Yes, that’s exactly what that is. It’s a herring martini.
Last week, I found myself at the 2nd Ave Deli, just before closing. I’d flown into New York that day, applied for a social security number, run around various boroughs looking at apartments, and at 11pm, starved and exhausted, I wandered into the deli. I hadn’t been in since opening day, but Jeremy Lebewohl was there, eager for me to try his new creation.
A herring martini is simple. It’s vodka and herring juice and a herring garnish. Lebewohl posesses a steel gut and the curious appetite of a golden retriever out on a walk. He loves herring and vodka, so why not marry the two together?
The result? Well, it’s pictured above, but let me try and describe the taste. At first you get a hint of the sugary brine, burning with that distilled vodka fire, but something fishy lurks underneath. A squeeze of lemon cuts the oils a bit, but when you take that first sip, there’s no mistaking that you’re driking herring juice. I’d say the 1st third of it is enjoyable, a somewhat salty and Omega 3 infused take on a dirty martini, more interesting than olive juice, but also a nice compliment on the vodka’s Russian laced fire.
Still, the second 3rd gets decidedly more fishy (I think the fish juice sinks a bit), and the last 3rd is undrinkable to all but bears and the Dutch.
But try it if you will. No word yet on a p’tcha martini, but I’m sure Jeremy will attempt one if you ask. I’ll stick to scotch.