Have I ever mentioned that I’ve mapped out the concept for my first cocktail bar?  As incredibly pretentious as it sounds, the theme is Freudian, fin-de-siecle Vienna, but way more fun and playful than that makes it seem.

I won’t get into it more than that, because I have surely horrified you, but one of my favorite bar snacks from when I lived in Austria, which will certainly be on the menu, is Liptauer, a zesty cheese spread that’s easy to make in advance, and can be served simply.


  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 4 tablespoons capers
  • 8 gherkins, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons course-ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  1. In a food processor, whip the cream cheese and cottage cheese until very smooth.
  2. Add everything but the oil and last 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and blend to incorporate.
  3. Transfer the spread to a quart-size bowl or a half-dozen ramekins.
  4. Drizzle the oil over the top and slap some plastic wrap over it and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  5. Serve cold with crisp bread or crackers and more gherkins. Some people like a little red onion as well.

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