Who doesn’t love something to nibble on when imbibing? I certainly do. I normally have a supply of the dough for my mum’s legendary cheese biscuits or Wendy Barrie’s savoury shortbreads in the freezer but on less organised days, then I sometimes have to resort to something shop-brought. Of course, this is a more expensive option but sometimes it’s worth it.
My favourite, go-to cheese biscuits have to be Roka Cheese Crispies, Pea Green Boat Cheese Sables and my latest discovery, Drinks Biscuits from the Drinks Bakery, an Edinburgh based company, which can now be bought online and also on Amazon.
Born from a belief that all great drinks deserve great snacks, Drinks Biscuits are expertly developed to match beautifully with all of Britain’s favourites from beers and wine to gin and whisky.
Founded by Andy Murray in 2016 (no not the tennis player), an appearance in November 2018 on Dragons’ Den raised a joint investment from Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones of £50k, and awards including the Best New Product Made in Scotland 2019, as well as Confectionary, Drinks & Snacking Product of the Year at the Scottish Food Excellence Awards 2019.
Andy Murray, Founder of the Drinks Bakery explained: “Growing up in a food and drink obsessed family where aperitifs from Dad along with something to match from Mum was like a religious ceremony, goes some way to explain where the Drinks Bakery was born.”
Great drinks deserve great snacks
This isn’t far from my upbringing either – which is probably why I loved all of the flavours.
Drinks Biscuits come in four flavours – Parmasen, Toasted Pine Nuts & Basil; Lancashire Cheese & Spring Onions; Mature Cheddar, Chilli & Almond; and Pecorino, Rosemary & Scottish Seaweed, which all come in a 36g size pack.
The range is available in a pack of eight biscuits and cost £1.95 and the soon to be released larger ‘Luxury Sharing’ packs. You’ll probably want the larger pack as it’s too easy to devour the eight biscuits that come in each pack by yourself. Online orders are available for either 8 x 20g Mini Tasting packs at £10.40, 8 x 36g Perfect Serve at £15.60 or 4 x 110g Luxury Sharing Pack at £19.80.
In the name of research, I tried them all
Parmesan, toasted pine nuts & basil – A classic Italian flavour combination, they’ve flavour matched this biscuit to go with: Champagne and Prosecco, fruity white wines; blonde beers, craft lagers and honey beer; and Highland whisky with a slight sweetness and herbal note (e.g. Talisker, Highland Park, Loch Lomond)
Lancashire cheese & spring onion – Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese is combined with English mustard and spring onion to create a full-on fruity profile with a spicy finish. A Ploughman’s with a kick. A robust biscuit, it is flavour matched to go with: strongly hopped craft IPA; Bitter beers; acidic white wines (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc, Picpoul de Pinet); craft stout and pilsner and Speyside cask finished whisky (eg. Macallan, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Ardmore)
Mature cheddar, chilli & almond – This biscuit uses the award-winning St. Andrews Farmhouse mature cheddar from the east coast of Scotland, which is the same one Wendy Barrie uses in her savoury shortbreads, and which she has kindly agreed I can share with our readers.
The cheese is powerful and tangy, providing a long finish and this biscuit pairs really well with Belgian style fruity beers; cask finished craft beers, Riesling and Malbec style red wines, ciders and craft lagers; and peaty, smoky whiskies such as those from Islay.
Pecorino, rosemary & Scottish seaweed – The aromatic, sharp quality of genuine Pecorino Romano cheese shines through, with a balance of sweetness, herbs, spice and a briny edge from Scottish seaweed and works well with the botanicals in a gin and tonic or gin cocktail.
And the winner is . . .
The biscuit serves aren’t the biggest – so it won’t take you long to work your way through them and you definitely won’t want to share.
As a gin drinker, I particularly enjoyed the Pecorino, rosemary & Scottish seaweed, paired with a St Andrew’s Eden Mill Golf Gin & tonic. My dad particularly liked the Lancashire Cheese & Spring Onion, which he said worked perfectly with a can of St Austell Brewer Cornish Saison (M&S), which is gently spiced with ginger, lemon and lime zest.
For those who aren’t sharers or where there’s a crowd and therefore having enough to satisfy everyone is going to work out very expensively, I’d try making your own.
Wendy Barrie, Founder of the Scottish Food Guide, has kindly shared her recipe for Savoury Shortbreads, which I tried last year at an evening reception with the American Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International. I’d even go so far as to say that they beat my mum’s legendary cheese biscuits. Sorry, mum!
- 100g softened butter
- 50g cornflour
- 100g plain flour
- 150g St Andrews Mature Farmhouse Cheese
- ½ tsp salt
- Soften butter in a good-sized mixing bowl. Grate cheese and weigh seasoned flours.
- Work in the cheese with a little flour and gradually work in remaining flour to create smooth pliable dough. Use your hands to bind ingredients so the cheese isn't 'mashed'.
- Evenly divide dough into balls, place on a lined tray and press with a fork to flatten with design.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Allow to cool on tray before moving.