I recently spent a delightful weekend eating and drinking my way through Charleston, SC with my cousin, who I am lucky to also call a great friend. One evening found us at The Grocery for a very interesting and well-executed meal. It had been on my to-visit list for a few months mostly because they pickle and cure in house. You may not know, but i am quite the pickle aficionado. I dabble in the art of pickling and am an avid fan of others who pickle. You should hear me wax poetic about Gisella, our local farmer’s market pickle master. When I heard The Grocery was doing wonderful things in the pickling realm, it moved to the top of my must eat at list. My cousins, aunt, and uncle graciously humored me while I was in town.
I had practically memorized their online menu so I expected to fully enjoy my meal there, but I didn’t expect to squeal with delight while reading…the bar menu. Four words: Dirty Green Tomato Martini. They pickle their green tomatoes before frying them (genius!) and then in another stroke of brilliant, non-wasteful thinking created a delightful cocktail by mixing the green tomato pickling brine with vodka. Trust me when I say our entire party was practically in a swoon over this drink. It’s a little sweet, a little salty, a little spicy, but not at all vinegary.
Since I unfortunately live several hours from The Grocery and can’t visit frequently for a Dirty Green Tomato Martini fix, I pickled my own green tomatoes with the full intent to rip off, errr, recreate both their fried pickled green tomatoes and the martini. If you don’t feel up to pickling yourself, your local farmer’s market probably has its own version of Gisella doing wonderful work with pickled green tomatoes.
Dirty Green Tomato Martini, makes 1 drink
4 ounces vodka
1 ounce pickled green tomato brine
Wedge of pickled green tomato for garnish
Combine vodka and brine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 100 times and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with pickled green tomato wedge.
To get pickled green tomato brine, you have to make pickled green tomatoes. Which are way tastier than I ever imagined. They are delicious fried (think fried green tomatoes meet fried pickles) but equally good straight from the jar. This snack really was a ‘what have we got in the fridge’ concoction, but turned out rather tasty. It was also a good personal reminder for me that virtually any combination of cracker+meat+pickle+cheese=delicious.
Pepperoni, Pickled Green Tomato, & Feta
Um, yeah, so not really a recipe, just combine bits of the pepperoni, green tomato, and feta on top of a cracker and eat.
Anyone having a strong reaction to this post? Totally grossed out by a pickle-based martini or pickled green tomatoes in general? Or are you intrigued and would give it a shot? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!