Give Your Margarita A Savory Twist With MSG

Monosodium glutamate, more commonly known as MSG, was once heavily scrutinized as being a potentially harmful ingredient that may cause headaches or nausea, but the flavor enhancer has overcome the negative image as myths about the additive have been largely debunked. (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration characterizes it as "generally recognized as safe.") Now, MSG isn't just being utilized to elevate cuisine but also the cocktail scene as well. 

Sprinkle in a bit of the ingredient to give your margarita and other mixed drinks a savory twist. MSG would be a perfect fit for a margarita, which often features salt on the rim of the glass to balance its sweet and sour elements. Incorporating a smidgen of MSG into a margarita gives the cocktail another layer of flavor contrast and depth. The ingredient's savory umami flavor profile pairs well with a margarita's tangy composition. While it lends a saltiness — for those monitoring their sodium intake — MSG contains significantly less sodium than table salt, according to Medical New Today. Here's how you can incorporate MSG to create the perfect margarita. 

A subtle umami kick

When blending MSG into a margarita, professional bartenders advise against adding it directly like you would with table salt. For best results, according to Punch, they suggest mixing it up in a MSG solution. Two parts water to one part MSG is generally considered the sweet spot in cocktails such as margaritas. A Reddit r/cocktails thread recommends sprinkling your MSG solution into your cocktail as you would a saline solution. 

The Educated Barfly notes that adding four dashes of an MSG solution to a pineapple margarita can give it a nuanced savory note that delights one's palate on the back end. Moreover, the umami component compliments the other ingredients of tequila, lime, pineapple, and agave nicely.

Of course, margaritas are not the only mixed drinks that can benefit from the subtle umami kick of MSG. It can be added to a dirty martini to make an MSG martini, which has been characterized as having a pleasantly soupy, brothy quality. MSG also works well in a Bloody Mary, which is composed of savory elements to begin with. As MSG has a revival like no other, many people are embracing its use in both food and cocktails and discovering what the buzz is all about.