Bloody Mary’s – Consistent and At Speed
Great vodka cocktails are few and far between but vodka plays an important role in what is perhaps the King of all hangover cures. Introducing the Bloody Mary – one of vodka’s greatest gifts to the cocktail world although it definitely has the Marmite effect in term of how divisive it is. This savory restorative cocktail first appeared in print in The Bartender’s Book (1951) and the authors (Jack Townsend and Tom Moore McBride) described it as a “savage combination of tomato juice and vodka”. David Embury meanwhile, in what is one of my favourite cocktail books, described it as being “strictly vile”.
A comedian by the name of George Jessel took credit for the creation of the drink during an advertising campaign for Smirnoff vodka in the mid-1950’s but the most likely story is that Fernand “The Frog” Petiot (so nicknamed when he got to Manhattan and his French origins were laid out to bare) invented in. He tended bar at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in the 1920’s and probably evolved the drink (circa 1924) from the starting point of vodka and tomato juice. The drink evolved again and became known as the Red Snapper when he got to New York’s St. Regis Hotel and gin became the base spirit due to the unavailability of vodka.
Here is a way that you might consider batching your Bloody Mary’s when you really need to serve them en masse and at speed. This week, we are helping an event bar operator that we have worked with across many events in recent years. As always, we are trying to help them serve a great many cocktails that taste amazing, and that crucially, can be served very quickly and consistently, within a narrow time window. Bloody Mary’s are on the menu this weekend and they’ll be served from the crack of dawn to thirsty folk nursing hangovers from the night before.
We’re helping them take the heat away from the prep that would otherwise require a stupidly early start and a whole lot of advanced recipe and ingredients planning. Now, they can have one concentrated spice mix product instead of a vast array of products and spices that need to be assembled following a batched recipe. The festival bar operator see value in this because it’s one item that they need to source, as opposed to many different items and the cocktail menu itself is one of many things that they need to be thinking about when they’ve got thousands of people closing in on their bars.
This week we have been preparing an intensified spice mix that they can add to their tomato juice to instantly turn it in to a (medium) spiced tomato juice. This drink (the Tomato Cocktail) is a great drink in itself for those seeking something restorative without the booze and it also versatile and dynamic enough to serve as a canvas on which to lay additional flavours and spices (see below).
For every 1 litre of tomato juice, you should add 150ml of the below spice mix to create your spiced tomato juice.
Here is a recipe for 1 litre of our spice mix;
750ml – Worcestershire sauce
200ml – Lemon juice
50ml – Red Tabasco
5 tea spoons – Coarse black pepper
3 tea spoons – Maldon sea salt
3 tea spoons – Celery salt
This is really scalable although if you are intending to scale, I would recommend that you figure out how many grams constitutes 1 tea spoon of each spice so that you can measure your spices out more easily. This will also help you if you’re looking to scale this up and need to purchase ingredients in bulk.
Here are my calculations to get you started, although I would urge you to do this on your own.
Celery Salt (tea spoon) 6.3g
Black pepper (tea spoon) 2.4g
Sea salt (tea spoon) 5.5g
So there you have it, spiced tomato juice on demand, dramatically speeding up your speed of serve and consistency of flavour when you have an army of hair of the dog seekers.
Following are some additional flavours you might consider making available to your guests and you can almost lay it out as a Bloody Mary buffet which would be a whole lot of fun and a great talking point.
-Horseradish (fresh and grated – or creamed)
-Sherry and Port (both make for a delicious float on the top of the drink)
-Sea salt and black pepper (grinders)
Your eventual Bloody Mary recipe is now as simple as the following:
100ml Spiced Tomato juice
As part of your Bloody Mary spread, you can have a lot of fun with garnishes also.
I recommend having an abundance of the following available:
-Washed and trimmed celery sticks
And finally, here are some other variations from the Bloody Mary family:
Bloody Caesar – clam juice (Clamato) instead of tomato juice
Bloody Bull – include beef broth
Bloody Maria – tequila instead of vodka
Red Snapper – gin instead of vodka
Talk to you again soon,
Photo credits – www.olivemagazine.com and www.esquire.com
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