It happened to me on the way home one night. I had just picked up a lobster roll — my first of the season — from Teller’s Chophouse and was so excited to devour every last part of it.
But as I was heading home, I found myself with a dilemma. Usually, I would have picked a nice, light rosé or a sauvignon blanc to sip alongside my decadent meal, but I wasn’t in the mood for wine that evening.
“What kind of cocktail do I make with this?” I thought to myself. Even though I have lots of experience in food and drink, figuring out what to make — outside of a wine cocktail — was giving me a headache.
Eventually, I settled on Oyster Bay Brewing’s Summer Peach, which was exactly what I needed that evening. However, it got me thinking — was there a better pairing for this?
I asked a sommelier, certified beer server and mixologist for their recommendations. So now, we have a drink for that.
“Lobster rolls transform a most beloved crustacean into a journey of flavor and texture. There are a lot of directions that you can take in terms of wine pairing, but I am in the ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ camp,” said Liz Martinez, a sommelier and wine director at Birmingham, MI-based Casa Pernoi.
Martinez explains that the silkiness of the mayo and butter alongside the sweetness of the lobster meat plays nicely with a Chardonnay, whether you’re going cold-style or warm and buttery.
“This wine follows the tradition of being a very pure expression of Chardonnay, by using neutral French barrels, adding just a kiss of creaminess and body to the wine, a natural way to lean in to those creamy components on the roll,” she says.
Martinez notes that the acid and fruit flavors found in this wine will cut the richness of the lobster roll for a perfectly balanced pairing.
Her recommendation: Fel Chardonnay by Cliff Lede.
If a lobster roll is what you’re eating, than Bryan Long, assistant director of food and beverage at Eau Resort and Spa in Palm Beach, FL, and a certified beer server says that a saison is the way to drink.
“There is not much better than an ice cold beer and a lobster roll on a summer afternoon. With lobster rolls being so rich, you have to have a great balanced beer that has the right amount of bitterness with out being over hoppy,” he says.
Long says to look for a balanced beer with a balance of malts, and to look for beers that use more mild hops.
His recommendation: Biscayne Bay’s Siren’s Saison
If a spirit is what you’re craving alongside your seafood sandwich, than there is nothing better than a bit of acid and citrus for a great complement, says Armando Conway, beverage director at Voodoo Bayou in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
“A certain amount of acid is needed to reveal the daring, distinctive, and sexy flavors of crustacean dishes. The refreshing taste of citrus, combined with fruity notes such as melon and/or grapes will perfectly create the ideal libation when shaken up with tequila, mezcal, vodka, or even sake when pairing it with lobster or crawfish,” says Conway.
His recommendation: The Vickey Valencourt, made with vodka and lemon juice. Get the recipe here.