White Miso Adds An Unexpected Flavor Boost To Cocktails

Long gone are the days when miso was considered an ingredient reserved for soup. Beyond broths, the fermented paste can be used in baking, and more recently, cocktails. Like a liquified culinary experience, many bartenders have turned to the kitchen for inspiration. Drawing from the idea of a "scrap cocktail" where leftovers were repurposed in drinks, Foodable explains that culinary cocktails are now less about reducing waste or cutting costs, and more about creativity. From beet cocktails to Roquefort-laced tipples, it's finally time for miso's moment in the spotlight.

First of all, what is miso? A tangy paste, miso is made by adding koji to soybeans, rice, or barley and allowing the mixture to ferment, notes WebstaurantStore. The longer the fermentation process, the darker and more intensely flavored the paste will become. Of the several miso varieties possible, white or shiro miso is the least aged and, evidently, least pungent. Mild and mellow, it's the perfect foray into miso for those looking to experiment with the ingredient in an unlikely setting, such as mixology.

However, since white miso is still fairly powerful, less is more. According to VinePair, umami-driven ingredients should be used sparingly so as not to overpower a drink. That said, effectively working white miso into the right sort of cocktails can have incredible results.

Delivering the ultimate wow factor by achieving balance

Many ingredients boast umami, however, Atlas Obscura reports that white miso has an especially intriguing duality thanks to its sweet aroma of browning bananas that is contrasted by its surge of salinity and nutty nuances. Consequently, when used in otherwise one-dimensional cocktails, white miso paste can give drinks some much-needed complexity. Additionally, the paste can even create balance when paired with the right ingredients.

According to King Arthur Baking, salty and earthy miso finds its match with sweetly-flavored caramel, overripe fruits, and chocolate — although warm spices like cinnamon or ginger also work. As for how the condiment be worked into cocktail recipes, rather than stirring a spoonful directly into a drink and setting tastebuds askew, white miso paste is best used in an infusion. For instance, it can be combined with liquor and then strained (via Imbibe Magazine) or even used to fat-wash a spirit (via Remy Martin). Alternatively, it can be used to create tinctures or craft a sweet and acidic mixture known as a shrubPunch also shares that miso paste can be introduced to a tipple as a simple syrup, which can add texture, along with a pop of umami. 

A great way to restore equilibrium and revive flavor, white miso paste is one ingredient that's sure to help you get out of your cocktail rut. Just add the umami flavor bomb into a fruity or sugary cocktail and get ready to taste the difference miso can make!