Introducing the Oyster + Beverage Pairing Chart

Connie Lu
May 17, 2020
September 22, 2016

Download the printable version here.

Why we created a pairing chart

We created this chart because as far as pairings go, the general suggestions for oysters blanketed the entire realm. With five edible species in North America, and infinite names and growing locations, not all oysters are alike, and their partners shouldn’t be either.

What makes ours different

What makes our chart different form other pairing charts is the fact that we have broken it down into East and West Coast oysters, along with the general flavor characteristics for each, in order to separate the oysters clearly and easily. 

How we defined the oyster types

The oyster types were defined in the Tasting Wheel research. With the first pairing session last November, it was evident that with wine’s unique ability to have mineral and sweet notes were also similar in the different oysters we were pairing with. As the pairing project continued, we used the same flavor profiles for consistency and ease in the process.

How we chose the pairings

Each session started with the tasting wheel, our oysters, and an industry expert (or in the case of the beer session, three experts). The industry expert was instructed to choose beverages for the five different types of oyster flavors, with the finish area of the tasting wheel in mind. It took a lot of trial and error, but the final pairings were all decided upon unanimously.

How to use the chart

To use the chart, start with the tasting wheel to determine the oyster flavor you are dealing with. Then, look to the various beverage you wish to imbibe. Then, use the tasting notes to guide you to your choice. So, for a Standish Shore and wine pairing, look for a wine on the crisp side that has an acidic sweet twist to it, such as a Muscadet, or even a bone dry Chablis.

 Tasting Tips and Suggestions

  • Taste your oysters naked first. The worst thing to do in a pairing session is top your oysters, as the pairing would be with the garnish instead of the oyster.
  • Try different beverages in the same flavor profile to fine tune your experience, and discover new and exciting combinations.
  • Drink what you like, slurp what you love, and have fun with it.

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