An email came to me from Cocktail Builder. I’d signed up for their newsletter because I love their website. You list what you want to make a cocktail with, and then recipes appear!
Today’s email was about the scientific aspects of the perfect bloody Mary. What? I thought I knew everything necessary to make a good Bloody Mary. My son-in-law’s secret? Add the juice of pickled asparagus.
From the email, “According to the American Chemical Society, the Bloody is not only difficult to master but it’s the most complex cocktail in the world.” What???
“It’s a very complicated drink,” said Neil C. Da Costa, Ph.D., an expert on the chemical analysis of flavors at International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. “From the standpoint of flavor chemistry, you’ve got a blend of hundreds of flavor compounds that act on the taste senses. It covers almost the entire range of human taste sensations – sweet, salty, sour and umami or savory – but not bitter.”
Dr. Da Costa lists his insights for making the best Bloody Mary:
1. Make it fresh. Chemically, the Bloody Mary is a “highly unstable” concoction, and the quality tends to deteriorate quickly. (Is anyone else constantly throwing away their zing zang?!)
2. Ice it up. Serve Bloody Marys on ice helps to slow down the chemical reactions involving acids in tomato juice and other ingredients that degrade the taste.
3. Mind your mixes. If you use a cocktail mix, add some fresh ingredients to enhance the flavor and aroma. (Okay, I already do that…)
4. Splurge on the juice. Tomato juice makes up most of the Bloody Mary’s volume, so use high quality juice that has a deep, rich flavor.
5. Economize on the vodka. The intense, spicy flavor of a Bloody Mary masks the vodka, and using premium vodka makes little sense.
I also finally figured out that more than one Bloody Mary are spelled Bloody Marys!!!
The Perfect Bloody Mary
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces freshly squeezed tomato juice
1 lemon wedge
1 lime wedge
2 dashes tabasco sauce
2 tsp prepared horseradish
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch celery salt, plus more to rim glass
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch smoked paprika
Celery stalk and lime wedge, for garnish
Additional garnishes such as green olives, asparagus
Pour some celery salt onto a small plate. Using a lemon or lime wedge, wet the rim of a pint glass and dip it into the salt until it’s fully coated. Fill the glass with ice and set aside.
I made these Bloody Marys in October, when my tomatoes were perfect. I used a cheese grater to get the de-seeded pulp out of the tomatoes, then blended the tomato juice.
In a cocktail shaker, squeeze the lemon and lime wedges and drop them in. Add the remaining ingredients and fill the shaker with ice.
Shake gently and strain into the prepared glass.
Garnish with a celery stalk, a lime wedge, and any other desired garnishes.
I don’t like wet bacon so that has never been a garnish of choice!!!
I also don’t love celery salt, especially by itself, so I used a Bloody Mary rim mix. Hope I didn’t break any rules!
So what do I think about this Bloody Mary? I though it was too “rich” tasting, even though it was basically tomato pulp, so that was surprising. Then I bought some tomato juice, and used the above recipe. Still not perfect to me.
Then I used the exact recipe above, but used a Bloody Mary mix instead of tomato juice. And to me it was perfect. What does that mean? Maybe I like a very well-spiced Bloody Mary.
So, I’ll stick with Bloody Mary mix. I Sometimes buy a case of Mr. & Mrs. T in 5.5 ounce cans. Each can is perfect for one Bloody Mary, and you don’t have to discard a larger bottle of mix when it becomes unstable.
But to the Mr. & Mrs. T mix, I also add pickled asparagus juice. Try it and see what you think!
Zing zang lovers? They offer a case of 8 ounce cans.