The queen of cocktails
CLASSIC morning-after pick-me-up or smart aperitif; fresh, salady cocktail for a summer afternoon, or thick, spicy meal-in-a-glass to fire up a winter’s evening. The Bloody Mary is arguably the most diverse cocktail around, in both when you would drink it and how you should make it. At it’s most basic level, it involves a slug of vodka mixed with tomato juice, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning (normally with celery salt) and a bit of lemon juice. But the variations are endless, and come down to personal taste, including how spicy to make it. We asked the people behind three of the best Bloody Marys to be found in and around the City for their tips.
157 Commercial Street, E1 6BJ, www.thehawksmoor.co.uk
Pete Jeary at Shoreditch’s steakhouse extraordinaire uses Ketel One Citroen vodka – “it’s infused with citrus flavour from fresh fruit and is very smooth, perfect for a Bloody Mary,” he says. Jeary uses a slice of fresh red chilli instead of Tabasco, for extra fresh flavour. He includes a teaspoonful of his own spice mixture (a blend of smoked sea salt, cumin, celery seed, fennel seed and black pepper) and adds lemon juice, Worcester sauce, a pinch of homemade celery salt, and tops it off with a dash of Talisker whisky. “Roll it with ice in the shaker – don’t shake it vigorously – but don’t serve it on ice, because it separates the tomato juice when it melts.”
147 Leadenhall St, EC3V 4QT, www.harveynichols.com
The grandiose City bar and restaurant has introduced extra kick to its Bloody Mary by using mustard-infused vodka made by boutique spirits producer Sipsmith. It’s named the Bloody Scarlet (after Cluedo’s Miss Scarlet – there’s another vodka cocktail at Prism titled Colonel Mustard, and a booze-free number called Professor Plum), and the mustard complements the drink’s savoury nature, says drinks maestro Joel Groves. “Along with the horseradish, it makes it really zingy and perfect as an aperitif,” he says. Groves includes fresh grated horseradish – he says shop-bought horseradish creams are too acidic – and both fresh and smoked chillis. Extra freshness comes from blitzing fresh celery and blending it into the mix, while cherry tomatoes on a cocktail stick make an alternative to the traditional celery garnish.
89 Turnmill Street, EC1M 5QU, www.redhook.com
Alex Orwin, mixologist at Clerkenwell’s hotly-tipped new seafood and steaks restaurant, recommends blitzing down tinned tomatoes instead of using supermarket tomato juice, which tends to contain additives. As well as seasoning, he recommends adding some sugar. “You can think of it in terms of making pasta sauce. You need decent amounts of salt, pepper and lemon juice, and a tiny splash of sugar syrup brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.” He prefers soft, neutral vodkas like Finlandia or Grey Goose, and finishes things off with a splash of nutty Tio Pepe fino sherry. “Particularly if it’s a hair-of-the-dog drink, you need a taste explosion, and the sherry does that.”