Earlier this summer, we had a near-constant supply of briny sauerkraut in the SAVEUR staff fridge, as senior editor Karen Shimizu worked on her story for issue #159 about Hawthorne Valley’s marvelous version of the fermented condiment. This led, somehow, to an e-mail exchange between the two of us about ways to use the tangy sauerkraut juice in a cocktail, kicking it off with the idea of mixing it with rye whiskey and serving it in a glass with a coriander and black-pepper rim, a cocktail version of a Reuben sandwich. From there, we spun off into a sandwich-cocktail brainstorm: Cucumber tea sandwiches! Grilled cheese! Fluffernutters!
Turns out our first idea was the best one (not a surprise, when you lend some serious consideration to what a grilled-cheese cocktail might entail), but it still needed some work. Enter our executive editor Betsy Andrews, an ace cocktail-maker who realized that what we needed to balance out the sauerkraut juice wasn’t the perhaps overly-literal choice of rye whiskey; instead, to get that rye-bread flavor, she used caraway-flavored aquavit, and ditched the pastrami rim in favor of a sprig of dill. The result is remarkably well-balanced drink, unapologetically savory and decidedly reminiscent of the pickly, spicy aroma that hits you the moment you step into a classic Jewish deli. The Caraway Fizz was born, and we can’t stop drinking it.