24 August, 2023

A quick guide to matching beverages to a Rock Oyster

The epitome of luxury and indulgence has always been Champagne and oysters. The richness and fat of oysters enjoys the acid of a range of beverages from beer to sherry and sake and of course wine. A simple principal is that the beverage should have just enough acid and fruit to complement the sweet glycogen or fat of the oyster and not to overpower the salty and sweet flavours of the oyster.

The reserved fruit and complex acidity of a Chablis is of course a classic accompaniment and so too a Riesling from the Clare Valley or Canberra District. There is a natural symbiosis between the Rock Oyster and the sémillon of the Hunter Valley—a combination that is as obvious from a geographic perspective as it is culinary. An Albariño is another great pairing for oysters, and seafood in general. It has a distinctive salty tang and defined minerality that is a perfect match to the brininess and sweetness of a freshly shucked Rock Oyster.

Equally a minerally Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, a floral vermentino or something a bit different like a Greek Assyrtiko will help enhance your Rock Oyster eating experience.

But wine isn’t your only avenue for a match made in heaven.

Beer is just as satisfying. Either a dark or stout which works with the oyster’s complex umami and sweetness, or a Belgian white, German pilsner or even fruity Australian craft beer style that compliments the oyster’s minerality and brininess.

There is an unlikely oyster beverage combination which is worth trying: Scotch whisky. As unlikely and certainly unorthodox as it sounds, the pairing works. The salinity and mineralisation in Rock Oysters find a home with whisky’s smoky edges, and Islay whisky, which is aged on an island off the coast of Scotland, tends to have a certain saline characteristic.