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Recipe For Michael Chiarello's Tomato Water Martini

Happy Hour: Tomato Water Martini

When the Summer's in full swing, I pretty much live on tomatoes. I eat them out of hand and in salads, drink them in gazpacho — and now, thanks to Michael Chiarello, I can swim in them! In addition to making fresh mozzarella on the spot and singing the virtues of sustainable agriculture, chef Chiarello also introduced the audience to a savory martini made from tomato water, a clear liquid with a delicate, acidic flavor that's produced when tomatoes are strained of their juices. When paired with bocconcini and a chiffonade of basil, this genius non-alcoholic martini resembles a caprese salad in a glass.

The best part: make use of beloved tomatoes by reserving their remains for another recipe (pico de gallo, anyone?). Make this distinctive drink when you read more.

Tomato Water Martini With Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, & Basil Oil

Tomato Water Martini With Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, & Basil Oil

Recipe For Michael Chiarello's Tomato Water Martini 2009-06-29 13:24:56


  1. 3-4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes plus 1/2 tomato, cut into 4 wedges
  2. Gray salt and freshly ground pepper
  3. 4 fresh mozzarella bocconcini, each 1 inch in diameter
  4. 4 cherry tomatoes
  5. 8 large fresh basil leaves, cut into very fine chiffonade
  6. 1-1/2 teaspoons basil-flavored olive oil (optional)
  1. Equipment: 4 wooden skewers, each 4-5 inches long


  1. You will need enough tomato water to fill your martini glasses, so measure their capacity (probably something between 5-9 ounces for each glass).
  2. Chill the martini glasses in the freezer, if there is room, or refrigerate an hour ahead of serving. (A freezer gives a heavy frost.)
  3. Peel, seed, and chop the 3 to 4 pounds of tomatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, place in a sieve or coffee filter suspended over a bowl, and refrigerate for several hours. As the tomatoes release their juice, it will fall into the bowl, giving you an almost gin-clear liquid with lots of flavor. Season the tomato water to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until very cold. Reserve the tomato pulp for another use.
  4. Halve or quarter the bocconcini if they are larger than 1 inch in diameter. Thread a tomato wedge, a bocconcini, and a cherry tomato onto each of the 4 wooden skewers. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with basil oil, if desired.
  5. Working quickly, divide the tomato liquid among the chilled martini glasses. Balance the skewers on top of the glasses, then sprinkle the basil chiffonade over the skewers. Serve immediately with a drizzle of basil oil.

Serves 4.

Join The Conversation
Food Food 8 years
As Michael Chiarello suggested, it would taste divine with a splash of pepper vodka!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
No alcohol and tomato water? No thanks.
crystalm07 crystalm07 8 years
Does the fact that I hate this idea considering theres no alcohol make me an alky? ha! Yuck!
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
Tomato water is delicious, but I can't help but lament the lack of booze. Maybe a clear bloody mary? Or is that too redolent of Crystal Pepsi?
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 8 years
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
nope. "tomato water" itself sounds vomit inducing to me, even though I LOVE tomatoes.
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