Mushroom Of The Week: Black Trumpet Martinis Anyone?


It is a long-standing tradition in Scandinavia, and more recently in North America, to infuse vodkas, aquavit, and other high-test distillates with local mushrooms, particularly Black Trumpets or their sister species Chanterelles.  It is not even uncommon to attend Vodka infusing parties where all sorts of herbs or fungi are used to flavor the common liquor.  

If it’s not made out of potatoes, it will lack flavor anyway, right?

In the mushroom world, there is tons of debate as to whether you should use fresh mushrooms or dried ones, but I feel dried work just fine.  Their flavor is a bit more subtle; they are more readily available by the general public sold dried in little packages, and you don’t need to be a seasoned hunter to do so.  I have friends, however, who swear that fresh ones have much more flavor.  Then again, debates like that are just why vodka was invented, right?

To infuse a fifth of vodka, I use about 12 full-sized dried pieces of Black Trumpets, or 0.1 to 0.2 ounces.  Soak them in some vodka until they are soft enough to get down the neck of the bottle and let it sit a good month or more, but a couple weeks is fine enough too.  Serve it on the rocks, or try this recipe.  It has the earthy flavor of the mushrooms, the natural sweetness of maple, the tartness of the lemon and a touch of the bitters.  Liquid umami.

Maple Mushroom Martini

2 oz Mushroom Infused Vodka (Black Trumpets preferred)

½ - ¾ tsp maple syrup

5 dashes Orange Bitters

½ Tblspn lemon juice, fresh squeezed

1 dash aromatic bitters

Mix with ice, strain, enjoy.

Chanterelles are very popular too, and perhaps a bit more well-known and easier to hunt.  They have a great complex flavor that is a bit fruity, earthy and often associated with apricots or pumpkins.  Try using a fistful of fresh Chanterelles in a fifth of vodka. Let it sit at least a week, or more, until it takes on the rich yellowish color.  Remove the Chants and discard. Make your Martini any way you like, such as with 1-½ oz Vodka, ¾ oz vermouth, shake with ice, strain and serve in a chilled glass.

So, try your hand at this, sit by the fire, look out at the snow, and enjoy the yuletide season.

Gary Gilbert lectures on fungi, leads mushroom walks in the area and is a member of the Boston Mycological Club. He is the originator of “Mycocards”, flashcards for learning mushrooms by genus as well as having recipes in the recent Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook.

edible fungi, motw, gary gilbert, mushroom gene, scandinavia, boston mycological club, craterellus cornucopioides, martini, mushroom martini