In Search Of The Perfect Bloody Mary

  • Bloody Accompaniments It's been a couple of weeks since I updated my microblog so just a quick update on how the 'Bloody Mary' vodka is progressing. Kapow! is one word to describe the flavour, boy does it pack a punch. You can still taste all the different components, firstly the celery from the crushed celery seeds then the lime,followed by the horseradish and then BANG the chillies. I opted to keep my Chillies in for longer than a week as I'm fond of heat but you can take them out after a few days if you feel the heat is at an optimum for your palette. I decided to do a test run to see how it measured up to other chilli vodka's I've tasted and just how close I had come to producing a vodka mix you just needed to add premium tomato juice too. My Usual Bloody Mary Cocktail [caption id="attachment_351" align="alignleft" width="192"] A veritable mix of ingredients[/caption] Two large high ball glasses 2 measures of premium vodka Premium fresh tomato juice Juice of half a lime Worcestershire sauce Tabasco Grated Horseradish Freshly milled black pepper Salt/Celery salt Dry sherry Celery stick to garnish Ice The exact quantities are entirely to taste and the ingredients are an amalgamation of different recipes I've tried over the years. The reason I use two highball glasses is because I like to roll the cocktail rather than stir it. The flavours are then mixed evenly rather than whizzed up with a spoon and then left to settle again. Using the 'Bloody Mary' vodka ( recipe here) I used the following ingredients to create the same flavour: 1 measure of Bloody Mary Vodka* 1 measure of premium Vodka Premium tomato juice Worcestershire sauce Dry Sherry Ice Celery stick to garnish * Two measures if you love your cocktail very spicy. [caption id="attachment_352" align="alignright" width="201"] How much is too much?[/caption] I have been researching other accompaniments to the cocktail other than the old faithful celery stick and have come up with a list to try:
    • Olives
    • Pickled cucumber spear
    • Pickled green beans
    The latter particularly interest me and I'm told by a Canadian friend that no Bloody Mary or indeed Bloody Caesar is complete without one. I think I might just have to find out if this is true and make some in the week. I'd interested to hear what you put in your Bloody Mary email or drop a comment below In the meantime I found this recipe from the rather exuberant Karen Solomon author of Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it - enjoy!  
  • It’s just an Infusion As part of my continuing quest to find the perfect bloody Mary, I decided to deconstruct this magnificent of cocktails ingredient by ingredient and then return them to the vodka meaning on completion I would only have to add tomato juice. Yesterday afternoon I began this process by making infused vodka. There are a lot of Chilli vodka recipes out there, but the ones I found centred mainly on stuffing some chillies in a bottle of vodka,That didn't really fire my imagination and that's when I thought about making a Bloody Mary inspired infusion. Bloody Mary Vodka   [caption id="attachment_148" align="alignleft" width="300"] All the essentials[/caption] 1 litre of vodka. 6 red Birdseye chillies 4 inch piece of peeled horseradish root 1 lime A handful of black peppercorns crushed. 2 Indonesian Long Pepper Catkins* A desert spoon of celery seeds 2 teaspoons of Malden salt *Optional I 1 litre kilner jar     Method Firstly sterilise the Kilner jar by rinsing it  in boiling water. Then prepare the horseradish. I dug up the root from our garden,cleaned and peeled it. If you haven't got access to fresh horseradish then you can buy jars of freshly grated horseradish preserved in vinegar as a standby, I did, just in case I couldn't muster the strength to dig it up with my broken arm!. Take the lime and make several incisions in it and place it at the bottom of the jar, together with the salt, celery seeds and horseradish. Lightly bruise the peppercorns to release their pungent aroma and place in the jar. [caption id="attachment_149" align="alignright" width="225"] Off to it's dark corner to infuse for 6 weeks[/caption] The use of the Indonesian peppercorns is entirely optional, they were a lovely surprise that arrived  in the post yesterday. Then slit the chillies length ways being careful to make sure all the seeds remain inside. Finally pour the vodka into the jar and seal the lid. Shake gently and place in the larder or somewhere dark and cool to work its magic. Make sure you repeat the shaking process daily for 6 weeks. Celery seeds are also widely available in major supermarkets in the spices aisle, If you can't find any celery salt is an absolutely fine substitute, just omit the salt. Tasting notes: After two weeks taste for heat and flavour. If the vodka is to your taste then remove the chillies and continue the infusing process. If like me you are a fan of heat, keep the chillies in till its full term and if you are a real chilli aficionado then add more. I used Birdseye chillies, they are pretty fierce. I'd completely chickened out and put the naga chillies back on the supermarket shelf.
  • The Most Complex Cocktail Of All?
    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.
    [caption id="attachment_78" align="alignleft" width="300"] Birthplace of the Bloody Mary?[/caption] I'm on a journey to find the best mixed/stirred/rolled Bloody Mary, pick up some tips on recipes and how to build the perfect cocktail. I'm going to look at the variants and review them, I'd also love to hear what your favourite bloody Mary mix is. So, by the end of the year I hope to have found the Valhalla of Bloody Mary's.
    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?
    [caption id="attachment_79" align="alignright" width="290"] Queen Mary I "Bloody Mary"[/caption] 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.
    [caption id="attachment_81" align="alignleft" width="225"] Bloody Mary at Westow House in Crystal Palace[/caption] It seems only right to start off the recipe search with the original Fernand Petiot recipe modified in 1934 to this:
    Bloody Mary
    Ingredients: - 2 oz vodka - 3 oz Tomoto Juice - 1/2 oz Lemon Juice - Black Pepper & Salt - 3 dashes Worcestershire - 2 drops tabasco sauce - Garnish: Lemon Wedge, Celery - Glassware: Highball Glass Shake all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a highball glass over crushed ice. Garnish with the lemon wedge and a stick of celery.
    Next time I am going to be looking at the different ingredients that go into a Bloody Mary. We'd love to hear from you, so if you have any weird and wonderful variations on the classic Bloody Mary then Tweet us or email us of simply fill in the form on the contact page.


  1. Pingback: Setting Out The Stall | Lover Of Creating Flavours

  2. OMG! I was going to have a little slant on my love of Bloody Mary’s & point you in the direction of my first post for this year….
    after this fantastic mammoth effort, I think I’ll just oogle in awe! Well done for this comprehensive & epic research!
    cheers roni xx

    • Anita-Clare Field

      Haha! Excellent a fellow Bloody Mary lover ! please publish your post, I so love reading about other peoples BM recipes, Oh lord, forget about the Jambalaya I think I fancy a large BM now ! You should try that vodka recipe it’s amazingly spot on if you like heat. xx

  3. John Panigas

    Anita, John here, from Canada. Ours is called the “Bloody Caesar”. Difference is we use clam tomato juice instead of the tomato juice. If you can’t find “calmato” (by Motts) juice mix calm juice and tomato juice in a ratio of 2:5 – tasty!

  4. 3/20/14…check out Fox News/lifestyles/food and drink//Los Angeles Man Creates most epic bloody mary

    (…This was copied from my computer but your site said it didn’t work. I figured you could find it.

    This is the holy grail of bloody Mary’s…:) Keep up the good work..your Rebel buddy from the Deep South…john

  5. I like the effort you’ve gone to with the infused vodka – that is certainly something that I might give a try. Do you eat the chillis afterwards too?
    Rob recently posted..What is Popping Candy?My Profile

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