The bloody Mary

In the NYT Magazine on the 20th, a piece by Rosie Schaap, “Don’t Get Too Cute With Your Bloody Mary”, taking off from one of (several) minimal recipes — her mother’s favorite:

All it took was a good slug of Smirnoff (the only vodka we had in the house, and one I still like), a can of tomato juice (or, as my mother sometimes preferred, Clamato) [mixed vegetable juice, like V-8, is also common, and low-sodium versions of these are available; wthout the vodka, you have a Virgin Bloody Mary, aka Virgin Mary], a shake of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, a heaping teaspoon of grated horseradish, a few shakes of black pepper, a good stir with ice, a lemon wedge for garnish, and that was that.

Schaap continues:

Decades after making bloody marys for my mother, I found that the garnishes helped me come around to how bracing and fortifying the drink can be. I’ll take a poached shrimp, a celery stick, a wedge of lemon and a big, frilly fennel frond.

The  (luscious) photo from the article:

You’ll note that the photo doesn’t fit completely with the description above. It’s supposed to be a photo of the bloody Mary version made by Schaap’s bartender friend Lu Ratunil, in a preparation with the ingredients:

Lemon wedge [for juice]
Lime wedge [for juice]
4 oz. tomato juice
2 dashes Tabasco
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of celery salt
Pinch of coarsely ground pepper (pepper too finely ground will bring more heat and less flavor)
¼ teaspoon peeled and freshly shredded horseradish (avoid using prepared horseradish from a jar)
2 oz. vodka (not flavored)

and the garnishes:

Slice of seedless cucumber
Pitted green olive
Lemon wedge [in photo: lime wedge]
Black pepper.

You’ll note the enormomous variability in these preparations. (To add to this assortment, the virgin bloody Mary I frequently have with lunch at a local restaurant uses V-8, seasonings, a celery stalk, green olives, and a wedge of lime.)

The diversity of preparations is echoed by the Wikipedia article:

Bloody Mary is a popular cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and usually other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, piri piri sauce, beef consommé or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olives, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and celery salt. It has been called “the world’s most complex cocktail.”

There are at least three competing theories as to the origin of the cocktail, 1921 being the earliest date; for discussion of origins and for alternative names and variants of the cocktail, see this 2012 posting on this blog.

2 Responses to “The bloody Mary”

  1. chrishansenhome Says:

    I enjoy an occasional Bloody Mary at Tate Modern’s first-floor café. That particular version adds some port (I don’t know how much) to the usual ingredients. It sounds like it would spoil the Bloody-Mary experience, but it doesn’t. It smooths out the sharpness without making it less bracing. I recommend it.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    One of the earliest bloody Marys was also the simplest — and very powerful: equal parts vodka and tomato juice.

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