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REVIEW: #PearlDram – Pop up Oyster & Whisky Bar by @SMWSLondon (31 Pics)


 

CHEATSHEET:
(Psst… Just want to know what you’re drinking?)
Click here for the whisky listing

‘Pearl Dram’ – Pop up Oyster & Whisky Bar by The Scottish Malt Whisky Society
53 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9DG (map)

The Scottish Malt Whisky Society has opened a 4 day pop-up Whisky & Oyster Bar in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden. The bar is serving carefully paired oysters and whisky drams until Sunday evening. In addition to the bar there will be events in the evening held by a pearl dealer, a former editor of ‘The Erotic Review’ and cocktail specialist the ‘Experimental Cocktail Club’

Melissa Hayles from The Mother Shuckers and Joe McGirr from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society mark the start of the native oyster season by soaking an oyster with a Scotch Malt Whisky Society dram.  Tradition has it that the new season’s first oyster from Loch Tarbert, Jura, receives a splash of whisky upon opening. The Pearl Dram Whisky and Oyster Bar celebrating the Scotch Malt Whisky Society 30th anniversary and the new oyster season opens from Thursday 5th September to Sunday 8th September at 53 Monmouth Street. Visit www.smws.co.uk/pearldram for more information.

Melissa Hayles from The Mother Shuckers and Joe McGirr from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society mark the start of the native oyster season by soaking an oyster with a Scotch Malt Whisky Society dram.

To celebrate it’s 30th anniversary and to mark the start of Oyster Season, The Scottish Malt Whisky Society has teamed up with fresh Oyster specialist ‘The Mother Shuckers’ and various other oyster-philes to bring Londoners a pop-up Oyster & Whisky Bar in Covent Garden.

Events include a night of cocktails from The Experimental Cocktail Club holding, Telegraph columnist and former editor of The Erotic Review, Rowan Pelling exploring the mystery behind oysters as aphrodisiacs, and Pearl Expert Juliana Landmann divulging everything you need to know about pearls.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Thursday 6th @ 6pm
Pearl Wisdom with Juliana Landmann

Learn everything you’ve ever needed to know about nature’s most beautiful creation, the pearl, with our Pearl Expert and Dealer, Juliana.

Friday 7th @ 6pm
Food Of Love with Rowan Pelling

Former Editor of The Erotic Review, Rowan Pelling, leads you on a sensory session as she explores the myth surrounding oysters as aphrodisiacs.

Saturday 8th @ 6pm
Cocktails and Crustaceans with The Experimental Cocktail Club

For a truly experimental sensory sensation, we welcome the wonderfully talented chaps from The Experimental Cocktail Club for a special whisky cocktail session.

Pearl Dram - Oyster-porn

Pearl Dram – Oyster-porn

Although I was sure that the conventional wisdom of not mixing brown spirits and oysters would keep Londoners ‘at bay’, I dropped into the venue on Thursday night to find the bar full of bewildering mix of visitors. Everyone from die-hard Scottish Malt Whisky Society members to curious office workers poking their heads through the door to find out what was happening. The crowd was very convivial, lots of strangers striking up conversation, (whisky is social lubrication after all). At one point, several society members seemed to be delivering an ad-hoc sermon on the virtues of single malt whiskies to the curious onlookers and oyster slurpers camped outside in Monmouth Street.

Pearl Dram - Each whisky is paired with a different oyster type

Pearl Dram – Each whisky is paired with a different oyster type

The Oyster & Whisky pairings are available either as trays of three, named “The Maiden Voyage” and “The Salty Sea Dog” (£10 each). Or a complete set of six called “The Ultimate Adventure” (£18). Each pairing comes with oysters specifically chosen to complement each whisky.

Impressively, the event is very well staffed. A wise move as there were lots of visitors with lots of questions. The decor was typically ‘sea-themed’, with nautical lamps and trinkets scattered throughout the venue.

Pearl Dram - This large oyster is called 'Cher' (because she's old and crusty?)

Pearl Dram – This large oyster is called ‘Cher’ (because she’s old and crusty?)

Fortunately you are not left alone to ponder what you’re doing. The Scottish Malt Whisky Society team is on hand to guide you through what you’re tasting and why each dram was chosen for each particular oyster. For oyster questions, The Mother Shucker ladies are on hand to explain the different varieties and were proudly showing off a particularly huge oyster nicknamed “Cher” by some early visitors. (I can only speculate it is because they are both equally old and have the same flakey complexion)

Pearl Dram - How to enjoy whisky and oysters

Pearl Dram – How to enjoy whisky and oysters

The Scottish Malt Whisky is effectively a private members club, with members paying an annual fee to use the members rooms and have the opportunity to buy bottles direct from a single cask. For those who are whisky fans I highly recommend that you speak to the staff behind the bar, they may even let you come to the members rooms for a sneak peak if you ask nicely.

SUMMARY

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of effort and care taken to organise this pop-up. The Scottish Malt Whisky Society seldom holds big public events like this pop-up so it is a very rare chance to meet the team and their whiskies.

If you’re a big whisky fan, try to strike up a conversation with a member, most are very approachable to anyone who shows a passing interest in their favourite drink! If you’re charming enough, you might be invited to visit the society as a guest to sample a few drams… if all else fails, chat to the bar staff and see if there is any chance you can sneak in to have a look at their whisky collection at the members room in Farringdon.

 

CHEATSHEET
(Which whisky am I drinking?)

The Scottish Malt Whisky Society is not allowed to disclose which distillery each dram came from. However, there are enough clues in the descriptions to decipher their numbering system. Their bottles are all numbered with XX.YY where XX = the number of distillery and the YY = the number of the cask. For example. 53.190 means the 190th Cask bottled from ‘Caol Ila’ the 59th distillery.

If you want to look like an expert, here’s a handy cheat sheet to print out and carefully hide behind a tasting glass…

The Maiden Voyage (£18 – all 6 pairings)

73.58 Aultmore Distillery Whisky paired with Duchy Native Oyster
30.77 Glenrothes Distillery Whisky paired with Colchester Rock Oyster
53.190 Caol Ila Distillery Whisky paired with Loch Ryan Native Oyster
77.32 Glen Ord Distillery Whisky paired with Loch Ryan Rock Oyster
4.179 Highland Park Distillery Whisky paired with Dorset Rock Oyster
3.186 Bowmore Distillery Whisky paired with Jersey Rock Oyster

The Maiden Voyage (£10 – 3 pairings)

73.58 Aultmore Distillery Whisky paired with Duchy Native Oyster
30.77 Glenrothes Distillery Whisky paired with Colchester Rock Oyster
53.190 Caol Ila Distillery Whisky paired with Loch Ryan Native Oyster

“The Salty Sea Dog” (£10 – 3 pairings)

77.32 Glen Ord Distillery Whisky paired with Loch Ryan Rock Oyster
4.179 Highland Park Distillery Whisky paired with Dorset Rock Oyster
3.186 Bowmore Distillery Whisky paired with Jersey Rock Oyster

The ‘Pearl Dram’ Bar is open for FOUR DAYS ONLY from 12h00 to 21h00 from Thu 05th to Sun 09th Sep 2013.

THE MOTHER SHUCKERS – OYSTER SPECIALISTS

Melissa Hayes and Theresa Douthwright created ‘The Mother shuckers’ as a pop-up in June 2012. Serving freshly shucked oysters in Notting Hill at £1 each, they then branched out to host pairing events like ‘Oysters Meet Sake’ and ‘Oysters Meet Whisky’.

Fast forward to today and they are preparing Oysters in Covent Garden to a big crowd of whisky fans.

 

Oysters to me have been a relative mystery, Telling the difference between Rock, Native, Colchester, Jersey, Dorset is a little daunting. They do taste very different, so I highly recommend that you have a chat with The Mother Shuckers girls if you want to learn which of these rocky molluscs are most suitable for your palate.

The Mother Shuckers
Ww: www.mothershuckers.co.uk | Tw: @HolyShuck

For full and up to date details visit the Scottish Malt Whisky Society event page: www.smws.co.uk/pearldram

EVENT ORGANISED BY: The Scottish Malt Whisky Society
Open Daily 12h00-21h00 Thu 05-Sep – Sun 09-Sep 2013
Ad: 53 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9DG (map)
Ww: www.smws.co.uk
Tw: @SMWSLondon

NOTE: I have been a long standing member of the Scottish Malt Whisky Society. I have no other link to the organisation for this review.

©2013 Wilkes McDermid
Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission.

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