This week, I bring you another delicious fall-themed cocktail: a pickled persimmon martini. This drink is crisp, a little bit savory, and perfect for all your fall celebrations (including Thanksgiving!).
What are Persimmons?
If you have never had a persimmon, you are in for a treat. This fruit hails from Asia, and it is more commonly cultivated in Japan. Persimmons have the most wonderful and delicate aroma and taste like a cross between an apple and a tomato.
When choosing persimmons at the grocery store, try to pick firm, unblemished ones that smell sweet. Fuji persimmons like the ones used in this recipe tend to stay rather firm, so don’t wait until they get soft to eat them or they might rot.
I buy my persimmons from Safeway, so they seem to be more readily available in the U.S. than they were a few years ago. If you absolutely can’t find them, my suggestion would bet to try pickling pears instead. It won’t give you the same flavor profile, but the pears will work with the flavors in the cocktail too.
For this persimmon martini, I decided to flavor my pickling juice with some sweet an savory elements. I chose turbinado sugar because it’s less cloyingly sweet than regular granulated sugar, and I added some black peppercorns and dried Mexican chiles for a subtle hint of heat. It’s by far my favorite pickling juice, so I encourage you to give it a try.
The Dirtiest Martini
Traditionally, a dirty martini involves putting some of the olive pickling juice into the cocktail itself.
I’ve taken this idea and run with it by infusing this persimmon cocktail with some of the persimmon pickling juice. This addition makes the cocktail more savory and briny than usual, so keep that in mind if you do decide to make it.
You will also notice that this martini features spirits not commonly found in a martini like Lillet, an aperitif, and Chartreuse, a herby liqueur.
These ingredients are in the cocktail to balance the vinegar in the pickling juice, so make sure not to skip them.
Pickled Persimmon Martini
This crisp martini is made with gin, Lillet, sherry, Charteuse, and a splash of pickling juice. It's strong, savory, and perfect for any fall celebration.
- For the pickled persimmons:*
- Two firm Fuji persimmons, sliced into ¼ inch rounds and then quartered
- 3 tablespoons turbinado or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 small dried guajillo chile, stemmed, seeded, and torn into chunks
- For the cocktail:
- 1½ barspoons of pickling juice from persimmons (recipe follows)
- A splash of sherry wine
- ¼ oz Lillet
- 2 oz Plymouth gin
- A splash of Chartreuse
- Heavy dash of lemon bitters
- Step 1 At least 24 hours before you intend to make the cocktail, make the pickled persimmons: place the sliced persimmons into a clean 16 oz glass jar. Make sure to really pack the persimmons in.
- Step 2 Place the rest of the pickling ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. As soon as the mixture starts to simmer, take it off the heat and carefully pour it over the persimmons.
- Step 3 Let the mixture cool and place the jar in the fridge. The pickles will keep in the fridge for around 3 months.
- Step 4 To make the cocktail: Place a coupe glass in the freezer for 10-15 min before making your cocktail.
- Step 5 Fill a mixing glass with ice. Place all of the ingredients for the cocktail in the mixing glass and stir until well chilled.
- Step 6 Strain the mixture into the chilled coupe glass and garnish with a slice of pickled persimmon and a piece of dried guajillo chile. Serve immediately.
- Step 7 I recommend submerging the slice of pickled persimmon in your cocktail rather than setting it on the brim of the glass. Otherwise the only aroma you will get when you drink your cocktail will be of the pickling juice.
*The recipe for these pickled persimmons was minimally adapted from Caroline Lange’s Pickled Persimmons on Food52.
- The original recipe for the pickled persimmons suggest peeling them before pickling them. I skipped this step because I don’t mind the taste of persimmon skin. I would recommend that you taste the persimmons with and without the skin before pickling them to decide whether to peel them or not.
Here are other fall-themed cocktails that you might enjoy:
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Also, if you have any questions or just want to let me know that you liked the recipe, please leave a comment below. Hearing from other adventurous home cooks always makes my day!