Traditionally, the fresh catches that New England has to offer wouldn’t be paired with Whisk(e)y and that’s just missing the boat. Whisk(e)y has a long maritime tradition.

Whether it’s at the picnic table or on the beach where the local ocean fare is being served, whisk(e)y definitely has its place.Instead of cracking open a light beer this summer, try some of my favorite pairings.

Bourbon with Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp

When I travel to Kentucky, my companions and I always joke about not ordering seafood in a landlocked state. However, I do love the bacon. (In fact, one of my life’s truths is “Everything is better with bacon.”)

The combination of bacon, butter-coated shrimp and the vanilla of a single barrel bourbon is perfect. I like Eagle Rare Bourbon 10-year on ice for this pairing.

Fresh raw Oysters and Talisker 18-year Single Malt

This one is long time favorite of my whisk(e)y buddies, we mention this pairing every time we talk about whisk(e)y, the ocean, sailing, trips, food, the weather, the price of tea in China…

Pour small drops of Talisker onto fresh-shucked oysters and that’s it. This whisky has a sweet smokiness that compliments the brininess of the oysters, making this combo not just easy to prepare, but fantastic.

Cedar Planked Salmon with Glen Garioch 1797 Founders Reserve

A good friend of mine, Jay Scenti, told me about this classic pairing.Glen Garioch, pronounced Glen Geery, is a traditionally styled Highland malt, as a matter of fact I reviewed this whisky in a previous issue.You need an “Old School”single malt to stand up to the bolder salmon flavors and this whisky fits the bill. With hints of green apple and a citrus finish, it helps cut the oil of the fish.

Steamed Maine Lobster with Ardbeg 10-year Islay Single Malt

Whoever created this last pairing is a bit of a mystery. I do know that it originated in Maine at a good friend’s house. The rest is a bit hazy. This pairing calls for a half-cup of whisky—a quarter-cup to dump into the steam water and the rest to dump intothe chef (hence the hazy)! In this case,the whisky is an untamed Islay with a good amount of smoke and almost medicinal iodine quality to it. It might not sound great, but trust me, it is!The rich lobster meat plays very well to the more earthy flavors of the whisky.

With these amazing pairings in your repertoire, now you can enjoy some whisk(e)y with your seafood all summer long.

Mix drink of the Moment:

Cool Monkey

2 oz Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt
¾ oz Carpano Antica Formula
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 Luxardo Cherries in syrup
Martini Glass

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir for 20-49 seconds and then strain into a chilled martini glass. Add ½ a stirring spoon of Luxardo Cherry syrup. Garnish with the 2 cherries.