Caviar and Cocktails: Which Pairing is Right for You?

Here at Haute Caviar, we believe a luxurious dish should be paired alongside an equally elegant cocktail. The roe has a lengthy yet fascinating history that has led to its lavish association around the world. There are so many delicious combinations to pair with your caviar, from ice-cold vodka shots to tea-infused beverages.

Champagne and vodka are two of the most popular drink pairings with caviar. Others include absinthe, gin, rose, and white wine. Many Japanese dishes also feature Icelandic caviar, known as Masago (fish roe), that go exceptionally well with sake or lychee martinis.

While covid-19 may place a halt on some of the fun while we maintain safe social distancing precautions, we are right at the start of the second roaring twenties. We hope that we will all be able to host our own modern Gatsby-style bash serving up the tastiest caviar and cocktails one day soon.

Vodka Pairings

The first spirit that comes to mind while making this list is, of course, vodka. Caviar and vodka are a timeless pairing that has pleased the tastebuds of millions for centuries. Both delicacies have origins in Russia. Caviar was beloved by local fishers and czars alike. It quickly became a part of the nation’s culture since meat was not allowed to be consumed for two hundred days of the year for those following the orthodox religion. Seafood, especially roe, was easily accessible and often served in place of meat. Hence, the rapid growth in the roe’s popularity since the 1260s once endorsed by the Russian Court. What was then considered “peasant food” is now one of the rarest and expensive dishes in the world.

Vodka is the ideal palate cleanser for the roe as its smooth flavor is not too overpowering. The spirit enhances even the most subtle flavors of caviar. A couple of our go-to brands are St.George Spirits Vodka, Hangar 1, Source One and Beluga Vodka. Beluga Vodka is often paired with rare Beluga Caviar. Unfortunately, this type of caviar is not available in the United States, but you can still enjoy this spirit with delectable Osetra.

Champagne Pairings

Bring on the bubbly for your next date night! This classic combination is just what you need for a pleasant taste of luxury. Though pairing champagne with caviar also became common practice in Russia, the cross gained popularity in Paris during the 1920s. It was also very prevalent in the United States, one of the top caviar producers. You were sure to find both served at lively parties and high-end restaurants at the time.

Champagne boasts a crisp and citrusy flavor that balances out the saltiness of fresh caviar. The acidity of the drink also acts as a great palate cleanser in between bites. It is preferred to use brut champagne, such as Dom Perignon. A few possible substitutes for this beverage include dry rose, white wine, or sherry.

Cocktail Pairings

What is more luxurious than an expertly crafted cocktail? Many mixed drinks compliment tasty caviar. While there are no ideal cocktail pairings to enjoy with this dish, there are quite a few representing the eras in which caviar became famous in various parts of the world. Below are a few of the most common cocktails that were served alongside caviar.

Sazerac Recipe:

The Sazerac, one of the oldest cocktails in the world, was crafted by Antoine Peychaud in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1838. This potent cocktail boasts both sweet and herbal notes. Rye whiskey is the preferred spirit for this drink, although cognac or bourbon are possible substitutes. Caviar, much like this lovely cocktail, has a unique history. The roe also began making its debut in the United States during the late 19th century, where it has grown in popularity over the years.

New Orleans was a hot spot for caviar, especially when rare sturgeon was discovered in the Atchafalaya Basin in the 1920s. The delicacy was often served at celebratory events and restaurants. Cajun-style caviar also became a popular dish that is still prepared in the vibrant city today. When visiting the French Quarter, you are sure to find locals and tourists alike sipping on Sazeracs while enjoying the city’s twist on traditional caviar dishes.

Ingredients:

● 2 oz of Cognac or Rye Whiskey

● 1 teaspoon of Pernod

● 2-3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

● Lemon twist

Instructions:

  1. In a mixing glass with ice, add the Cognac and Peychaud’s bitters.

  2. Coat the interior of a chilled glass with Pernod.

  3. Strain into the chilled glass.

  4. Add a lemon twist as garnish.

French 75 Recipe:

This popular cocktail was invented by Harry MacElhone at the New York Bar in Paris during the early 19th century. It seemed to have been possibly inspired by a Belle Epoque era cocktail called “The Champagne Cup,” which originally follows the same recipe without the addition of gin. Caviar was often served with this cocktail since its ingredients enhanced the overall flavor. The combination was also seen as a sign of wealth and even served by famous historical figures like Charles Dickens.

The French 75 was often found in speakeasys during the height of prohibition in the United States. Although, the gin used to make these delectable cocktails was often made in bathtubs. Regardless of its odd origins, the iconic cocktail is still often ordered at bars around the country today.

Ingredients:

· 2 oz of gin (we love Sipsong Spirits or Hendrick’s Lunar)

· ½ oz of fresh lemon juice

· ½ oz of simple syrup

· 2 oz of champagne

· Lemon twist

Instructions:

1. Combine gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice into a shaker and shake until blended.

2. Strain into a champagne flute and top with bubbly champagne or prosecco.

3. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Tea-infused Cocktails:

While this pairing may not be too well known, it is one hundred percent worth a try! Haute Caviar’s founder loves the occasional tea-infused cocktail. In the early days of her career, she managed a champagne lounge that served a plethora of different tea-infused cocktails with Champagne and caviar. With her new venture, she hopes to share this delightful pairing with her customers.

Incorporating tea in your cocktails elevates the overall flavor with botanical, herbal, or fruity notes. It is also a way healthier and tastier alternative to standard mixers like juice or soda. This practice has been employed by mixologists since the early 18th century, particularly in Europe. Tea-infused cocktails were often paired with this delicacy in Paris during the Belle Epoque era, a period of peace and prosperity in France before the outbreak of World War I.