Briny, savory and basically an appetizer in a glass, the oyster shooter gets its own section of the menu at Founding Farmers in Tysons Corner, VA. The third location of the farm-to-table American restaurant opened in February and offers six varieties of the bivalve-meets-beverage.
The oyster shooter was thought to have been invented in 1860 in a San Francisco restaurant by a gold miner who added oysters, sauces and seasonings to his empty glass of whiskey. They were another option for supporting local product, “and it was something new and different,” explains Founding Farmers beverage director Jon Arroyo.
He starts by selecting the types of spirits in the shooters, and then figuring out appropriate mixers—his favorite is the Spicy Tomato with pilsner. Other oyster shooters include Blood Orange with vodka, Cucumber Mint with sparkling brut, Ginger Grapefruit with gin, Passion Fruit Mint with blanco tequila, and Coconut Pineapple with aged rum. Each shooter is priced at $8; flavors will change seasonally.
Arroyo currently uses local Rappahannock oysters, but he says that the variety is subject to change based on availability and market price. “It must be good quality, [with a] good mouthfeel, and versatile enough to accompany a nice spirit but not be overwhelming.”
The shooter is served separately from the oyster, so guests may sip—or shoot—at their own pace. “If you like oysters, you’ll certainly like them in shooter form,” says Arroyo. “They are also very approachable for those who are new to oysters—flavorful and not overwhelming.”