How to make a Bloody Mary
Posted by Spirits Kiosk on 13 Feb 2023
The Bloody Mary. It’s a drink everyone knows and yet, is still remains underrated. Is there a better savoury cocktail? Is there a better brunch-time cocktail?
If you take a moment to make it properly and take pride in perfecting the minute details, you’ll reap the rewards. Here’s how.
Bloody Mary Recipe
35 ml Vodka
120 ml Tomato juice
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
4 Dashes Worcestershire sauce
4 Dashes Tabasco
1 Pinch Sea Salt (or 10mls of umami brine)
Pour all ingredients into a beaker and add a little ice. Stir vigorously.
Strain into a tall glass.
Add fresh ice and garnish with a twist of black pepper and a celery stick.
How to make an amazing Bloody Mary.
The spicier the better –
The Bloody Mary has many variants, most notably the Red Snapper, the Virgin Mary, Bloody Maria and the Caesar. Change the booze (or don't include it) and you'll find some truly interesting mixes to suit your preferences.
The amount of spice you use has a huge impact on the drink so don't be shy and adjust to taste. Namely, increase the volume!
Use more tabasco, add in some chili syrup, use a spiced vodka, add a pinch of smoked paprika – the drink can absorb a lot of extra heat and yet, that core structure of vodka, tomato and lemon juice shines through.
Shake it, don’t build it –
The above recipe involves making the drink by adding all the ingredients into a glass and stirring. Most will make it that way at home and that’s great but you can improve a Bloody Mary by shaking instead.
To do so, simply add all the ingredients into a tin and shake away. You’ll find that the tomato juice is less viscous, the spice is far more uniform and the drink feels lighter overall.
Besides, if you are hanging in there and you are making one as a way of reviving your weary and hungover soul – shaking might cause temporary grievance to your ears, but it’ll sooth you in many other ways. Cold hands, increased heartbeat – you’ll be back to life in no time…
Make mine super savoury!
The quick and gritty way to build an umami boosting Bloody Mary brine, is to get de-stoned olives and mix them with some salt, a splash of water and a dash of white wine vinegar. Once pulverised, fine strain and you’ll have a savoury brine to turbo charge your cocktail.
If you want to upgrade further… build in an umami-super-mix using mushrooms (and more) to ramp up the culinary, savoury aspects of the drink. Spirits Beacon have the low down on how to do it here: How to Build Your Own Brine
Pepper makes a difference -
If nothing else - moving away from black pepper can be an amazing way to twist your Bloody Mary experience with no extra effort.
If you’ve never strayed from classic peppercorns, try swapping out with Cubeb Peppers instead. They have the same cracked-black spice feel but bring a huge floral (lavender-like) aroma once ground. It really adds a bouquet to the drink and a great choice if you’ve also subbed the vodka for Gin to make a Red Snapper.
Similarly, Tasmanian Pepperberry is another option for those curious enough to try something different. It offers more herbal notes alongside the usual piquant heat.
Alternatively, ditch the heat of pepper and opt for other ‘false’ varieties that have far more subdued spice. Have a little play with the mouth-numbing tingle that Sichuan peppercorns bring and you’ll find the numbing sensation reduces the chili’s fire and allows you to perceive its fruitier side.
Likewise Timut pepper is a unique, versatile spice that’s probably unlike anything you’ve had before. Much like Sichuan pepper, Timut (aka timur) is a false pepper and just like Sichuan Pepper, it literally makes your tongue tingle. While Sichuan has a complex flavour profile, Timut heads straight to pronounced grapefruit citrus and the aroma of your Bloody Mary will zing.
Which Vodka’s to use in a Bloody Mary?
It’s easy to see why many think that any old vodka will do when it comes to a Bloody Mary. There’s no point trying to convince otherwise in a bid to upsell a premium brand – we think it too. Tomato, spice and citrus mask the nuances in craft vodka.
The important bit to get right then, is to pick high quality but high value when choosing your Bloody Mary vodka.
Two of the best in that segment are ELLC and Ketel One.
ELLC's Vodka is soft and creamy with clean citrus to start before the wheat base pushes through. There's a touch of pepper on the finish that helps give it depth. Meanwhile, you can immediately detect freshness with hints of citrus and honey in Ketel One when you open a bottle.
You might lose the crisp and subtle flavours in both offerings but that’s fine – it’s what makes them immensely versatile vodkas and means that you’ll be able to make other things with them later.
For the price point they each go for – it’s hard to find that quality and versatility.
Here’s a curve ball for you… How about picking a Flavoured Vodka?!
Doghouse Distillery have taken their delicious Baller Vodka and pimped it out with addition of chilli and bacon flavouring. It's a little crazy, more than a bit spicy - but mostly, it's super tasty.
It delivers exactly what it states in the label - bacon, chilli and vodka. It packs some hot habanero style heat, alongside cured smoked bacon and light smoke makes it the perfect companion in a Bloody Mary as the notes survive the other ingredients and really lift the flavour by boosting the depth of flavour the drink.
Similarly, Arbikie Smoky & Smooth Chilli Vodka is infused with chipotle, creating a warming spiced vodka with a piquant finish! The smokiness of the chipotle is notable and it provides deep, rich, earthy, smoky and spicy tastiness when used in a Bloody Mary.
Kiosk’s custom Bloody Mary recipe suggestion…
We’re all for tradition, but when it comes to experimenting – the Bloody Mary offers so much scope for creativity that we couldn’t resist. Swap tabasco for siracha, Worcestershire for wasabi and pick a saline, coastal vodka – Manly Spirits Marine Vodka.
The vodka has been distilled with foraged marine botanicals which contribute to umami flavours. That splash of the sea combines so well with the heat of wasabi while the siracha up’s the vinegary notes. A perfect match!
We love our version and more than anything – it shows just how much the Bloody Mary as a cocktail is open to interpretation and waiting for you to put your mark on it.
So, what are you waiting for?