Have you ever tried umeboshi? This mouth pluckering pickled plum is a staple in Japanese cuisine, and if you’ve ever ordered a true bento box, it’s that pink thing that comes in the middle of your rice. Pickled in salt and red shiso leaves, there’s a refreshing herbalness to it while also being a complete sour bomb. You might be put off by something sour in your rice but trust me, the more you have it, the more irresistible it becomes.
As much as I love savory cocktails, olives are my worst nightmare, therefore making dirty martinis unbearable. I still wanted to make something savory which is how this Japanese martini came to be. The pinch of salt added at the end completely changes the flavor of this cocktail from something a little too sweet and floral to bright and addicting. My favorite way to consume this is to enjoy both a small piece of umeboshi and a sip of the cocktail at the same time.
As a variation, if you can substitute the umeboshi with pickled cherry blossom flowers. These flowers are usually preserved in salt so no need for the pinch of extra salt. Watch your flowers bloom in the cocktail and enjoy a distinct flavor of sakura mochi with this variation.
- 1 oz gin
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz Cointreau
- 1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liquor
- 1/4 oz water
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 umeboshi
In a stirring glass, combine the gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, water, and maraschino liquor. Add ice and stir for 1 minute. Strain into a coupe and sprinkle a pinch of salt on top. Garnish with an umeboshi (pickled plum).