"The Bloody Mary is open to almost any interpretation."
I hesitate to even broach the topic of the Bloody Mary. For one thing, it's one of those ubiquitous drinks that absolutely everyone has their own way of preparing. So why even bring it up? Because everyone has their own way of preparing it, and I'm curious how you do it.
The Bloody Mary is, of course, a staple of the American brunch and a universal hangover cure. The drink's origins are oft-rumored and still open to the kind of disputed bickering that is absolutely painful on a weekend morning, so it's best to move onto the heart of the matter: what's essential in your Bloody Mary?
Me, I'm a spicy kind of guy (as long as it's not over the top): a little Tabasco, a little horseradish, and for extra complexity in what can otherwise be a top-heavy drink, I prefer to use gin.
But really, the Bloody Mary is open to almost any interpretation and is one of the few drinks that doesn't follow rigid rules and ideological sniping.
(And while I hesitate to introduce any rules regarding this drink, there is one that you should keep in mind: do not order a Bloody Mary during the evening. Why? Because like unkempt hair and caffeine-deprived mumbling, a Bloody Mary is something that's normal and forgivable during the early hours of the day, but by the evening it's time to get out of your bathrobe and show some signs of life.)
I fix maybe two Bloody Marys a year, and every time I do I wonder why I don't do it more. It's feeling like one of those weekends coming on. Here's my recipe—what's yours?
About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.
- 2 ounces vodka (or really, try gin, or even a blanco tequila)
- 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- Dashes of salt and black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon horseradish
- 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 4 ounces tomato juice
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Gently roll from one glass to another until chilled (if you shake a Bloody Mary, the tomato juice will foam, and if you simply build it over ice in a glass, the ice will melt faster and the drink will become insipid before you have a chance to finish it). Strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime or—who am I kidding?—pretty much anything short of the Hoover Dam.