Booze and bivalves go perfectly together — who doesn't love having an ice cold beer or cocktail while sucking down some oysters on the half shell at happy hour?
But served together inside a one-and-a-half ounce shot glass? We get it, oyster shooters aren't for everyone, but others adore the salty addition to their favorite libation. The classic approach simply takes a freshly shucked oyster and tops it with vodka and cocktail sauce, but this is Charleston, so you're bound to find some creative spins on the standard preparation. From scotch to Bud Light, hot sauce to horseradish, you never know what you'll find in the oyster shooters at these six Charleston spots.
If you mention stopping for an oyster shooter, most Charlestonians automatically think of Pearlz Oyster Bar, and that likely has something to do with the large quantity of pepper vodka surrounding the oyster, giving clout to the usage of the word "shot." The combination of that and the spicy cocktail sauce might make this one of the more memorable oyster shots out there. Stop by for "Oyster Shooter Thursday" when you can test out the concoction for just $4.
Down the road on East Bay Street at Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, find an award winning oyster shooter that tastes like a miniature, extra strong Bloody Mary. The eatery combines a house infused lemon and pepper vodka with Bloody Mary mix and hot sauce before adding the final freshly shucked touch. If you stop in on a day when bar manager Vince Lendacki is working, it's your lucky day, as the bar manager is known for coming up with creative spins on the spot. At this year's Charleston Wine + Food Festival, Lendacki teamed up with next door neighbor Pawpaw to create an oyster shooter with fried chicken skins.
Darling Oyster Bar, located in the heart of King Street, puts shrimp and lobster in their Bloody Marys, so they have experience with sea-themed libations. Grab a seat at their U-shaped oyster bar where staff members shuck away right in front of you — one of these locally sourced raw oysters will eventually find its way into your oyster shot. The bar staff blends three different citrus' to make the in-house shooter sauce daily, adding a bright undertone.
Shem Creek Bar and Grill screams summer, as guests sip drinks waterside while catching a glimpse of the occasional dolphin cruising by. The eatery offers a laid-back version of the oyster shot by combining each bivalve with Bud Light, tabasco, cocktail sauce, and horseradish.
If you're looking for a (slightly) more traditional oyster shot on Shem Creek, head over to Nico Oysters + Seafood where guests have the ability to choose the libation they'd like to mix with their oyster. The original Nico "Tipsy Oyster" features chef Nico Romo's favorite type of liquor, scotch, but due to high demand, the French-themed eatery now allows patrons to mix scotch, vodka, gin, or tequila with a shot of a Bloody Mary before the freshly shucked oyster is added on top.
The Boathouse at Breach Inlet, located on IOP in an old bait shop across the street from the location where the Civil War Hunley Submarine was once launched, offers multiple libations for your oyster shooting enjoyment. Guests can pair their bivalve with one of multiple spirits like Carolina Reaper vodka or top- shelf Patron.
We've all heard the enthusiastic call for "SHOTS!" at one point or another, but this grown up version shouldn't evoke quite the same painful aftermath. There's something summer-y about raising a glass with a small sea creature surprise inside, so make a detour to these Charleston spots the next time you're in need of an adventure.