Tamale-Spiced Tomalley cocktail by the Delta's Adam Kamin

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Lobster tomalley, also known as “the green stuff,” is a digestive gland in lobsters that performs the functions of the liver and pancreas. Or as Adam Kamin, beverage director and partner at the Delta, calls it, “lobster guts.” Challenged to create a cocktail with tomalley by Brandon Phillips of the Duck Inn, Kamin says his first worry was “justifying to my partners why I had to buy lobsters for their guts to mix into a cocktail.” Since tomalley isn’t sold separately, the first step in creating the cocktail was purchasing a couple of whole lobsters; the second was poaching them and removing the tomalley. 

Generally considered to be a delicacy, tomalley is usually eaten straight or used to thicken and add flavor to sauces. Kamin compares it to “green, slimy” fish butter, noting that it tastes rich and fishy. Because the Delta specializes in tamales, Kamin incorporated the tomalley into a corn puree seasoned with red-hot tamale spices. More spices—the ones used in the poaching liquid for tamales—went into tomato juice, an addition inspired by Clamato (tomato and clam juice). He chose the caraway-flavored spirit aquavit for its ability to stand up to strong spices, and infused it with brown butter, a nod to the drawn butter often served with lobster.

After he’d decided what to do with the tomalley, Kamin was left with the lobster meat. “All my staff wanted to eat it,” he says, “but I thought it would be best to incorporate into the cocktail.” He pureed the meat with saffron and a little of the poaching liquid and froze it in ice cube trays, serving the cocktail—which he called the Tamale-Spiced Tomalley—over a large lobster ice cube.

Tamale-Spiced Tomalley

2 oz brown butter-washed aquavit
2 oz tamale-spiced tomato broth
2 oz tomalley-corn puree

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice and strain over a lobster ice cube.

Who’s next:

Kamin has challenged Emily Eytalis of BellyQ to create a cocktail with bonito flakes (dried, smoked tuna).