A wave of spirits is bringing nautical tasting notes into drinkers’ glasses. The first oyster vodka hit shelves last year. The spirit, 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 now developing a gin infused with oysters and kelp that will be released later this year.

Hendrick’s released a limited-edition ocean inspired gin last year. The gin, called Neptunia, is made with coastal herbs and sea botanicals sourced from the Scottish coast, blended to “express the magic of the sea in liquid form,” the brand said. “Hendrick’s Neptunia for me is that freeing feeling of the sea bottled in a gin,” the master distiller said in a statement. As part of the launch, Hendrick’s created an underwater bar in Madrid, Spain, installed on the sand of the ocean floor. While intrepid patrons had to be fully suited in scuba gear and a diving helmet to reach the bar, specially designed scuba tanks let them drink cocktails underwater.

WEB citrons et huitres
Citrons et Huîtres. Photography by Thomas Tissandier

Bars and restaurants are also turning to the sea for inspiration. In Paris, recently opened oyster bar Citrons et Huîtres was designed to create the impression of “diving into an aquarium,” the owners said. The streaked ombre blue walls and domed ceiling evoke feelings of being underwater, and a raw steel façade was informed by the storefronts of local fishmongers.

In New York City, French-Mediterranean restaurant Cathedrale serves a cocktail garnished with a raw oyster and caviar. At The Lonely Oyster, which opened in Los Angeles in September, patrons have the option to add an oyster and caviar bump to their martini and jumbo shrimp to their bloody mary. And Hidden Worlds Entertainment, a startup that hosts immersive dinners to promote planet stewardship and bring awareness to ocean conservation, serves “ocean-positive” cocktails that feature responsibly harvested nautical ingredients like oyster brine.

The Intelligence take

This rise of coastal cocktails is likely being driven by the recent interest in intrepid dining paired with sustainable drinking habits. Expect to see more sea-inspired libations making their way onto menus.

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