple or the beloved wine-and-cheese-board combo, and here, a bit of bubbly (Champagne, cava, or prosecco) brings its own distinctive taste to the party. The earthy, yeasty flavors of Champagne when sipped pair beautifully with sharp cheeses like cheddar and nutty ones like gouda, so it makes sense to add the effervescent wine right into the cheesy mix. Like the beer in beer cheese, the alcohol, acidity, and carbonation cut through the richness and help disperse all the flavors on the palate.
This recipe has the welcome texture of pimento cheese and beer cheese’s pleasing zing and spice. For ideal texture, blend everything with a hand mixer instead of whirling in a food processor. By grating the cheeses by hand on a grater’s coarse holes and using sliced (instead of diced) pimentos, the ingredients hold their shape during the short beating required to blend. I used Champagne-infused English cheddar for its added fruitiness, but any sharp cheddar will do. Since there is more than a splash of liquid in this mix, using cream cheese in place of the usual mayo keeps the spread sturdy. Serve this with crackers, veggies, and some pickled things and wash it all down with more bubbly!