bloody mary

The Bloody Mary is a special cocktail, acceptable on breakfast tables and brunch buffets around the world, but also welcome at the bar as afternoon lingers into evening.

The term “Bloody Mary” usually refers to Queen Mary I of England, but the origins of the classic cocktail are hotly disputed. In fact, a Hollywood actress named Mary Pickford probably inspired the drink’s creation in the early part of this century. The Bloody Mary caught on and continues to be one of the most popular cocktails in the world.

When I was working as a bartender at the 5* Hyatt Regency in Auckland, New Zealand, I not only got to be Bono’s private mixologist – I also learned how to craft the perfect Bloody Mary.

In New Zealand, pre-mixed cocktail ingredients like “sweet and sour mix” don’t exist. If you want to make the perfect Bloody Mary (or any cocktail for that matter), don’t even THINK about using a mix.

With all the lycopene in the tomato juice and the vegetable garnishes, a Bloody Mary could arguably pass for a health drink – or at least lunch. The tomato juice in one Bloody Mary provides 12-24 milligrams of lycopene, which is sufficient to cover your daily needs. Early research has shown an inverse correlation with lycopene consumption and cancer risk; although the FDA has not yet approved these studies, lycopene is without a doubt a nutrient-rich phytochemical that is packed with antioxidants.

Like all cocktails, a Bloody Mary tastes better when shared with friends – so grab a buddy and prepare to make The Perfect Bloody Mary!

Directions:

1. In a tall 12-ounce glass filled ¾ of the way to the top with ice, crush two lemon wedges and two lime wedges, dropping the rinds into the glass after the juice has been squeezed out.

2. Add 1-½ ounces of Grey Goose or your favorite organic vodka

3. Follow the vodka with 3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce and several shakes of Tabasco sauce, depending on how spicy you would like your drink. Six shakes of Tabasco make your cocktail hot and lively, or if you like a little less zest, stop at two shakes. If you really like it spicy, add a small pinch of cayenne pepper.

4. Add a pinch of celery salt.

5. Pour organic tomato juice over everything, coming almost to the top of your glass. I prefer Knudson Organic Tomato Juice.

6. Grab your cocktail shaker and shake it up, baby. Pour the mix back into the glass, keeping the ice, which will melt into the thick tomato juice.

7. The garnish is very important to a Bloody Mary! Top yours with a fresh celery stick, leaves attached and sprouting into the air in cocktail celebration. Add a skewer of pitted olives, pickled okra and pepperoncinis.

8. Top it off with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.

9. Head to a sunny spot and enjoy!

Variations:

- Choose bacon-flavored vodka instead of regular vodka, and garnish with a slice of crispy bacon for a Bacon Bloody Mary!

- Instead of Tabasco sauce, use wasabi. Be sure to shake the cocktail up well so the thick green paste dissolves, and enjoy your Wasabi Bloody Mary!

- Forget the lemons and limes, and instead use slices of limons for a new twist on the citrus flavor kick.

- Other fun garnishes include pickled asparagus, fresh radish slices or pickled cucumbers!

image: kthread