Perfect Pair

Whiskey and Gouda: a tasty twosome

Valentine's Day didn't turn out as planned? Quit fretting: We have a booze-cheese duo that will keep you warm through the winter and beyond.

The Whiskey, Balcones Brimstone ($50): This Texas-born 100-percent blue-corn whiskey goes all fruity, smoky and just a little sweet under the influence of sun-baked Texas scrub oak (as compared to Scotland's more typical peaty smoke). At 106 proof (53 percent alcohol by volume), it knows how to batten down the hatches for a long winter when paired with this hearty aged cheese.

The Cheese, Lindenhoff Gouda ($24 a pound): It's no wonder Murray's lactose-obsessed cheesemongers had to trek all the way to Europe to track this Gouda down: Hugo and Marije van der Poel's farm is accessible only by rowboat. This Dutch, island-dwelling cheesemaking family has been farming since 1932. Their red-and-black Holstein-Freisian cows produce a grassy summer's milk that in three years' time morphs into an intensely savory Gouda. Its caramel tones are the perfect complement to the whiskey's smoky, salty, powdered-sugar notes.

Whiskey available at Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St. (at E. Fourth St.); 212-674-7500 or astorcenternyc.com

Cheese available at Murray's Cheese Greenwich Village, 254 Bleecker St. (between Leroy and Morton sts.); 212-243-3289 and Murray's Cheese Grand Central, Lexington Ave. (at 43rd St.); 212-922-1540 or murrayscheese.com