Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The perfect Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is one of the most asked-for cocktails in bars and clubs; spicy, racy with it's mix of dense tomato juice and celery garnish, it's almost a meal in a glass.

The Bloody Mary began it's life in the 1920's when New York bartender Fernand Petiot mixed equal parts of tomato juice and vodka - the B.Mary was born!When Petiot moved to New York he took his recipe with him but scandalised by the name, prudish hotel managers tried to rename it the Red Snapper, but it didn't stick. However, the cocktail - given an extra zing of tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to suit sophisticated New Yorkers - proved dynamite.

So, how do we make a 'scientifically' perfect Bloody Mary?  First of all, and most important, make sure that the drink is freshly prepared  It is chemically "unstable" so can lose its flavor sparkle and degrade within half an hour.Secondly, pour it over ice. The ice slows down chemical reactions between the tomato juice and other ingredients. Buy the best tomato juice you can get, one with a deep flavor and don't waste your good vodka on it - the dominant flavour is not the alcohol.  For those who like tomato juice, the fresh spiciness is close to addictive. The ratio and order of these effects in the mouth is what is most appealing. Mainly sweet and slightly salty, with sour and fresh lemon, followed by the spicy kick of capsaicin and slight sinus clearing horseradish.
All you need for the perfect cocktail (chips optional!)

For those who do not have a recipe, here is one from the New York School of Bartending:
  • 1 oz. to 1½ oz. (30-45 ml) vodka in a highball glass filled with ice.
  • Fill glass with tomato juice
  • 1 dash celery salt
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. horseradish (pure, never creamed)
  • Dash of lemon or lime juice
Now, of course, the perfect Bloody Mary is a subjective thing - celery salt, garlic salt? horseradish, no horseradish?  When I was 'researching' this post the barman at our local told me that even behind the bar they can't agree on exactly how it should be made! So, now it's up to you,  happy experimenting and let me know how you make your B.Mary....

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