We Tried Velveeta's New Veltini. Here's How It Went

With so many bizarre food trends these days, it takes quite a bit to surprise us anymore. Regarding unorthodox cheese creations, we thought the Kraft Mac and Cheese ice cream created by Van Leeuwen in 2021 was just about the strangest mashup out there. So we weren't at all prepared for what Velveeta would bring to the table next. Velveeta has unveiled the "Veltini" — a Velveeta martini created in collaboration with the BLT restaurant group. Naturally, we had a lot of questions, and we were a little concerned that perhaps it's all gone too far this time. Will it be milky like a white Russian? Or thick and orange like drinking a box of pureed Velveeta Shells & Cheese? Does it actually taste cheesy, or is it just playfully garnished? And most importantly, is it any good?

Never one to turn down a lively happy hour (or as the clever folks at Velveeta called it — a "golden hour"), we kept an open mind and headed to the cocktail's unveiling at BLT Steak in NYC. There, not only did we get to taste the Veltini first-hand, but we also learned how it's made, where and when you can find it, and how this unexpected creation came about in the first place. We've collected everything we learned and thought about this first-of-its-kind cocktail, and are ready to tell you what we honestly think of it. Here's everything you need to know about the new Velveeta Veltini.

What's in a Veltini?

This is one of those drinks that you probably want to know what's in it before you commit to taking a sip. Yes, it's really made with Velveeta, but we were impressed to find out that it's a true dirty martini. The drink is made with a Velveeta-infused vodka which must be made in advance. Then it's mixed with dry vermouth and olive brine, just like a traditional dirty martini. The ratio is fairly typical, with 1.5 ounces of infused vodka, 1 ounce of olive brine, and .5 ounce of dry vermouth. Our bartender presented the martini shaken with ice and strained into a martini glass. Knowing that the Veltini isn't straying too far from an established cocktail favorite was comforting enough to keep us curious.

No dirty martini is complete without olives, and the creators of the Veltini took that a few steps further. Instead of blue cheese-stuffed olives, large green olives were stuffed with Velveeta cheese (from the loaf). The olives were then skewered with pasta shells from a package of Velveeta Jumbo Shells & Cheese. Before pouring the cocktail, the martini glass was rimmed with Velveeta cheese sauce from the pouch. 

All of it comes together for an impressively cheesy, playful, and unexpected cocktail presentation. Even though the Veltini has a traditional foundation, you still need to approach this cocktail with a sense of humor and a heavy helping of whimsy.

How is it made?

The vodka used for this cocktail has been infused with Velveeta, which sets it apart from a traditional dirty martini. The Velveeta-infused vodka is created with the relatively straightforward technique of fat washing. But what is fat washing, and how is Velveeta used to accomplish it? Essentially, it works like this: A spirit is mixed with a fat. It can be butter, milk, olive oil, fat rendered from a meat (like duck or bacon fat), or in this case — Velveeta cheese sauce. Both the spirit and the fat need to be at room temperature, or warm enough to be in liquid form. Once mixed, it sits at room temperature for a minimum of eight hours, up to 24 hours, for the most flavor from the fat to infuse with the spirit. Velveeta recommends shaking the vodka mixture every two hours to circulate the flavors.

After the infusion process is complete, the mixture is put in the freezer without being disturbed for at least eight hours. The liquid spirit and fat will separate and the fat will freeze, making it easy to remove. All of the Velveeta solids are strained out of the liquor, through cheesecloth, leaving only the flavor of the cheese and a very delicate orange tint to the vodka. 

While the process is a little time-consuming, it's absolutely something you can tackle at home. All you need is a bottle of your favorite vodka and a pouch of Velveeta cheese sauce.

Where can you find a Veltini?

If you love all things mac and cheese, are skeptical but open to the possibility of a cheesy cocktail, or even if you're just feeling morbidly curious — you too can get your hands on a Veltini. The easiest way to find the cocktail is to head to a BLT Steak or Prime location in New York City, Washington D.C., Charlotte, or The Florentine in Chicago. Visit the bar during the "Golden Hour" between 5 and 8 p.m. and order yourself a Veltini. The cocktails are reported to cost $15 each. It's unclear how long the drink will be available, so if you're curious you'll want to act quickly.

If you aren't in the vicinity of a location that's serving the Veltini, Goldbelly is also carrying a Velveeta Veltini Kit that includes everything you need to make your own cheesy cocktails at home — minus the alcohol. The kit costs $49.95 before taxes and shipping and includes the following: two plastic martini glasses, a 16-ounce gold-plated cocktail shaker, two cocktail picks, two Velveeta coasters, olives, two packs of Velveeta cheese sauce (one for the infusion and one for garnish), one Velveeta cheese loaf, and one box of Velveeta Jumbo Shells & Cheese.

If you just can't wait to try the Veltini, and have the appropriate barware on-hand, a quick trip to the grocery store for all of the Velveeta, olives, and vodka will have you mixing this cocktail together in 24 hours or less.

What can you pair it with?

At the Veltini tasting at BLT Steak in New York, we were greeted with a small variety of bites that paired nicely with the Veltini cocktail. Passed hors d'oeuvres included mini crab cakes, crostini topped with slices of steak, and gougeres stuffed with Velveeta (naturally). These are on the fancier end of the passed snacks spectrum, and if you'd like to tackle them for your own cocktail party, they'd all be great choices.

But we also think that it would be fun to serve less stuffy foods, that play off retro and homestyle cocktail party foods. Pigs in blankets, bacon-wrapped shrimp, or cocktail meatballs are fun and retro pairings with Velveeta. Lobster rolls are an indulgent step up, and remind us fondly of our favorite lobster mac and cheese plates. Fried snow peas are an elevated twist on the classic peas and macaroni dinner. And a crudité platter complete with broccoli florets and Velveeta sauce for dipping is an easy winner. 

Don't be afraid to get weird with it and serve your Veltinis with a slice of fried bacon, or next to a display of molded Jello salad. This outrageous cocktail is clearly made for having fun and pairs well with just about everything.

How does the Veltini taste?

Ultimately, we'll admit that the Velveeta Veltini might not be for everyone, and that's okay. For people who aren't fond of American cheese, or those that don't have a soft spot for boxed shells and cheese, the nostalgic attraction might not be there. But if you like dirty martinis, we think that the Veltini might just surprise you. It's delightfully briny, with a hint of cheddary saltiness that plays off the olive flavor better than we expected it to. The cocktail isn't thick and saucy, or even milky, so you don't have to worry about any unexpected textures. We'd even go so far as to say, that if you tasted the cocktail without knowing what it was, you might think it was simply a curious and ambiguously cheesy dirty martini.

As far as garnishes go, we couldn't get enough. So many people don't like blue cheese, so making Velveeta-stuffed olives is really a stroke of genius. It seemed strange to include cooked Jumbo Shells & Cheese pieces on the cocktail skewer. But after nibbling on one of the vodka-soaked shells, we were impressed — and had the revelation that maybe we should add vodka to our stovetop macaroni dishes from now on. We're also not embarrassed to say that we enjoyed licking the Velveeta sauce off the rim of the glass. It's pretty much just having your cocktail, and your snack at the same time.

If briny dirty martinis aren't your thing, chances are you won't be into this cocktail. If you're more of a gin martini person, there's nothing stopping you from making a Velveeta-infused gin instead of vodka. We wouldn't even be against trying this with a smoky rye, meaty mezcal, or infusing the vodka with bacon or another smoky ham along with the Velveeta. Is it irreverent, outrageous, and borderline insane? Yes. But like so many things, don't knock it till you try it.