Henri experiments with new Bloody Mary recipes
While Henri is once again frustrated by his dear sister Colette’s insistence on spending nearly every fall Sunday glued to our television watching men (in rather attractive trousers, I must confess) throw a ball around on a field and knock each other down, he’s taking the haute route this year and not complaining. Nor am I insisting on equal time, as I have in previous years, by trying to strike a balance between something as hideously uninteresting as football and my own preference for television with actual cultural value. Quite a sacrifice, I must say, especially considering I’m up to only season five of Bewitched and have also fallen behind on Glee.
Thankfully, Colette’s made my sacrifice a bit easier: Though she reminds me frequently that this is the Year of the Woman, she has declared these last few months the Fall of the Bloody Mary—and makes a batch for every game. In fact, I’ve actually joined her on occasion for a couple of innings myself—despite her refusal to appreciate my bottoms-up and man-in-motion jokes.
The Bloody Mary most likely originated in 1920s Paris at Harry’s American Bar, where, the story goes, bartender Fernand Petiot mixed equal parts tomato juice and vodka and a customer said it reminded him of the Bucket of Blood saloon in Chicago and a girl named Mary whom he’d met there.
In 1934, Petiot returned to the United States, where he worked in the bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City experimenting with various versions of his drink, adding black pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon, lime and Tabasco sauce.
Bloody Mary is also certainly a nod to England’s Queen Mary Tudor (1516-1558; reigned 1553-1558), who had a penchant for torching Protestants in the name of the Catholic Church. Her royal duty, mind you, under 1401’s “Act for the Burning of Heretics.”
Today, one is likely to find nearly as many Bloody Mary recipes as there are devotees of the drink, each claiming his own is “perfect.” The only indisputable requirements? Tomato juice, vodka (Stoli, Ketel One, etc., or better) and heat—although even the tomato juice can be substituted for.
As loyal as we remain to Henri’s Bacon Bloody Mary (see recipe), we’ve recently been experimenting, inspired after discovering a recipe for an “Asian Mary” at bonappetit.com. What we’ve learned: 1) Most Asian recipes call for some kind of fish sauce; all are better without; 2) Some of the recipes call for sesame oil; all are better with; 3) Only a few of the recipes call for shichimi togarashi ( “seven-spice chili pepper”), which makes any Bloody Mary—Asian or not—better; 4) All the recipes call for tomato juice; substituting Knudsen’s Very Veggie (Spicy) makes for a superior cocktail.
With all due respect, Henri is confident that had more Chicoans sampled his perfect Bloodys, Duffy’s Tavern’s would have placed a distant second behind his in the CN&R’s Best of Chico readers’ pick for best Bloody Mary.
Henri’s Bacon Bloody Mary (for one)
In large glass mix 1 1/2 cup Knudsen’s Very Veggie (Spicy), 2 oz. vodka, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. horseradish, 1 dash salt, 1 dash freshly ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice, 1 dash fresh celery salt.
Mix all ingredients in a large glass over ice and garnish with a lemon wedge and two slices of crispy bacon.
Asian Bloody Mary (for four—from Bon Appetite)
In large pitcher, mix 2 cups tomato juice, 1 cup vodka, 8 tsp. soy sauce, 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 4 tsp. fresh lime juice, 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (optional), 1 tsp. wasabi paste.
Mix all ingredients with ice in a large pitcher. Pour into four glasses, sprinkle shichimi togarishi on top, and garnish each with a stalk of lemon grass.
Henri and Colette’s Asian Bloody Mary (for one)
2 oz. vodka
1/2 tsp wasabi paste
1 tsp thai curry paste
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp lime juice
lime slices, for garnish
Henri’s Quick Asian Bloody Mary (for one)
Some reddish juice
Some shichimi togarashi
Splash of sesame oi