“I love bright red drinks, don’t you? They taste twice as good as any other color.”
So said Anne of Green Gables and, whilst I’m fairly positive she wasn’t talking about mixing up a Bloody Mary, I share the sentiment.
In my younger days working in pub kitchens and bars it was exceedingly rare for a Sunday morning to begin without a pre-shift, restorative Bloody Mary. Sadly (or perhaps thankfully) those days have long past, I couldn’t take the lifestyle now, however fun it was at the time.
I remember one very quiet Sunday afternoon in the pub we decided to pull out the cabinet fridges to give the bar a really good clean and to relieve our boredom. As we did so a notebook of handwritten cocktail recipes fell out that had been jammed between the fridges and bar years earlier by some long forgotten bartender.
Being incredibly bored (not to mention highly unprofessional) we spent the rest of the shift making up some of these recipes for “research” purposes. I don’t recall too many of them, possibly because of the quantity imbibed, but I do remember it was probably the first time I’d tried something approximating the International Bartenders Association official recipe for a Bloody Mary and was bowled over by it.
If you asked for a Bloody Mary in a pub back then you normally got a shot of vodka in half a pint of tepid tomato juice, if you were lucky a slice of lemon and if they were really pushing the boat out they’d head back to the kitchen for a splash of Worcestershire Sauce and a disturbingly flaccid celery stick.
Once I knew what the drink should taste like I really put the time and effort into making a proper Bloody Mary for our customers, and it worked. People came back especially for them, week after week, we started making up pitchers of the stuff to keep up with demand.
How times change. Now pubs have dedicated DIY Bloody Mary stations, you can’t move for horseradish infused vodkas, increasingly bizarre variations and in a touch I actually quite like – nods back to the likely gin based origins of the drink.
Personally if I do make a Bloody Mary now I tend to stick to the original recipe* I found in the pub all those years ago.
However I do like to experiment and after accidentally buying a full kilo of Gochugaru (the dangers of internet shopping and not paying attention to quantity options) I take every chance I can to use it, in this case with Sriracha which compliments the smoky-fruity-sweet-with-a-kick flavour of the chilli.
Seriously, look at this bag of Gochugaru, it’s huge:
I need to get busy making some Kimchi!
Prep time: 3 Mins
Serves: 1 portion
160ml Good quality tomato juice
50ml Good quality Vodka or Gin
1 Tbsp Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
1 Tbsp or 15ml Worcestershire Sauce
3 Drops of Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
1/4 Lime, juiced
1/4 Lime, whole
2 Pinches celery salt
2 Pinches Gochugaru
1 Tbsp Gochugaru
1 Pinch Smoked paprika
1 Pinch Freshly ground black pepper
1 Large Tsp Sriracha
Ice cubes, as desired
1 Celery stick
Place the Tbsp of Gochugaru on a small plate. Wipe the rim of the glass you are using to serve the drink with the whole 1/4 lime (put the lime to one side to use as garnish) and run the rim of the glass through the plate of Gochugaru so it is coated.
Put the 2 pinches of Gochugaru, celery salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco Sauce, juice of of 1/4 of lime, sherry and the Vodka (or Gin if using) in cocktail shaker and shake well. Leave for 1 min to infuse a little.
Add the tomato juice to the shaker and shake well once again.
Now it’s up to you whether you want ice cubes in the finished drink or not. Ice lingering in the glass for an extended period will dilute your cocktail unpleasantly so…
If you are going to drink it relatively quickly – ice cubes in the glass won’t be a problem, add them to your glass and pour over the contents of the shaker.
If you think you will sip your Bloody Mary relatively slowly it’s best to add the ice to the shaker and shake well once more, when the shaker is frosty on the outside, pour into the glass.
Garnish with the celery stick and the lime 1/4 you used to wipe the rim of the glass.
For the original version I usually make, simply follow the recipe above but – replace the Chipotle Tabasco with Classic recipe and add a couple more drops. Replace the 1/4’s of lime with 1/8’s of lemon. Omit altogether the Gochugaru, smoked paprika and Sriracha.