Review: No Joke, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Pastrami-Inspired Martini From Grubhub Is Worth Sipping

Amazon Prime Video hit "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is a bubbly one-hour comedy featuring fast-talking characters at late-night nosh sessions and meticulous set pieces recreating historically accurate dinner tables in 1950s New York. It's also a show about drinking martinis, lots of them. In honor of the series finale (that's right, we only get one more season!), which premieres on April 14, the show is partnering with Grubhub for a limited-edition Maisel Tov Martini kit available for pre-order on the delivery service starting today. NYC mixologist Pamela Wiznitzer developed the pastrami-inspired martinis (as in seasoning — don't worry, these cocktails are meat-free), which are sold through the concept restaurant, The Marvelous Café, a ghost kitchen that appears to be set up inside EJ's Luncheonette on the Upper East Side. 

The Maisel Tov Martini kit comes with everything you might need to make a cocktail at home, as well as a signature selection of entrees so you won't imbibe on an empty stomach. The team sent us a box of our own to taste test the martinis — we'll have to wait along with the public for the food selections —  to give you a preview of what to expect and how to take part in this limited release. 

Food is a central character in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The Maisel Tov Martini package is a savvy nod to the show's deli and cocktail obsession.  "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" plot and characters have always delighted in a gluttonous spread and stiff after-dinner cocktail. The first season opens with soon-to-be stand-up comedy sensation Midge Maisel (The Mrs. in question) skipping the line at the Jewish deli (the real-life Albanese Meats and Poultry) in anticipation of hosting a rabbi she once offended for dinner. The affluent Jewish wife and mother is known for her signature brisket, which she brings to the comedy club nights her husband performs; at least until she finds out he's cheating and, perhaps worse, stole his routine from Bob Newhart. After plenty of cocktails, Maisel takes the stage and discovers her talent and passion for stand-up comedy.

As Midge and her iconic manager navigate the late-night comedy world many of the scenes are held in classic Jewish diners with pastrami sandwiches piled high, elaborate family dinners with a maid filling plates, and plenty of dive bars where a martini might be paired with a hot dog. Part of the fun of the show is the chance for Manhattanites to see a bygone New York, and the sardonic duo, like their food choices, are a mix of high and low.

Inside the Maisel Tov martini kit

We have to admit: Seeing a courier hold a deep magenta gable box on the other side of the front door brought an instant smile. Our kit came with plenty of pink celebratory packing paper — and we hope yours does, too! The inside is also cleverly designed with inserts for the breakables.

The box contains all the ingredients for Maisel Tov Martini, except for ice, including two bottles of cocktail mix (makes two cocktails), two martini glasses, a cocktail shaker, and preparation instructions. The cocktail mixture is a dry gin with caraway-infused dry vermouth. A small kit of accouterments includes two brine-packed olives, mini olive spears, and a pastrami-rub seasoning packet. The cocktail kit also comes with special vegetarian oil in a tiny dropper that uses the ingredients traditionally found in the brine and rubs for pastrami.

The entire Maisel Tov Martini experience includes an entrée with each order. You can choose among three sandwich options on rye: pastrami, corned beef, or turkey with melted cheese and sauerkraut. The vegetarian option includes a stuffed cabbage entrée with mixed vegetables, quinoa, golden raisins, sauerkraut, and sweet-and-sour tomato sauce. Each kit also includes a pickle, a potato knish, and a black-and-white cookie for a complete deli-inspired meal at home.

Availability is limited to Midge's stomping grounds

The Maisel Tov Martini kit is limited in quantity and exclusive in reach: Only folks living in Manhattan can order one of these boxes for delivery. Pre-orders can be made today by using the code "MAISELTOV" at checkout. Delivery takes place from 2:30 to 8 p.m. on either April 14 or April 15. You do pick a preferred date and time for delivery but time slots will fill up due to capacity. You also must be 21 years of age or over and present a valid photo I.D. to the delivery person. There are only 1,000 kits available, so the limited release might go quicker than you think.

The package is part of Prime Video and Grubhub's ongoing "Tune In & Takeout" series, which means that you can expect other meal kits coming down the line for some of the streaming service's popular shows. This year's gable box appears to be the same design from the show's 2019 lunch box release which was sold with tomato juice instead of cocktails.

Fans outside of the Big Apple are still able to recreate the Maisel Tov Martini at home by stocking up on supplies and making their own version of a pastrami-inspired dirty martini. Grubhub, by way of Seamless, is sharing the Maisel Tov Martini recipe in time for the Season 5 premiere on April 14.

Considering what's include, this package offers plenty of value

The entire meal kit with cocktails is available through Grubhub for $29.95 per order, plus taxes, fees, and 20% tip. While we can't vouch for the grub, considering what this combo would cost at other Manhattan eateries, it seems like a downright steal. We don't know where else you could purchase two ready-made martinis, a sandwich or vegetarian entrée, plus a knish, and a cookie for dessert (not to mention some quality barware) on the island or anywhere else for around $40. Granted, couples might need to each order a box separately if they don't want to share a half-pound of meat on rye, but we have a feeling these kits are made with two eaters and imbibers in mind. 

Prime members in the U.S., as well as plenty of credit card holders with bonus perks, are also able to avoid the steep delivery fees from food apps that are increasingly bestowed on diners. Even so, we always anticipate at least $10 extra on any meal delivered in Manhattan.

The signature martini is easy to make

The steps to a Maisel Tov Martini are quite simple: Wash the shaker and glasses before use to avoid any lingering oils from production. Rinse the glasses with water and place them in the freezer to help increased the chill. Spread out the pastrami seasoning on a plate, and open the olives over a dish to catch the brine inside the package to save for later. Use the plastic skewers to spear the olives lengthwise and roll in the seasoning. 

Add one bottle of the cocktail blend into the shaker and add two or three (or more) full droppers of the oil per the directions. Dry shake the mixture to blend the oil as best you can. We had a hard time getting the shaker to separate because it's so new, and definitely spilled some after taking the top off to release the pressure — be patient. After the dry shake, add ice and shake well for up to 10 seconds. 

Remove the lid of the shaker and strain the cocktail into the chilled martini glass. Top with three drops of oil, which are more for decoration. Garnish with the seasoned olive. We recommend tasting the drink and then adjusting the recipe accordingly before repeating these steps for the second martini.  

If you like your martinis dirty, this will impress

Per Grubhub, Mixologist Pamela Wiznitzer created this savory take on the classic gin martini using hints of caraway in the vermouth to tie in the rye bread used in the classic pastrami sandwich. The gin didn't have a distinct taste beyond the hint of juniper, but it is a trusty dry martini in the classic sense; we enjoyed the bite and crisp nature of the blend of spirits. 

The seasoned olive is a nice touch using spices for a pastrami rub: black pepper, coriander, and caraway. The paprika-spiked seasoning smells like red pepper, black pepper, and garlic, which gives off everything bagel vibes. We will say the blend makes the drink quite salty, and one of the olives was a bit soft and tired. Thankfully, the other olive had the sink-your-teeth-into texture that is so satisfying. 

Overall, we didn't get the pastrami flavor in our first martini-making attempt since we misread "two to three drops" instead of the correct "full droppers" of the oil. In the second batch, we added more pastrami oil to the dry shake which provided a more even distribution of the pastrami essence. The flavor is much more salty than savory, but it makes a decent spin on a dirty martini for two. Plus, all the leftover brine from the olives can add to the drink, if that's your style.  

Maisel Tov Martini vs. standard martini

We love the lack of guesswork or mixing for the Maisel Tov Martini kit. The ratio of vermouth to gin tastes like a traditional dry martini with the necessary bite of gin versus a smoother 50/50 mixture. Do we find this is the best-tasting gin we've ever had? No, not really. We couldn't find a brand on the receipt list, but we have a feeling it leans well versus whatever top-shelf liquor that we assume Midge Maisel would be drinking. The spiciness of the drink might win over anyone curious about whether they belong in the martini lovers' camp — but do expect more essence of garlic salt than savory meat if you skimp on the oil. 

People who love martinis tend to be quite particular about the ratios, olive versus lemon peel, dirty versus traditional, and the choices go on. We applaud the adventurous drinkers who are ready to explore a little pastrami essence — and don't skimp on the oil for the full experience. 

If you're fan of the show (and Jewish deli) this is a must-purchase

We found the overall Maisel Tov Martini "experience" to be a fun and flirty activation that matches the energy of the show — and a boozy send-off to drown our sorrows about last season. We also expect most Manhattanites will find the price reasonable for a meal with cocktails delivered to their home. The presentation of the box is really lovely, so even if you've never seen the show, you will likely appreciate the box in its entirety. 

We do find the memorabilia of a metal shaker and tall martini glasses that say "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is more cute than kitsch. Do we need martini glasses with Prime Video and Grubhub logos on them? Not really, but we'll take what we can get. Overall, the shaker and glasses feel quality, so you don't necessarily have to be precious with them if you want backup glasses for the dinner guests you are less than careful with your "nice" things. 

Whether you order the box or make cocktails from scratch, we're happy to raise a glass to fellow New Yorkers like Midge and Susie for one final season. As they would say, t**s up and mazel tov!