Gin And Oysters, A Rogue Classic

Fresh Yaquina Bay Oysters at Oregon Oyster Farms.

Fresh Yaquina Bay Oysters at Oregon Oyster Farms.

The classic pairing of gin and raw oysters conjures up images of Don Draper, three-martini lunches and leisurely views of the bay and ocean.

There is something about gin and oysters that is quintessentially cool.

Think about the combination of flavors for a moment. The herbal and floral notes of gin, beautifully complementing the sweet and fresh taste of the oysters. Cool, light and easygoing.

How can something like this be made even better? How about pairing gin and oysters from the same terroir?

We craft our Spruce Gin and Pink Spruce Gin at the Rogue Distillery on Yaquina Bay in our hometown of Newport, Oregon where we are surrounded by seafood. Dungeness crab boats in winter, Pink Shrimp starts in spring, Albacore tuna in summer and fall. But the grandaddy of all of them is the native Olympia oyster of Yaquina Bay.

When harvesting of the oyster beds began in the 1860’s, the entire West Coast was blown away by the amazing flavor, sweetness and freshness of Yaquina Bay oysters. The first year was a free-for-all as competing companies brawled in the oyster beds and argued in court over who had the right to pick these tasty little bivalves. Even the Army was sent in to restore order. By the time things settled down, Yaquina Bay was officially “on the map” and Newport was established a few years later.

Yaquina Bay oystermen in 1890. Photo from Lincoln County Historical Society.

Yaquina Bay oystermen in 1890. Photo from Lincoln County Historical Society.

Fast forward 150 years and we can still get the oysters worth fighting for from our neighbors on the bay, Oregon Oyster Farms. Founded in 1907, Oregon Oyster Farms grows three varieties of oysters on the very same oyster beds that made Yaquina Bay famous. The founders wisely protected the native Olympia oyster from over harvesting and still grow them today.

So here’s how you pair gin and oysters from a shared terroir.

  • Get a bottle of Spruce Gin or Pink Spruce Gin at your favorite bottle shop.
  • Call Oregon Oyster Farms, to place an order for native Olympia oysters. They’ll ship them to you fast and fresh.
  • Start with a sip of gin, slurp an oyster, followed by another sip of gin and then let the flavors mingle in your mouth. Repeat as necessary.

But to really complete the experience, drop by the Rogue House of Spirits in Newport where we pair craft spirits and fresh oysters every day of the week. Plus, you’ll get a view of Yaquina Bay that will even make Don Draper a little bit jealous.


Yaquina Bay Bridge and the recreational fleet as seen from the Rogue House of Spirits.

Categories: Spirits

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