Seafood & Spirits: Craft Cocktails for Your Alabama Seafood Dinner

Whether you’re cooking in your own kitchen or dining out at one of Alabama’s excellent restaurants, a plate full of Alabama Gulf Seafood is a cause for celebration.

And for some folks, a celebration means imbibing a bit.

In recent years, we’ve provided a beer pairings and wine pairings for Alabama Seafood fans who enjoy a glass at dinner. Now we’re expanding our palate to include an array of spirits for those who’d prefer a cocktail or two.

Just like with our beer and wine pairings, though, we’re leaving it to the experts to steer you toward the perfect flavor complements for your local seafood product.

We turned to our friends at John Emerald Distilling Company, a small-batch craft distillery located in Opelika, AL. In fact, they’re the first whiskey distillers in Alabama in over 100 years (since before prohibition!). Today, John Emerald offers a variety of products that also include gin, vodka, and rum.

Jimmy Sharp, master distiller and co-founder of John Emerald Distilling Company, was kind enough to come up with recommendations for five different varieties of Alabama Gulf Seafood dishes. See what’s on the menu, then head to your local package store and pick up a bottle or two of John Emerald!


Spurgeon’s Barrel Aged Rum On The Rocks

The sweet butterscotch notes and the warm oaky finish pairs nicely with a meaty fish. It contrasts/pops with the savory notes of wood-fired grilled shrimp as well.


Elizabeth Vodka Shooters

Pour chilled Elizabeth Vodka over oysters on the half shell, then add a squirt of lemon. Since lemon is already a common addition to raw oysters, the creamy mouth feel of the vodka adds more depth of texture to the oyster.


The Inclement Weather w/ Gene’s Spiced Rum

Equal parts Gene’s Spiced Rum and Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale poured over ice with a lime garnish. The Inclement Weather offers a great balance of sweet and spicy, which pairs fantastically with the buttery notes of shrimp—especially a Royal Red.


The Big Swamp Fizz w/ Hugh Wesley’s Gin

One part Hugh Wesley’s Gin, one part lime juice, orange bitters, two cucumber slices, cilantro, and mint muddled over ice and stirred, topped off with soda water. The strong citrus notes coupled with the subtle notes of anise in the gin balance well with the light, savory flavors of steamed crab.

Anything Fried:

John’s Alabama Single Malt Whiskey On The Rocks

Our John’s Alabama Single Malt Whiskey pairs great with just about anything, but the light, smoky notes stand up nicely with the heavier flavors of any type of fried seafood.

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