(New York Jewish Week) — The martini kit arrives in a bright pink box. Nestled among strings of hot pink confetti are two martini glasses and a shaker, two olives, toothpicks, two single-serving bottles of gin and vermouth, pastrami oil and pastrami spices.
What’s that? Pastrami? Martini? Together? Yes, you read it right.
The “Maisel Tov” Martini kit is a specialty item dreamed up by the marketing teams of GrubHub and Amazon Prime to celebrate the premiere of the fifth and final season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which airs on April 14. Starring Rachel Brosnahan as the titular Midge Maisel, the series is set in the very-Jewish world of New York City nightclub entertainers in the late 1950s and early ’60s.
The kit is part of a yearlong “Tune In & Takeout” promotion between the two companies pairing foods with popular shows and movies, said GrubHub in a press release.
Crafted by the mixologist Pamela Wiznitzer, the pastrami-flavored martini combines “a taste of Midge’s two favorite things, Jewish deli fare and a stiff drink.” Why do they need to be combined together in one cocktail? Why not just a regular martini and deli fare on the side? I have no idea, but in the name of journalism I knew I had to try it.
First of all, the packaging was adorable. Everything was labeled with the show’s title in its signature cheery font, and the bright pink packaging was a fun homage to Midge’s favorite color.
Per a publicist’s email, “The beverage marries hints of juniper from gin with the briny flavors of black pepper, coriander and caraway classically found in a pastrami sandwich.” Still, they note, the beverage is vegetarian.
After unpacking everything from the box, it was time to make the martini. For some reason, I was nervous. I don’t drink martinis often, nor do I eat pastrami on the reg, but as I poured the pre-made cocktail into the martini shaker and added a few drops of the pastrami oil, I became increasingly conscious of the fact that my life would soon be divided into a “Before” and After” period.
Perhaps a Shehechiyanu blessing (for new beginnings) was in order. Certainly, at least a L’chaim.
As I sipped the martini, I was left speechless. Like I said, I’m no martini or pastrami expert, so I can’t say if this was the best version of either one. The cocktail was definitely strong and had a savory, meaty taste to it. The oil and spices cut the taste of the alcohol in a surprising way. I felt like I had taken a bite of a sandwich and then drunk a martini to wash it down.
I could imagine sipping it slowly at The Gaslight Café in the West Village while Midge, a budding stand-up comic, shocks and delights me with her set. In fact, I can imagine Midge might have a whole bit dedicated to the drink while her agent Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein) guzzles it backstage.
The kit came with two pre-made cocktails, so I’ll save the other for the season premiere on Friday night, when presumably we’ll find out if Midge and Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby) get together again, if Joel has a kid and if Rose’s matchmaking business has taken off.
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Luckily for all Manhattan-based Maisel watchers, the cocktail is available to order on April 14 and 15 on GrubHub’s platform from the specially created “Marvelous Café” using the code “MaiselTov.” For $29.95, GrubHub will deliver the cocktail kit (which serves two) and an entree — a choice of turkey, pastrami or corned beef on rye sandwiches, or stuffed cabbage. The meal kit also comes with a mini potato knish, a pickle and a black and white cookie for dessert. (The kits are not kosher.) Honestly a great deal, considering just a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s will run you $25.95.
Per a press release, “Diners can pick their preferred date and time, must be 21+ and have a valid photo I.D. upon delivery.” But get there fast. “With only 1,000 kits available, orders are limited to 1 kit per customer. Available delivery time slots will close as orders fill up.”
So go ahead, order your pastrami martini. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!