Liquor Stores We Rely On: Wine and Cheese Cask
We write all the time about the bottles we buy, what we think of them, and what we make with them. Every once in a while we give a little credit to the liquor stores where we find those bottles.
Profile of a Liquor Store: Cambridge Wine and Cheese Cask
Class of Store: The Specialist
Location: technically on the Somerville side of the line, on the corner of Beacon and Kirkland/Washington
Best Feature: a wall full of fortified wines
Weakness: limited shelf space for spirits
Long before anyone knew what Gouda was or olives came in anything but cans, Wine and Cheese Cask was quietly opening eyes to the possibility of better things. With its narrow but impeccable selection of strange and wonderful things and clerks who seemed more like collectors than salespeople, Wine and Cheese Cask was for all the world like an old world importer. It was full of big wheels of unfamiliar cheese, beers you’d never heard of from faraway places like Belgium, and dusty bottles of wine being taken out of wooden crates.
With changing tastes and the advent of the internet, time has caught up to Wine and Cheese Cask; its selection isn’t quite the rare glimpse of a bigger world it used to be. But it’s kept its charm. It’s still the perfect place for picking up picnic supplies, and for browsing fortified wines, if you like that sort of thing–which we do.
As far as beverages go, Wine and Cheese Cask has a clear list of priorities: wine first and foremost by far; imported beer second; spirits a distant third. Their somewhat random collection of base spirits is shoved into a corner. Their liqueur selection is thoughtful, but thin enough to fit on a shelf above the beer fridge. But for the cocktail lover there’s a wonderful wrinkle that keeps Wine and Cheese Cask interesting. Their definition of wine includes wine of the fortified variety (and their definition of fortified wine is broad too, including many amari and bitters). So while spirits live in tight quarters, there’s a large, glorious wall of interesting fortified wines.
What could be a more delightful finish to a picnic meal than a bottle of qinquina you’ve never tried before?