KaiJuly 26, 2020

‘Like a mug of the River Styx’: Hot Marmite Drink, reviewed


A cold day, a roaring fire, a steaming mug between your hands – Josie Adams reviews Hot Marmite Drink, in cupboards now.

Marmite New Zealand’s Instagram page has gone off the deep end. It’s posting instructions on how to create obscenities: how to create Marmite salad dressing, Marmite zoodles, Marmite quesadillas.

Its latest invention is its biggest abomination: Hot Marmite Drink. A heaped teaspoon of Marmite dissolved in a mug of hot water, said the gif. “This is a sin,” said I.

The comments backed me up. “3 Words…This is descusting,” said one. “This is deeply distressing,” said another. A third took one look at the post and endorsed euthanasia.

I tried to shrug it off, but I couldn’t. Brown juice taunted me, haunted me, dared me to slug it back like a common coffee. The only feeling more powerful than revulsion is public duty. I would have to drink the Hot Marmite Drink and write about it.

A single tear rolled down my cheek. The salt and water would soon be replaced with Marmite.

For the record: I really like Marmite. I am a patriot. I had Marmite toast for breakfast and dinner today. Marmite on saltines has been my favourite snack for more than 20 years. If I were trapped in a bunker I would rather live on Marmite than canned beans or freeze-dried ice cream. I just can’t get enough B12 and folate!

But I do not like the Hot Marmite Drink.

Author’s homemade Hot Marmite Drink. Sorry you had to see this.

The stench is powerful, fouler than the solid. It isn’t sharp; it’s rounder on the nose. It’s musty on the palate. Like mouldy dust mites.

On the eye, it’s dark brown and shiny, like a very thin gravy. It does not look like it should be a beverage. It looks like a mug of the River Styx, full of the souls of yeast spreads that walked so this eldritch torment could run.

Strangest of all: it has no taste. This is probably good, but it’s confusing. I put in another teaspoon of fresh Marm, and still – nothing. As soon as the Marmite broth touched my tongue it turned into a ghost. It’s not even very salty. A light film washed around my teeth like the aura of a retainer.

As it cooled, Hot Marmite Drink found new life. The cold water held the flavour better. I can’t explain this. I am not a scientist. All I can tell you is that I had a sample size of 10 sips and it was objectively yuck. Again, I love Marmite, but Marmite Juice is a violation of my epicurean rights.

This whole ordeal was advertised on the Marmite Instagram account as an alternative to miso soup. I’m no miso connoisseur, but that’s fucked up. I understand that because Marmite looks like Bovril, people think they can be used for the same purpose. This is not true. Bovril is not a spread and Marmite is not a drink.

I asked Marmite who did this, and a spokesperson told me the inventor of Hot Marmite Drink “has been lost in the mists of time, but it’s been done for many many years. Definitely by our grandparents, probably even our great grandparents”.

We sometimes forget what previous generations have lived through so that we may enjoy Milo. Let’s take a moment of silence.

Speaking of the Great Depression, the amount of Marmite needed to create a hot broth (with taste) is too much. It’s at least two tablespoons. This is not financially viable. Marmite isn’t at its Marmageddon prices, but it’s still expensive. I cannot afford Hot Marmite Drink on the reg. I had toast for two meals today. Hot Marmite Drink, two tablespoons, would be relegated to a special occasion bev, and while it sure is special it does not make for a happy occasion.

“Whenever we talk about Marmite there are plenty of lovers and plenty of haters,” said the Marmite team. “But it’s all in good spirits.”

Keep going!