Categories: General
      Date: Sep 28, 2011
     Title: Maine Infusions at the West Meadow Pub

PressHerald.com| Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Maine Infusionistas Raise the Bar



Ogunquit, ME – September 28, 2011 – Meredith Goad

Tourists will try lobster in just about anything. (Remember lobster ice cream?)

The infusion craze has Maine mixologists experimenting with all kinds of flavor combinations. Some of them sound delicious, like the mulling spices-and-orange zest bourbon infusion made by Patrick Morang at David's in Portland. Others, like Nedzbala's lobster vodka or a turkey vodka for the holidays, might initially challenge your gag reflex.

But keep an open mind – some of these unusual creations might just surprise you.

I thought it would be fun to gather some ideas from the professionals for some interesting (odd?) fall infusions that reflect the flavors of the season. Go ahead, try these at home, or visit your favorite bar or restaurant to see what they're cooking up these days.

LOBSTER VODKA

Why lobster in a column about autumn infusions?

Well, it turns out the lobster catch is highest in Maine during September, October and November, so there's plenty of cheap lobster around to experiment with, should you feel so inclined. And really, if you were me, would you turn down the chance to write about lobster vodka just because it doesn't contain any apple or pumpkin?

No, I didn't think so.

As Nedzbala started making me a Bloody Mary with his lobster-infused vodka at the West Meadow Pub inside the Meadowmere, I stopped him and said I wanted to try the straight lobster vodka first. He looked at me like I had just told him I had a tail.

Nedzbala pulled out a bottle filled with a sandy-looking liquid. It resembled the stuff that washes up on your feet at the beach, minus the foam. He uncorked the bottle and told me to take a sniff. Yes, there was definitely dead shellfish in there.

"It smells a little bit like low tide," Nedzbala said with a grin.

He poured me a small taste, and all I can say is it was like drinking lobster. (When I've told people about this since, they all cover their mouths and cut me off, for some reason.) I liked the brininess, but knew immediately I would not be pouring this neat anytime soon.

The Bloody Mary, though that was an entirely different story.

Nedzbala makes his own Bloody Mary mix with tomatoes from his garden to complement the lobster vodka. He spears a piece of lobster meat wrapped in a lemon twist as garnish, and the final (kinda creepy) touch is a hairy swimmeret hanging over the edge of the glass.

But you know what? The drink was really good. It tasted like the ocean, and the lobster flavor was much more subtle wrapped in all that fresh tomato juice.

It's been a surprising hit at the resort.

How does Nedzbala do it? He starts by breaking apart three small steamed lobsters. He uses the meat, shells and body, but cleans the body first so you don't have to worry about tomalley floating around in your cocktail. All of that goes into an infusion jar, along with a bottle of vodka, a tablespoon of lobster base and a few tablespoons of lobster stock. Then it sits in the refrigerator for two or three days. (Some infusions take a couple of weeks. This one, mercifully, does not.)

"First, when it came out of the infusion jar, I thought, 'I'm going to have a hard time selling this,' " Nedzbala said. "It looks like seawater."

But as word spread, customers began flocking to the bar to plop down their $13 for one of the Bloody Marys.

"This was huge," Nedzbala said. "I never thought it would be."

For more information on The Meadowmere Resort, please visit the Resort online at http://www.meadowmere.com/ or call 800-633-8718.

About Meadowmere Resort

Meadowmere Resort celebrates over 28 years of Maine hospitality in the heart of Ogunquit. The family owned and operated hotel is recognized as an Environmental Leader by the State of Maine and offers luxury accommodations, outstanding amenities and exceptional package getaways. The Meadowmere welcomes guests year round to enjoy Ogunquit Beach, Perkins Cove, Marginal Way and more from its central village location.

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