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The Ultimate French BBQ with Armorik Whisky de Bretagne

Meat, fire and whisky. It’s often the simple things in life that give us the most pleasure. That’s definitely true for Éclade de Moules, a uniquely French and ridiculously simple method of making the most delicious smoked mussels, perfect for celebrating Bastille Day. It’s been a staple at Whisky Club HQ Friday afternoon BBQs for years but of course it also helps that smoked mussels pair beautifully with single malt!

When David Roussier, Armorik’s CEO unsuspectingly suggested that the whisky he made for us this July, Armorik’s Small Batch Whisky de Bretagne Single Malt, pairs well with mussels “but without cream, the oiliness of the whisky is sufficient”, our first thought was, “Mate, have we got something for you!”.

So, to put him to the test we whipped down the local fishmonger, grabbed some mussels and wheeled out our barrel. Turns out the Frenchman knows a thing or two about food and whisky matching… the oily, sweet Armorik and pine smoked mussels are a match made in heaven!

Definitely try this at home – but only at your own risk! (Abide by fire regulations, practice extreme caution and common sense if you do please)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 x flat wooden board about 40cm x 40cm. Extra points if you have a whisky barrel instead! (Shout out to Sullivans Cove Distillery for the one we used – thanks a million)
  • 4 x nails or wood screws
  • 1kg fresh mussels
  • 1 x pile of dry pine needles
  • Matches
  • Bottle of whisky and glasses
  • Friends to share the moment

Prep time:

No more than 20 mins excluding foraging for pine needles

Let’s do this:

1) First locate some pine trees and collect several handfuls of dry needles, a shopping bag full should be sufficient. In the absence of pine needles, dry grape vines will do. Next hammer the four nails, or screw the screws, into the centre of the board about a centimetre apart as such:

2) Clean and de-beard the mussels and check that they are all closed. Then arrange the mussels on the board, hinge up, starting the centre and using the nails for support. It’s important that the mussels are placed with the hinge upwards, otherwise as they cook and open, all the ash will fall in and ruin them.

3) Cover the mussels with at least 30cm of pine needles and light. The mussels will steam in their own juice under the heat and as they open are infused with pine smoke.

4) Give it a good fan to get the fire going throughout and let the pine needles burn out. This should take about 5 minutes. Check that the mussels have all opened and if not add a few more needles and relight.

5) Fan off the ash and serve with a dram, preferably Armorik Small Batch Whisky Bretagne Single Malt created for The Whisky Club – join the Club now get your hands on a bottle of this singularly spectacular dram!