Bartenders around the world are increasingly using lacto-fermented ingredients in their cocktails, adding unique flavors and a welcome jolt of acidity. With the Super Soup, Natasha Mesa, the bar manager at Deadshot in Portland, Oregon, employs the brine from lacto-fermented green tomatoes in a cocktail inspired by Thai flavors.
Haven’t tried lacto-fermenting at home before? “The process is quite simple,” says Mesa. “Weigh your ingredient, add at least 2% salt by weight [of the food you’re fermenting] and wait. How many days it takes depends on how sour you want the final product to be.”
- 3/4 ounce Plymouth gin
- 3/4 ounce Reyka vodka
- 1 ounce tom yum syrup*
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce coconut milk
- 1 barspoon lacto-fermented green tomato brine**
- 1 ounce ginger beer (to top)
Add all ingredients except the ginger beer into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
Top with the ginger beer.
*Tom yum syrup: Add 4 1/4 cups shrimp stock, 20 grams sliced galangal, 6.7 grams lemongrass (chopped and beat), 6.7 grams whole kaffir leaf, 3.4 grams whole guinea pepper and 25 grams sliced ginger to a pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the solids and return the liquid to the pot. Weigh the broth, and take 2 steps: First, add 3 grams salt and 2 grams MSG, then multiply the weight of the broth (in grams) by .875 and add that many grams of sugar. Gently reheat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
**Lacto-fermented green tomato brine: Set a Mason jar on a scale and tare (set to 0). Add 2 pounds small green tomatoes (around cherry tomato size) and 3 cups water into the jar, ensuring that the water completely covers the tomatoes (adding more if necessary) and that at least 1 1/2 inches remain above the water level. Calculate 3% of the weight of the mixture, and add that quantity of salt to a mixing bowl. Pour the water out of the Mason jar into the bowl, and whisk together the salt and water until the salt has dissolved.
In a sealable quart-size Mason jar, add 4 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed), 1 grape leaf, 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, halved, and 1 tablespoon each of coriander, mustard seed, black pepper and juniper berries. Add the green tomatoes to the jar, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of headspace. Add the salt and water mixture, covering the tomatoes and leaving the headspace. Keep the tomatoes submerged beneath the brine by weighing them down with a water-filled Ziploc bag, a fermentation weight or some other clean object wedged beneath the neck of the jar. Loosely put the lid on the jar and allow to sit and ferment at room temperature for 3 to 12 days. Pressure will build in the jar, so make sure to open it regularly for the first few days of fermentation to allow the buildup of air to escape. Taste it regularly. Once the tomatoes have fermented, remove the weight, tighten the lid and refrigerate.