Miso Is The Umami Ingredient You Need For Bold Flavor In Your Next Bloody Mary

In the cocktail world, umami is very much "in." When you think of savory bevys, there's probably a good chance that the first drink that comes to mind is the classic bloody mary. This longtime fave has already seen umami facelifts like the "seafood bloody mary" with oyster sauce and lobster claw garnish. Now, we're upping the umami-ante even more with the king of all umami ingredients: Miso. The Japanese condiment made from koji-fermented soybeans is just the funky, salty boost your bloody mary has been missing. Plus, thanks to its fermentation, miso paste stores well in the fridge for a year or even longer, making it a great ingredient to keep on hand for serving last-minute guests a knockout cocktail (or several).

To make it work for your cocktail, simply add a generous spoonful of miso paste to your go-to bloody mary mix recipe and hit it with an immersion blender to thoroughly combine, or transfer the batch to a food processor. Miso paste's peanut butter-like texture will create a richer mouthfeel in every sip. This umami bloody mary is easy to batch to serve a crowd. But, if you only need one or two cocktails to serve yourself and a friend, you could also muddle that miso paste in the bottom of a cocktail shaker with a spoon, then toss in the rest of the ingredients and wet-shake to combine, straining into a highball glass over ice and stirring with vodka to finish.

Umami, that's a punchy cocktail!

A killer cocktail is as much about balance as it is about creativity, so feel free to customize the umami flavor profile to your liking. White miso paste has a lighter, sweeter taste than red miso's stronger funkiness — though either will work well, here. To whip up a from-scratch bloody mary mix that'll complement your miso, you could try combining tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pickle juice, and celery salt. If you prefer a spicier sip, swap the latter three ingredients for tarragon, lime juice, and chili powder. Or, for an ultra-quick, low-prep umami bloody mary mix, you could simply throw some miso paste and V8 Spicy Hot juice in a blender and whizz away. (This would also work great with tequila if a bloody maria is more your style.)

For parties, transfer your miso bloody mary mix to a drink dispenser and serve it beside bottles of vodka and/or tequila, letting guests refill their glasses as they please. You could also set out a spread of different garnishes and let guests dig in. Spicy kimchi, salty caper berries, Castelvetrano olives, pepperoncini peppers, gherkins, pickled jalapeño slices, smoked green beans, or even an entire chicken tender would all make flavorful finishers. Serve your miso bloody mary for brunch with a goat cheese and spinach omelet, salmon eggs benedict, or savory potato pancakes. Or, for an unforgettable cocktail hour, just set out some pimento cheese dip and crackers and let guests graze as they please.