Recipe by Mark Bitterman
Originally published in
Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes
Salting is a way. It’s the path you take. It lets you discover a passage through the brambles, defines the terrain ahead, sets you on a lost trail, and, toward the summit, reveals key ledges and handholds. The better your use of salt, the higher you can climb and the more enjoyable the ascent. And the view from up top is worth it. The Meadow Martini is a diamond-perfect expression of salt’s power to offer the clearest imaginable view of the most magical possible vista. Crushed Tasmanian pepperberries send blossoms of hydrangea crimson into the translucent liquid of the gin, unleashing extravagant botanical flavors. Tasmanian pepperberry (Tasmannia lanceolata) is sometimes used as a substitute for Szechuan pepper, though it harbors none of the heat and frankly bears no resemblance. If you can’t locate any, substitute a few petals of dried hibiscus or just enjoy your martini in its classic perfection, an arc of Shinkai Deep Sea salt as its only embellishment. Shinkai imparts to the lips the felicitous texture of confetti, and the unalloyed flavor of happiness itself.
Gently crush the peppercorns with the flat edge of a kitchen knife. Combine the peppercorns and gin in a glass beaker or jar. Allow the peppercorns to infuse into the gin for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the salt on a flat plate. Rub the rims of two martini glasses with the lemon wedge. Place each glass upside down on the plate to rim it with salt, then place in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.
To make the cocktail, put one scoop of ice cubes in a shaker and strain the gin over the ice. Allow to stand for 15 seconds, then very gently stir for 5 seconds.
Allow to stand for another 15 seconds. Remove the martini glasses from the freezer, gently stir the gin again and strain it into the glasses. Serve.