Crabs and Cocktails: The Perfect Pair

Photo by Kirsten Wellekotter

Photo by Kirsten Wellekotter

Traditionally, wine has been the most notable alcoholic beverage to be used in food pairing, but what if you’re not a wine drinker? As it turns out there are a few liquors that are excellent choices for all types of entrees. In this post we’ll focus on some fabulous cocktails that compliment a few different crab dishes.

Crabs are considered delicate in taste and texture so heavy dark liquor like bourbon or dark rum might drown out the flavor depending on how the crabs are prepared. The Lemon Drop, Tom Collins, or standard Gin and Tonic goes nicely with steamed Alaskan King crab served with melted butter. These cocktails are light, refreshing, and citrusy which doesn’t overpower the taste of the crabmeat, but instead compliment each bite. Keep in mind that the Lemon Drop and Tom Collins contain sugar which will play up the sweetness of the crabs, while the Gin and Tonic is dry and will coax the salty flavor out of the shellfish. If you’re mixing the sweeter drinks at home, make sure you don’t use too much sugar or you risk competing with the seafood rather than complimenting it.

If you’re diving into a cold crab salad, a fruity cocktail like the Cosmopolitan or variations of it including the raspberry Cosmopolitan are a pleasing contrast to the earthy leafy greens and savory crabmeat. Along similar lines, but with a bit of a kick is the Martinez, a gin martini with vermouth and orange bitters. The sharp tangy zing will set off any salad, but a crab salad benefits even more from this classic throwback from the 19th century. Don’t underestimate the potential of a spicy Bloody Mary for this dish as well. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you’re having a salad with white onions, you will want to order a dry cocktail. If your salad contains fruit, a sweet or crisp drink will be more suitable to your palate.servingRemember those heavy dark liquors we mentioned earlier? Well, if whiskey, scotch, or spiced dark rum is your preference, than crab cakes are the way to go! These liquors are also delicious with a surf and turf entrée that consists of lobster and steak or a seafood stew like the bouillabaisse. A Manhattan, Rob Roy, and Roosevelt are all excellent options for meals comprised of zesty herbs and spices. Any one of these liquors on its own over ice is acceptable too. Just like with wine or beer, when you pair cocktails with crab and other seafood dishes the aim is to bring out specific aromas and tastes that either compliment or contrast with the essence of your meal.

The next time you dine with us or stop in to pick up your favorite fish at our seafood market, think about the cocktails you enjoy most. What are the flavors you want to come through in the dish? This will help you decide which to choose from. If you’re still not sure, ask us. We’re always happy to help!

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