I tried my first bloody Mary at sixteen. I’d had a love hate relationship with tomato juice as a child until I discovered the magical flavour of Worcester Sauce.It disguised the flavour of the then pre-premium tomato juice of the late 70′s and 80′s, which was thick and gloopy and rather reminiscent of barely strained tomatoes. Then I tried a Bloody Mary, It was love at first taste, sheer unadulterated heaven. It’s still my very favourite drink.Yes, I even like it more than fizz.
Let’s look firstly at this mighty ‘ Marmite’ of cocktails’ origins. Well, quite a few people claim to be the first person to mix a Bloody Mary. There’s Fernand Petiot who claims to have mixed the first Bloody Mary cocktail in Paris in 1921 for two visiting tourists from Chicago. They said the cocktail reminded them of a waitress called Mary in a local bar back home called The Bucket of Blood and so was born The Bloody Mary or was it?
Enter George Jessel, a comedian who also claims to be the creator of the first Bloody Mary and Henry Zbikiewicz a bar tender in New York in the 30′s who has also staked a claim. The origins of the name are somewhat sketchy too, having mentioned the romanticism of the waitress named Mary in Chicago we move closer to home and our very own Queen Mary I given the nickname by her Protestant protagonists in the 16th century. Other folklore states that the drink is named after actress Mary Pickford. What ever it’s origins or whoever mixed the first cocktail it’s legacy ensures we will always be guessing, always trying to build on messers Petiot, Jessel and Zbikiewicz creations in order to build the perfect Bloody Mary.
Today we are turning this iconic cocktail into a chutney, a Bloody Mary in a jar, which is great with grilled meat, fish, vegetables and cheese and the best news? Its ready in a week !
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 6 celery sticks, diced
- 2 red peppers, finely diced
- 3/4 litre of sherry vinegar
- 3 tbsp of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp pickling spice ( see below)
- 1 red chili, finely chopped ( more if you love heat )
- 3 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes
- 12 oz demerara sugar
- 1 tsp of freshly grated horseradish
- The juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 4 Tbsp tomato purée
- 4 Tbsp vodka
For the Pickling Spice
- 4 tbsp of black mustard seeds
- 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
- 1 tsp of dill seeds
- 2 tsp of celery seeds
- 2 tsp of white pepper corns
- 2 dried red chillies
- 2 bay leaves
To make the pickling spices, place all the ingredients in a spice grinder or food processor at blitz until you have a coarse powder, put to one side until needed. Next, place onion, celery, red peppers, half of the sherry vinegar and the pickling spices into a large soup pot.Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer gently for about half an hour until all the vegetables are softened. Next add the chilli, tomatoes, sugar, puree, horseradish and remaining vinegar. Bring up to the boil again and then leave to simmer for a further hour whilst the chutney thickens and the liquid is all but evaporated. Finally, stir in the vodka, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and bring back to the boil for a minute. Leave to cool and then spoon carefully into pre-sterilised jars. Leave in a cool, dark place for a week before using. This chutney will keep for over three months in the fridge.