A Bourbon Expert Says This Is The Ideal Pairing To Balance The Flavor Of Briny Oysters

Loosening oysters from their shell and slurping down the salty meat is an experience that demands a drink to complement its briny, often salty flavor. While lighter, crisp drinks like white wine and champagne are often sipped in between bites, bourbon's richness is the perfect match. We tapped a bourbon expert to tell you the best types of bourbons to drink with briny oysters.

Eating a batch of oysters can often be like sipping a part of the sea; the salinity can often be a tad too much. According to Chris Blatner, founder of UrbanBourbonist, LLC, bourbons with a honeyed taste are the best choice. "I think brinier seafood like oysters benefit from a sweeter Bourbon to give that craveable salty-sweet experience," he explains.

To get the best type of bourbon, Blatner recommends examining both the level of corn in the whiskey, as well as how it's aged. "Bourbons with corn content of mid-70% and higher in their mashbill will work really well. Or Bourbons that have been finished in a toasted barrel can be a really nice pairing," he states. "Toasted barrel finishing often adds some additional sweetness to a Bourbon." For the perfect bourbon that fits the bill, Blatner recommends Michter's US1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon. The bourbon is aged in fire-charred American white oak barrels, giving it sweet notes of caramel, vanilla, and stone fruit.

Match your bourbon to different types of oysters

Not all oysters have an identical flavor. While there's an element of saltiness that they all possess, each type of oyster's taste can come down to regional differences and the water they come from. Even if you're not exactly a bourbon expert, knowing the type of oyster you have can help you match it up with the notes from the best bourbons to drink.

If you're the type to prefer a fruity white wine with your bivalves, pair Kusshi oysters with Booker's 2023-01: Charlie's Batch bourbon. The fresh flavor of Kusshi oysters match the bourbon's lighter taste. Scented with nectarine and clover, this easygoing bourbon features notes of plums and raspberries. For oysters with a deeper flavor, Pacific oysters' buttery taste is for you. Slurp up these oysters with a side of Michter's 10-Year Single Barrel Bourbon. The sweet bourbon is complete with notes of vanilla, maple syrup, dark toffee, and woodsy oak, bringing out the richness of Pacific oysters.

On the other side of the country, Atlantic oysters are much saltier, with an umami flavor that pairs well with something saccharine and honeyed. Garrison Brothers' Lady Bird bourbon matches the depth of Atlantic oysters, except it's sweetened with deep notes of honey and cognac.