Grassy-Ocean Party in my Mouth

Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough – Mark Twain

This Saturday was National Scotch Day (also National Dance Day!! And most importantly, Lia’s birthday) and given my somewhat forced appreciation for scotch in the past few years, I jumped on the opportunity to sip some scotch and slurp some oysters at the Ballard Annex Oyster House.  No lie, it probably took me about 10 seconds after seeing the event to click BUY BUY BUY.  Impulse shopper.  Blame Costco.

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Seattle sun was shining on the Annex to celebrate scotch and oysters

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Heeeeyyy!! Shuckin’ good times inside!

Luckily, Saturday was another GORGeous day in Seattle, so despite spending a ridiculous amount of time in my car to get to the Annex in Ballard, my music was up and my windows were down (don’t you even think about that godawful ‘windows down’ country song with Nelly) and I arrived early and in a stupendous mood; ready for oysters and prepared for scotch.

Now, I’m not the type to regularly pour a glass of something straight to sip on, but I have made a weak attempt to learn a thing or two about scotch in the past few years…  I own extra large ice cube trays, does that count as a partial attempt?  Probably just more impulse shopping.  But anyways… I often find that once I become interested in something, I am overloaded with opportunities to learn even more about it.  So, after hearing of this sip and slurp event, I grabbed my closest pal who likes scotch and used this sip and shuck event as an excuse to eat oysters, hang out with an old pal, try another restaurant, and have some dranks.

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Classroom equipment for the “students”

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Best students in the class. We’re Asian (honorary blonde Asian in the middle), duh!
And WHY my mouth is open in every photo from this day still baffles me…

When we got to the Annex, I had no clue what to expect, but when we entered the room, it was like entering a food education course.  There was even a piece of paper with sections to take notes on the scotch!  And after they explained how things were going to do down, I was freaking ecstatic!  This was totally my kind of event.

John and Joe

Laying down the guidelines to oyster and scotch tasting

Chef Joe Rieke from the Annex started by walking us through how to truly taste an oyster (apparently chew numbers 5-7 are where the magic happens) and explained that we would taste the oyster, taste the scotch, then taste the same oyster again to see how the flavors paired.  So for each oyster and scotch pairing, Chef Joe and John Ueding (Craft Spirits Manager for Click Distributing) explained the origin, expected smells, tastes, etc.  Did you know that you should sniff your oysters?  I did not.  Mind. BLOWN.

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Good students take good notes

In total, we had four different oyster and scotch pairings that went from the most entry-level to an intermediate.  I was just glad that we didn’t have to sip on any Oban.  My palette can’t handle campfire logs… yet… maybe one day.

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Kumamoto from Taylor Shellfish Farms paired with a Tomatin 12yr – Sherry cask aged single malt

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Totten Inlet Virginica from Taylor Shellfish Farms paired with Angus Dundee – Bourbon cask aged blend

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Treasure Cove from Emerald Acres Oysters paired with Tomatin 18yr – Sherry cask aged single malt

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Olympia from Taylor Shellfish Farms paired with Lagavulin 16yr – Oak cask aged single malt

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Blame the scotch for this blurry photo!

I tried to take notes like a good student, but a lack of food throughout my day, plus a pre-event whisky ginger, and a lot of scotch made my note taking more challenging as the event continued.  It became clear that things were going downhill for our group when one of the explanations from Chef Joe or John was “smells like fresh cut grass” and Angelo’s friend said “oh no, I’m allergic to grass.”  And as most drinking events go, things just continued to get better with the last note that Angelo and I wrote down being “tastes like an old person smells.”  Chef Joe and John did tell us that nothing you wrote down was wrong…

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Oyster bar at the Annex

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Liquor? CHECK. Detached? CHECK. Slurpable? CHECK.

All in all this was an awesome event and the oysters were shucked perfectly; oyster liquor left in shell and oyster properly detached!  Kudos to the shucker at the Annex!!   And who knew that scotch and oysters were a such an amazing pairing?!  Apparently, this guy at knew since he has a nice menu of oyster and scotch pairings, which I will be taking myself through relatively soon.  Oh, and apparently SeattleMet when they coordinated bOYSTERous.  And the guys at the Annex… OK, apparently EVERYONE is in the know, except me.


Eats at Bastille to soak up scotch… And Angelo is dangerously addicted to pork belly.

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Finished the evening with more Treasure Cove oysters (that seriously taste the way the ocean smells) and a wonderfully warm hot toddy

Before we wobbled out to grab some grub at Bastille to soak up the scotch, the guys at the Annex told us they want to hold more classes and the next one is probably going to be oysters and bubbles!  I’m counting the days already and stalking the Annex so I can get tickets!!!  Now, excuse me while I go spend my monthly grocery budget on a few bottles of scotch.