Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Addictive Qualities of Braunschweiger Spread paired with Ginger Almond Brandy

Braunschweiger, a type of German liverwurst, makes a spread so delectable, you may just have to lick the bowl clean. Pair it with a simple drink of brandy, amaretto, and ginger beer.

Growing up, we both ate our fair share of sandwiches, some of them slathered in “spreads.” For Steve, these spreads mainly consisted of Braunschweiger (more on this, in a moment). For Paul, these spreads came from a little can with the Underwood label: Deviled Ham, Roast Beef, White Meat Chicken, and lastly Liverwurst.

Liverwurst. Just saying the word induces scrunched-up noses and guttural utterances of disapproval from many Americans. We just don’t eat a lot of liver today, unless we grew up with a delicatessen diet or had budget-conscious parents who tried to make it palatable by saying “It’s good for you.”

And liverwurst is a tough one to pair with cocktails, especially spirituous ones, which only heighten the alcohol burn and metallic livery flavor.

Enter Braunschweiger Spread, a lighter, yet still rich and creamy, bastard cousin of liverwurst. It’s made of Braunschweiger (essentially fancy German liverwurst) and various seasonings, cream cheese, and other condiments. Literally, Braunschweiger means someone who hails from Braunschweig (Brunswick to English speakers), Germany, where the liverwurst probably was popularized, but if you break it down into two words, it means a Brown Man of Few Words. Perhaps an image of a laconic UPS driver popped into your head. We like to think that this is appropriate, as Braunschweiger Spread delivers without much ado what’s essential: fat to keep you sated, vitamins to keep you healthy, and flavor to keep you eating it.

We make a very simple Braunschweiger Spread that you can whip up in a matter of minutes (after a little shopping at your grocery store). It pairs delightfully with another German: Asbach Brandy. Mixed with some ginger beer and amaretto, it cuts through the rich creaminess of the spread. Make some before dinner tonight (you can have a light salad, for some green balance).

Braunschweiger Spread
(adapted by Cocktail Buzz)

This recipe is forgiving, meaning you can play with the measurements to achieve your desired balance of flavor. Packages of Braunschweiger liver sausage are usually 8 ounces, but save 2 ounces to try on its own with the crackers, paired with the Ginger Almond Brandy drink, to experience the difference.

3/4 tube (6 ounces) Braunschweiger liver sausage
1/2 package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon India pickle relish
1 tablespoons finely diced red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
rosemary crackers (or other varieties of crackers)

Combine ingredients in a food processor or standing mixer. Pulse, or mix on low, until the mixture reaches a desired spreadable state (you don’t want it too smooth or too chunky . . . in between is perfect). Transfer to a bowl. Serve with crackers.

Ginger Almond Brandy
(created by Cocktail Buzz)

1 1/2 ounces brandy (we used Asbach)
1/2 ounce amaretto (we used Lazzaroni)
3 ounces ginger beer (we used Reed’s extra ginger)
cherry of any kind, with a touch of syrup (optional)

Add brandy and amaretto to a mixing glass and stir (or shake, if you prefer) for 15 seconds. Strain into ice-filled double-rocks or highball glass. Top with ginger beer. Add cherry, if you prefer, and give it a little stir.

The retro-inspired Braunschweiger Spread will make your party guests coo with delight.

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