New Year’s Eve is cause for celebration. From your sparkly get-up to the most stellar (and Instagram-worthy) backdrop you steal a NYE kiss in front of at midnight, the evening should be filled with excitement and romance. While the holiday can be spent at a glittery restaurant or an uber-luxe cocktail bar, some opt for an intimate at-home soirée. To keep things special and unique if you choose the latter, we suggest surprising your guests (or fellow party-goers) with a truly unique appetizer. Pairing bubbly (preferably Veuve Clicquot) with the eponymous aphrodisiac, oysters, is a tried and true practice, but we’re ready to take this briny little treat to a “new year, new you” place.
Though you can’t go wrong with champagne and oysters, Alexandra Shapiro, owner of Flex Mussels, believes bubbles aren’t your only spirited option. Whether you’re hosting or attending, switch things up this year with some salty sweetness in the form of unique libations meeting their equally as unique oyster matches.
Below, Shapiro suggests five unexpected pairing options to ring in the new year with.
Muscadet Paired With Beausoleils
Muscadet is a light-bodied white wine from the French wine producing region of the Loire Valley. I recommend trying Trois Toits Muscadet, its zippy acidity and a nice minerality heighten the delicate flavors of an east coast oyster. A meaty east coast oyster like a mild and smooth Beausoleils from New Brunswick, Canada is perfect for pairing. The intense acidity of the wine cuts through the plump oyster meats without overpowering their delicate flavors.
Chablis Paired With Pickle Point from PEI
Chablis is ideal for oyster pairing. Chablis is grown in cool climates with mineral-rich soil containing actual oyster shells and other marine fossils, making the pairing symbiotic and reminiscent of the ocean. I recommend Domaine Daniel- Etienne Defaix Chablis. I like to pair with East coast oyster with high salinity like a Pickle Point from PEI.
Beaujolais Paired With Totten Virginica
While traditionally less popular, it can be a great wine to pair with raw shellfish. I would serve the red wine slightly chilled to complement the temperature of the oysters. I recommend Domaine de la Chapelle des Bois Morgon which has great structure and shape to stand up to oysters, while also possessing some of the juicier fruit and flinty qualities of Beaujolais. I recommend to pair with Totten Virginica oysters from Washington, which have the brininess and plumpness of an east coast oyster, but pick up some of the brighter, fruitier flavors of west coast oysters.
Sake Paired With Kumamotos
Sake is a Japanese rice wine that complements raw oysters by adding a subtle sweetness without overpowering the delicate nature of an oyster. I recommend Jokigen Red Label Junmai Daiginjo Sake, a medium-bodied sake with wild cherry and herbal notes. West coast oysters like Kumamotos out of Washington pair really well with Sake. Kumamotos has earthy and metallic flavors along with hints of watermelon and cucumber.
Stouts Paired With Shigoku Oysters
Stouts are medium-bodied, hearty beers with a toasted-chocolate sweetness that counters the saltiness of oysters. I recommend a classic Guinness as the beer’s smoothness goes well with the oyster’s texture. I like to pair with larger and meatier mollusks like Washington’s Shigoku oysters which have a creamier flavor and texture.