UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL


Ah, Mexico. We went to Cabo San Lucas over New Year's and had a magical time. We were captivated by the sea breeze...

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... the abundantly fresh seafood...

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... tremendous tacos...

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... pristine blue skies...

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... the spirit of adventure...

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And...

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... the Michelada!

Yes, I had a love affair with the Michelada for the first time on this trip and have yearned for it since. We would pack our grocery cart with cases of Tecate, Clamato and limes and we'd be set for the day. The Michelada is the pinnacle of vacation -- day drinking in the sun, by the pool, a glass full of tomato juice and beer. Who knew this would be the essence of umami?!?!

In an effort to recreate the Michelada, I burrowed into our Conbini at Umami Mart, looking for ingredients for this refreshing drink. I came up with a recipe so thirst-quenching that I am calling it the Umamichelada. Here goes!

UMAMICHELADA!

INGREDIENTS

1 can Orion beer
1 oz Inna Tomato Shrub
2 kumquats (or wedges of lime)
Umami Salt for garnish
1 barspoon of Haku Smoked Shoyu

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METHOD

1. Cut two kumquats in half. De-seed. Lay out some Umami Salt onto a plate:

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Honestly, I happened to have kumquats in my fridge and thought they would bring a sweeter dimension to the drink. Limes will do if you don't have kumquats at your disposal.

2. Take a sliced kumquat and line the rim of the glass with its juice:

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3. Stick the glass upside down onto the Umami Salt, to rim the glass:

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4. Add kumquats into the glass:

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5. Muddle the kumquats directly in the glass:

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6. Measure out an ounce of Inna Tomato Shrub into a jigger and pour into the glass, over the kumquats:

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7. Fill the glass with ice:

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8. Pour beer over the ice:

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I had thought about using a fancier Japanese beer, like Hitachino's Saison du Japon or the Kagua Blanc, but decided to stick to the Michelada roots of using a lighter, easy-drinking beer. Orion is really refreshing and perfect for the Umamichelada. Plus, it's in a can!

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Now, Clamato has all sorts of additives in it -- although surprisingly no clams. One of the ingredients of Clamato however is MSG. I wanted to emulate this depth of flavor and had read some Michelada recipes that include Worcestershire sauce. I went ahead and Japanified this by adding our popular Haku Smoked Shoyu. Just one barspoon will do!

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9. Stir:

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10. Sprinkle over some Umami Salt over the drink:

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11. And, Salud!

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Thank you Mexico for my Michelada inspiration! With love from the Umami Mart Familia.

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Photos of our vacation in Mexico by Yoko Kumano.