Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Anna Stockwell

Nothing goes with raw oysters like a martini. Bombay Sapphire gin, a splash of Noilly Pratt vermouth, and a twist of lemon peel, all so cold that ice crystals flirt with existence at the surface. Drink one with a dozen Fanny Bay oysters and feel yourself slide into a crystalline realm of confused bliss. I have to thank Greg Hinton, director of Elliott’s Oyster Bar, for turning me on to this particular form of bliss, but I’ll take all the blame for this next outré innovation: Throw an oyster in the gin! The oyster not only does the work of the olive, providing texture and salt and visual interest, but also covers for the vermouth with its liquor—a variation on the “dirty martini.” In the name of sanity, a small, dainty oyster is the way to go here. It will look a bit like a lab experiment floating in formaldehyde, which isn’t so far from the truth. I like to use a lemon twist, but do what you want—we’ve obviously left tradition far, far behind.


    • 2 ounces (60 ml) gin
    • 1 raw oyster, liquor reserved
    • 1 strip of lemon peel


    1. Pour the gin and oyster liquor into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and let sit for 30 seconds, or longer for a weaker drink.
    2. Run the lemon peel around the rim of a martini glass. Strain the gin into the glass, then twist the peel over the glass to release a drop of lemon oil.
    3. Drop in the oyster and serve.

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