View all newsletters
Have the short, sharp Spear's newsletter delivered to your inbox each week
  1. Luxury
  2. Food & Drink
April 28, 2023

The best alcoholic drinks to pair with caviar

Quality caviar is one of life’s great treats – but what should you drink with it? Jonathan Ray explores the ideal tipples

By Jonathan Ray

Times might be hard, but with spring in its beguiling, blossom-laden pomp and summer on its way, we can at least afford to dream.

In my dream I’m sitting on a sun-dappled riverbank, a cloth-covered wicker basket groaning with comestibles by my side, a bottle of fizz chilling in the water and an open tin of Beluga caviar ready to offer my beloved.

What romantic, vinous, culinary joys await!

Select and enter your email address The short, sharp email newsletter from Spear’s
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

The staple of the poor until introduced to the court of the tsars in the 18th century, caviar – the eggs/roe of farmed sturgeon – is now the most expensive and most prized of all foodstuffs, known to its devotees as ‘the food of love’.

It’s pricey because it takes so long before one can harvest the eggs. A Beluga sturgeon can take 10-12 years to reach maturity, while Oscietra takes up to eight.

Happily, dreams occasionally come true, and although I wasn’t on a sun-dappled riverbank at the time, I was lucky enough to enjoy some caviar recently with Laura King MBE, founder of King’s Fine Food, the UK’s largest importer.

Eggs with everything

Having learned to spread the caviar on to the back of my hand with a mother-of-pearl spoon, to let it rest for a bit before licking it off, and to taste it by gently rolling the soft, smooth, salty and meltingly creamy black paste round my mouth, I started to agonise over what drinks I should be knocking back alongside it.

Content from our partners
HSBC Global Private Banking: Revisiting your wealth plan as uncertainty abounds
Proposed non-dom changes put HNW global mobility in the spotlight
Meet the females leading in the FTSE

Laura finds the traditional vodka too alcoholically assertive a partner, although I think Belvedere (see below) is ideal. But then I also found an ice-cold shot of Fishers Smoked Gin from Suffolk and ditto of Nardini’s Acqua di Cedro lemon liqueur both worked wonders.

Caviar drinks
Caviar pairing potentials: Fishers Smoked Gin, Nardini’s Acqua di Cedro lemon liqueur, Kirkland Signature Brut NV Champagne and Pol Roger’s mighty Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill

A Tokaji from Hungary or icewine from Canada are shoo-ins, their fabulous, grapey sweetness contrasting just so with the saltiness of the caviar.

It surely has to be champagne, though, I say, and Laura agrees, surprising me by suggesting Kirkland Signature Brut NV Champagne (yours for £21 from Costco).

She quickly backtracks and plumps for Pol Roger’s mighty Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, and we concur: if you’re flush enough to cut a dash by buying caviar in the first place, you might as well do it properly and buy some fancy fizz as well.

Three of the best partners to caviar

Belvedere Single Estate Rye Vodka, Smogóry Forest, 40% vol

Belvedere Single Estate Rye Vodka, Smogóry Forest

Belvedere launched its Single Estate Rye series to hoots of delight from lovers of proper, grown-up vodka.

Produced using rare Diamond Dankowskie rye but with very different terroirs, they come from Smogóry Forest in the west of Poland and Lake Bartezek in the north-east. This, the former, is full-flavoured, creamy and slightly salty and makes a brilliant match to full-flavoured, creamy and slightly salty caviar.

(£42.90; Master of Malt)

2014 Château Suduiraut, 1er Cru Sauternes, 13% vol

2014 Château Suduiraut, 1er Cru Sauternes

Suduiraut is thought by many to produce wines as fine as, if not finer than, neighbouring Château d’Yquem.

2014 was one of its best vintages, a blend of 95 per cent Sémillon and 5 per cent Sauvignon.

With honeysuckle, ginger, spice and textured confit lemons, it’s perfect with cheeses and puddings but also makes a brilliant partner to savoury starters such as smoked eel, oysters, slabs of foie gras and – best of all – caviar.

(£92; Tanners)

Caviar pairing: 2004 Lanson Noble Champagne, 12.5%vol

2004 Lanson Noble Champagne, 12.5% vol

All too often unjustly overlooked, this prestige cuvée from Lanson – one of the oldest champagne houses, founded in 1760 – is a copper-bottomed belter.

A blend of 70 per cent Chardonnay and 30 per cent Pinot Noir drawn from Grand Cru vineyards only and aged for almost two decades deep in the cellars of Reims, it’s toasty, honeyed and biscuity yet vibrantly fresh too, with plenty of baked apple and zesty citrus.

(£145; Selfridges)

More from Spear’s:

Why Mayfair’s new Michelin-starred Taku restaurant is a sushi-lover’s dream

Select and enter your email address The short, sharp email newsletter from Spear’s
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network