Challenged by Marta Jean Evans of Longman & Eagle to create a cocktail with miso—a Japanese soybean paste fermented with the Aspergillus oryzae mold culture—Hanna Mutsch of Kuma's Corner was unfazed. "I used to live in Hawaii, and there's tons of Japanese influence there, so I learned a little about Japanese cuisine," she says. "There's tons of different kinds of miso you can use; some of them are fermented forever and they're really pungent."
Mutsch opted to use white miso, which is fermented for only a few weeks and has a milder, sweeter flavor than the more aged varieties (the oldest are fermented for years). She caramelized the miso with honey and sugar, heating the ingredients in a slow cooker for several hours until the mixture turned a deep caramel color, then straining it until it was smooth.
Mutsch had been thinking about caramel apples, and decided to add the miso caramel to mulled cider; in keeping with the Asian theme she used five-spice powder, aniseed, and ginger in the cider rather than the traditional spices. Laird's apple brandy, which is 100 proof, "gives it that nice warming, boozy flavor," she says. Bärenjäger, a German honey liqueur, added a little more sweetness, balanced out by lemon juice.
"The miso gives it a nice earthiness, so it's unusual but still delicious," Mutsch said of the cocktail she named the Miso Honey.
- Melissa Klauda
- Miso Honey
1 tsp warm miso caramel*
.5 oz lemon juice
1.25 oz Laird's apple brandy
.75 oz Bärenjäger
4 oz hot mulled cider
Stir all ingredients together in a mug until the miso caramel is well incorporated (this may take a couple minutes). Shave off a slice of ginger, put it on a bamboo skewer, and garnish.
*Miso caramel: Add one pint white miso, a cup and a half of sugar, and a half cup of honey to a slow cooker and simmer for several hours until the mixture turns a deep caramel color. Strain.
Mutsch has challenged Eric Houser of Parson's Chicken & Fish to create a cocktail with mustard oil.