People always ask me, “What’s your favorite Bloody Mary?” A smart PR person would advise me to come up with a snappy comeback to deploy at times like these. But since I have neither a PR person or a snappy comeback, I flounder around not knowing what to say. I mean, that’s like asking, “Which is your favorite molecule?” Or, “What’s your favorite thing about your husband?” One, there are too many choices, and two, it depends on what mood I’m in at the moment. I can, however, tell you what I tend to appreciate in any Bloody Mary, and you can extrapolate from there.
1. A harmonious balance between spice and flavor. If the Scoville units are off the charts, it overpowers the rest of the ingredients. Think of it this way: if the hot sauce is a trumpet, it’s very hard to hear the violin and piano, and they deserve their place in the orchestra, too.
2. Substance. I’m a meal-in-a-glass-half-full kind of girl. To use a medical term, the texture I’m looking for is called “nectar thick.” Besides that, I appreciate lots of garnish. I have sent a Bloody Mary back to the bar for being nearly transparent, and naked on top to boot.
3. Originality. Although it’s annoying at times, I admire bartenders who spend years perfecting their signature Bloody Mary base and won’t tell me what’s in it. And yet, I love all the recent innovations such as pickle-infused vodka, pureed okra, and celery bitters. Start with a great base, like Portland Bloody Mary Mix, then go nuts! Make it your own.
You know what? All this talk has made me thirsty. I’m changing my answer. My favorite Bloody Mary is almost always the one in my hand. Cheers!