Kenton’s, the first New Orleans opening from Sean Josephs and Mani Dawes of NYC’s bourbon-centric Maysville, is equally as impressive, whiskey-wise, as its New York brother. But Kenton's also has an additional bonus attraction: a shiny, brass oyster bar. While your instincts may tell you to consult the wine or cocktail list for an oyster pairing, try turning your attention to the 200-bottle strong whiskey tome instead. It may seem outlandish, but Josephs promises the pairing works. “It combines something sweet with something salty and briny,” he says. Here, a few guidelines for drinking whiskey with oysters.
Younger is better. “There’s so much emphasis on drinking these hard to find bourbons with age on them,” Josephs says. “But they lend themselves the least to being consumed with food—they can overwhelm the subtleties in your dish.” That goes double for mild, nuanced oysters. Josephs recommends opting for bourbons that fall within the three- to six-year age range.
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Don’t get too boozy. “With raw oysters, you want to keep the proof lower,” Josephs says. Try something that comes in at 80 or 90 proof. You’ll still get that warming whiskey quality but you’ll avoid the taste bud-decimating burn of some barrel proof bottles. Something like a Four Roses Yellow Label or Bulleit would fit both of Josephs’s age and proof requirements.