Prime Pairing - Lemon & Rosemary Vodka Seared Scallops

Lemon & Rosemary Vodka Seared Scallops

While you may have tried pouring a little red wine in your pasta sauce, or a splash of beer in your crockpot, have you ever tried using craft spirits in your cooking?

Spirits can add a whole new dimension of flavor to your dish, and the beauty is, a little goes a long way. Alcohol can help break down proteins in meats (tenderizing), and contribute to new chemical bonds that result in different and complex flavors. With spirits, most recipes call for simmering your concoction, boiling most of the alcohol away, while retaining the flavor of the spirit. So, don’t get too excited. This particular recipe is all bark and no bite.

We used Whistling Hare Vodka for a delicate yet savory dish featuring scallops over zucchini pasta. Whistling Hare’s vodka is distilled using organic blue corn, imparting subtle flavors into the dish. You can find out more about Whistling Hare’s spirits at

Recipe serves two.

Prep: Spiralize zucchini and toss with a minimal amount of olive oil. Dry off scallops, rub with olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper. Squeeze the juice from the lemon and grate the rind for lemon zest. You will need all the juice and a teaspoon of zest.

Game time: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the scallops. Cook both sides until scallops are golden brown.

Once golden, transfer the scallops to a plate. Add the vodka into the same pan and return to medium heat incorporating browned pieces, oil and flavor left from the scallops. Now add the cream, lemon juice, zest and rosemary. Simmer and add 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper for taste. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes and add the scallops back in for a few minutes to warm them. For best results taste after 15 minutes to insure enough alcohol has evaporated, if alcohol presence is still strong, simmer for additional time for desired flavor.

In a separate pan, sauté the zucchini noodles with chopped garlic. For best results do not sauté too long as noodles will become mushy.

Plate the noodles and top with the sauce and scallops before serving.

Optional: Garnish with rosemary sprig and lemon



For the sauce and scallops:

  • 6-8 large sea scallops
  • ¼ cup Whistling Hare Vodka
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 large lemon
  • cayenne pepper
  • rosemary sprig
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Zucchini Pasta:

  • 4 zucchini (spiralized)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil

Pair with - Spiked Cucumber Lemonade

Refreshing and light, this cocktail pairs nicely with the scallops and zucchini pasta. Mix 2 ounces of Whistling Hare Vodka with 4 ounces of lemonade in a shaker with ice. Add cucumber slices and shake. Garnish with a lemon wedge.