Kombu Seaweed Martini, whaddaya think?

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kombu seaweed martini

Kombu Seaweed Martini, whaddaya think?

I know I’m really going to have to jump in and get both feet wet when I try to sell this one. After all, I tried to get some version of a seaweed martini into my Savory Cocktails book only to meet total resistance. Still, this drink has its charms and I have to admit I keep coming back to this very simple idea. I’ve made several versions trying to find just how far I can push the envelope. My goal is a savory cocktail you’d want to serve with food, but bright enough to be a quencher too.

At its heart this seaweed martini is basically a classic martini. The demure 3 ounce variety of days long gone by. A classic martini is made with gin (sorry it just is). The aromatic botanicals of juniper, citrus peel and cardamom make gin a natural in savory mixology. In this version I’ve included kombu seaweed-infused sake. Without too much effort the two come together making this sublime martini subtly savory.

Seaweed (particularly) kombu is the very definition of umami (oo-MA-mee). This ‘fifth flavor’ has lately become a hot topic in the culinary world. So I’ll try and describe it. Umami ingredients boost flavor. They make things taste more intense, more rounded, more complete. They satisfy the soul. Umami is the full mouth, tongue coating richness in reduced meat sauce. It’s the intensity of Parmesan cheese. Soy sauce, anchovies, shellfish, toasted nuts, vinegar and sautéed mushrooms are umami flavor boosters. Umami is also that indefinable deliciousness in Miso soup. That deliciousness comes from kombu seaweed-infused broth.

Before you answer my opening question. I just want you to know what I think. I think this seaweed martini is strangely delicious. It’s mildly salty and subtly sweet, it tastes just like the ocean. Now, whaddaya think? GREG

Konbu Seaweed Martini

Kombu Seaweed Martini

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Kombu Seaweed Martini

Ingredients

  • 1 (1-inch square) piece of kombu seaweed (plus a small strip as garnish)
  • 5 (¼-inch thick) slices fresh celery
  • 1 ½ ounce sake
  • 1 ½ ounce London dry gin
  • 2 drop celery bitters

Directions

Place a 1-inch square piece of kombu and the celery slices in the bottom of a small pitcher. Pour in the sake and let the flavors come together for a few minutes (until it just begins to color). Strain the infused sake into a mixing glass half filled with ice, add gin, and bitters. Gently stir until well chilled and properly diluted, about 20 seconds. Julep strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a strip of kombu. Makes 1.