Marmite is a condiment that forces one to exercise restraint, and people hate her for it. It’s a thick, yeasty paste that tastes like condensed, slightly burnt soy sauce, and even a modest amount can overwhelm one’s palate and ruin a perfectly good piece of toast. But once you learn to harness its salty power, you’ll have a mighty (vegan) source of deep, dark umami.
Marmite is good in soups, pasta, gravies, and anything roasted, and — because it is one of the most savoury condiments you can buy — it absolutely slaps in savoury cocktails. It’s great in a Bloody Mary, and it can be used to make a vegetarian, sort of faux Caesar or Michelada (which both call for clam juice) by providing a bit of “meatiness” without any meat (or clams). One-eighth of a teaspoon per Bloody, Caesar, or Red Beer should be plenty, but you can always add more, so err on the side of too little. (Too much Marmite is almost impossible to come back from.)
Editor’s Note: Aussies can purchase Marmite online, or find it in local specialty stores.
It also makes a surprisingly nice, absolutely filthy martini, or Marmtini, if you will. Again, you don’t want a lot. Just dip a chopstick in the Marmite, then stir it around in your drink to get the Marmite into solution, where it will provide a nice amber hue and shockingly subtle amount of dark, savoury flavour.
To ensure the Marmite actually makes it into your drink, add it to room-temperature booze before you add any ice. Ice will make the paste seize up, solidify, and cling to your chopstick or measuring spoon. Once Marmite has been dissolved into your beverage, add ice, then shake or stir as usual. Be sure to fine strain through a sieve, however; little blobs of Marmite are not what you want in a martini, no matter how dirty you like ‘em.