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Published on October 4, 2023.

Tickle your Tastebuds: Umami

Part 2 of the tastebud series.

Umami, which is also known as monosodium glutamate is one of the core fifth tastes including sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami means “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese, and its taste is often described as the meaty, savory deliciousness that deepens flavor. Umami has crept into our understanding of food in recent years. It is often associated with the earthy flavors of meat, mushrooms, broth, and vine-ripened tomatoes. It enhances saltiness and sweetness, while reducing bitterness, which is why most people love it.

Determining the umami flavor content of a drink involves finding out how much of an amino acid known as glutamic acid there is in it. Umami flavor reaches us by way of glutamate as it lands on the specialized “umami” taste receptors of our tongues. When paired with foods that are also high in umami, you get the incredibly powerful and irresistible ‘double umami effect.’ Sake is a Japanese rice wine and ,in the beverage world, is among the richest in umami, containing much more of the relevant amino acids compared to beer or wine. These acids come from the broken down proteins that can be found in the outer layers of rice grains. Thus, it’s a safe bet that sake incorporating less-polished rice should contain the most umami flavor.

The Dirty Martini is a classic cocktail that has been around since the mid-1800s. It’s a simple yet sophisticated drink that combines gin with a splash of olive brine, giving it a salty and briny flavor, delivering a savoury flavour. The addition of olives also adds a unique umami taste to the cocktail. This drink is perfect for those who enjoy a little bit of dirtiness in their martini. The best part about the Dirty Martini is that it’s versatile and can be made with different types of gin and olives, allowing for a personalized touch. If you’re looking for a cocktail that’s both classic and flavorful, the Dirty Martini is definitely worth trying.

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About the author

Chloe Lewis

Chloe looks after all copywriting and proof-reading for Drink Warehouse UK, working with the Marketing team to deliver educational content to all our customers. She has spent many years in the hospitality sector, moving from behind the bar to now helping venues to stock their own. You can find more from Chloe about beer, cider, spirits, wine, non-alcoholic, soft drinks and RTDs all over our blogs, website, social media and Set The Bar magazine. 

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