Bloody Proper

October 20, 2012

In my opinion, an essential skill for the proper man is knowing how to prepare a darn good cocktail.
I will cover the basics in this column, and to kick it off decided to start the most complex of them all.

The Bloody Mary.

She’s spicy, complicated, and nourishing. She’ll cure your hangover, and put hair on your chest.
Unfortunately for you corner-cutters, the only way to do it right is from scratch. Unlike most classic cocktails, the recipe is hazy and often improvised. While a benefit, that can also cause anxiety if you don’t know how to do it right.

I’ve come to appreciate my first serving job in college most for requiring me to make the scratch bloody mix every Sunday morning before brunch shift. I became the go-to guy because my mix was fiery and robust. I never used a measure, as the bloody is all about taste. Once you have a truly balanced bloody, you’ll forever know when another is not up to par.

So, gentlemen, let’s go over the basic ingredients you’ll need on hand to whip up an impressive four star breakfast cocktail on the fly. My rule of thumb: Start with a few dashes. Taste. Add a little more. Taste. Add a little more!

Vodka is fine, but I prefer gin. Hendrick’s adds a pleasant herbal kick. Tequila also stands up nicely to the mix for a bloody with a smoky backbone. Pick your poison.

Tomato juice.
I don’t think homemade juice is entirely necessary here, albeit next level. A bottle, can or carton of good quality 100% tomato juice will suffice. You’ll want roughly equal parts tomato juice and booze. Combine over ice.

Lemon juice.
A citrus tang is important, however in moderation. An overly-lemony bloody is actually my least favorite kind. For this definitely use a squeeze of fresh fruit.

Hot Pepper Sauce.
Tabasco is the traditional choice, but I like to shake it up. Sriracha is a newfangled favorite, though generally I tend to prefer Louisiana hot sauces, Crystal being my favorite.

Grated fresh horseradish root makes the most delicious bloodies, but in a pinch prepared horseradish from the jar will do (note: NOT horseradish cream). A little spoonful goes a long way. Make sure your guests can handle it.

Super important. The Worcestershire sauce is what lends the meaty bite. It’s the umami. That said, for a Bloody Maria I’ve successfully substituted Chipotle hot sauce. If you’re going for an Asian twist with Sriracha, maybe try soy sauce in place of the Worcestershire.

Black pepper.
Yep, lots of it. Ground fresh.

Celery salt.
A blend of celery seed and salt, it’s the signature finish. Sprinkle generously on top.

A celery stalk is classic, though I find it terribly distracting and cumbersome. This is a good time to raid those jars in the back of the fridge for a pickled assortment. Olives, cornichons, cocktail onions, dilly beans, okra, green tomatoes… it all works! Skewer on a bamboo kabob stick, add to glass, serve, and get ready for a “wow!”

Alright, lesson over. So how do you like yours?

5 comments on “Bloody Proper

  1. Cool glasses… GREG

  2. Wow – these photos are fabulous, Love the step-by-step instructions, thank you -I’m inspired!

  3. David Jan 21, 2012

    I am certainly inspired. I never used gin-my favorite includes peppered vodka for that extra kick. I go lightly on the horseradish because, I’m sorry, I’m not a fan. The celery salted rim is always good, especially if there is no obligatory celery rib. I love the pickled garnish idea. Thanks for the recipe and those gorgeous photos!

  4. *drooling*
    i’m a huge fan of pickled green beans in my B-mary!

  5. This is awesome! I adore Bloody Mary’s. I totally agree about the celery. The best Bloody Mary garnish I’ve encountered was at Old Ebbitt Grill in DC. They serve them with a jumbo shrimp!

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