A surge of spirits brings notes from the ocean into drinkers’ glasses. Oyster vodka was the first to be released on shelves in 2000. The energy, created by The Industrious Spirit Company (ISCO), is distilled with “just-hauled-from-the-sea” oysters to impart “a savory and briny seacoast minerality with a subtle hint of bivalve bouquet,” ISCO CEO Manya K. Rubinstein said in a press release. The company is developing an oyster-infused gin and kelp to be released later in the year.
Hendrick’s launched a limited edition gin inspired by the ocean last year. The gin, dubbed Neptunia, is made from sea plants and coastal herbs sourced from the Scottish coast and combined to “express the magic of the sea in liquid form,” the company stated. “Hendrick’s Neptunia, for me, is that freeing feeling of the sea bottled in a gin,” the distiller, a master of his craft, stated in a statement. To celebrate this launch, Hendrick’s built an underwater bar in Madrid, Spain, installed on the sands of the ocean floor. The patrons who wanted to drink there had to be dressed entirely in scuba gear and a diving helmet to access the bar; specially-designed scuba tanks allow them to enjoy drinks underwater.
Restaurants and bars are taking a look at the ocean to get ideas. In Paris, the recently-opened oyster restaurant Citrons et Huitres was designed to give the illusion of “diving into an aquarium,” the owners stated. The blue-streaked walls and ceiling with a domed design evoke the feeling of being submerged, as does the steel-like exterior. The fronts of local fishmonger stores inspired me.
The restaurant is located in New York City; French-Mediterranean restaurant Cathedrale serves cocktails topped with raw oysters and caviar. In the restaurant The Lonely Oyster, which was opened on the outskirts of Los Angeles in September, guests can add an oyster and a caviar bump into their martini or the addition of jumbo shrimp to a bloody mary. Also, Hidden Worlds Entertainment, a startup that offers extravagant dinners designed to encourage environmental stewardship and raise awareness of the need for ocean conservation, offers “ocean-positive” cocktails that feature sustainably harvested marine ingredients, such as oyster brine.
The Intelligence Take
The trend toward adventurous dining and healthy drinking habits will likely fuel the rise of cocktails inspired by the ocean. You can expect to find more alcoholic drinks inspired by the sea appearing on menus.