Drink this with your fresh oysters at Commonwealth Tap on Dec. 19.

Commonwealth Tap, a wine and bourbon bar at 9411 Norton Commons Blvd. in Prospect, will host a Pay It Forward Champagne & Oyster Party on Monday, Dec. 19 from 5-7 p.m.

Sure, the point of the party is to have an early-holiday treat of grower champagne and fresh oysters. But the biggest reason is to turn the profits over to Tap’s four employees as a holiday gift.

According to Tap operating partner Kenny Andreozzi, this is the second such party benefitting its staff. Last year’s turnout was strong, and he and partner Alex Tinker wanted to repeat it. But how to make it unique for customers was the question.

The answer came from a bottle of grower’s champagne that Tinker and Andreozzi enjoyed so much, they bought several cases.

“At that point, we knew we had to figure out how to sell it,” said Andreozzi. “Knowing champagne pairs well with oysters, we thought that would be a good event to have.”

For $20, guests get a glass of R.H. Coutier grand cru grower champagne and three oysters—freshly shucked by Portage House executive chef Paul Skulas—for $20. Deal, right?

And in case you’re wondering what grower champagne is, here’s the short explanation: Grower champagne is made from grapes grown at a single winery located in the region of Champagne. So it’s all about terroir, meaning the soil in which those grapes grew and the specific weather conditions endured by the fruit, and how it influences the flavor of the champagne.

By comparison, large production champagnes like Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot and Perrier Jouet, are made from grapes harvested from multiple vineyards across Champagne. Once pressed and blended, any notion of terroir is virtually eliminated.

(FWIW, I once went to a blind tasting of grower champagnes and big house champagnes, Dom Perignon and Veuve Cliquot among them, and the grower champagnes were unanimously regarded as better than the big names. Better yet, their cost was half the price for the famous brands.)

For oenophiles reading this, the R.H. Coutier is a blend of 75 percent pinot noir and 25 percent chardonnay. And if you really like it well enough to take some home, you can buy it there—not for the regular price of $55 a bottle, but for 10 percent off if you buy the pairing.

But back to the cause: Tap’s owners do this for employees.

“This can be a tough time of year when people need some extra money, especially the people who bust their butts for us all the time,” he said. “It was really successful last time, so we said we’d do it again.

“We also hope that other businesses who see us do this are encouraged to do it for their own employees.”

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Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 25-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass, Whisky Magazine, WhiskeyWash.com and The Bourbon Review. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

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