Ciao! Bloody Mary is the drink I love

BILL KLAUBER

“Bloody Mary is the girl I love, Bloody Mary is the girl I love,” was a song from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1949 smash hit South Pacific.

“Bloody Mary is the drink I love” refers to my beverage of choice, especially on the morning after (and if I am just a bit smashed myself).

Whether the Bloody Mary is the antidote or the hair of the dog remains a discussion for another time. It is the art of making the Bloody Mary that I wish to discuss.

You might call this a lost art as Mr. & Mrs. T, Crosse & Blackwell and other prepared mixes seem to have taken the place of a made-to-order Bloody Mary such as I would enjoy at such establishments as Toots Shor’s and the Waldorf Astoria’s Bull and Bear lounge, both in New York City.

Watching bartenders like Ray at the Waldorf artfully add the appropriate ingredients which turned a glass of tomato juice into a spicy cocktail was as good as the drink itself. The anticipation would only increase my desire.

On the other hand, after watching experts like Ray and other bartenders take great pride in preparing a “fresh” Bloody Mary, it is always a letdown to order where the bartender just pours from a prepared mix and throws a lime and/or a celery stalk into the glass as a garnish before putting it down on the bar or a tray.

Because of these disappointments, I have developed my own concoction with a couple of different ingredients which suit my taste. And, if they had Bloody Mary runoffs like they do for chili recipes, I would be a ready entrant.

And it was that braggadocio which got me in trouble and got me the assignment to provide my bloody brew for a recent poolside barbecue at my condominium.

You might say I was “commissioned” to prepare my “Bloodies for my Buddies” — some 40 to 50 of them.

As I contemplated the amounts of the various ingredients I would need, I estimated that each imbiber would drink on average two Bloody (or Virgin) Marys, but I decided it would be better to err on the side of too much, rather than too little.

As a Boy Scout I learned the importance of preparation. So I compiled a list of what I would need before I embarked on my trip to the new Publix in the Marketplace.

I immediately went to the canned juice section and unloaded all of the “brand” label tomato juice on the shelf — a total of 10 cans. I supplemented this with two of the “house brand.” All of this to the dismay — and displeasure — of a gentlemen who apparently wanted to purchase the brand label, too. Either that or he was curious as to why I bought so many.

His glare adequately indicated his unhappiness with me. I thought, maybe he was making Bloody Marys, too. He almost look prepared to fight me for my cans. I resisted the diabolical urge to ask him if he had a good recipe to share.

But Making Bloody Marys is one thing, getting bloody as a result was quite another. In any case, I had more shopping to do.

I cruised around the store picking up the other ingredients, also in quantity amounts. By the time I was through, my basket was loaded. As I was paying, the gentlemen who was disturbed at the tomato juice section arrived with his cart which I perused. In addition to the three cans of juice, I saw no other items which would indicate that he was also preparing for a large group. I was tempted to ask him, with tongue in cheek, to sell me his tomato juice. I decided against that and went next door to purchase the quantity of vodka I thought I might need.

While the Boy Scouts may have taught me the need to be prepared, my tour of duty in the Navy taught me the importance of logistics. And so, too, were they important in the preparation of my Bloody Mary mix.

I had calculated the quantities of the various ingredients as previously mentioned. I also had decided the vessel I would you use to make the magic mix as well as the smaller jugs I would need to transfer them to in order to transport them to the site of the party.

The only pot large enough to make my brew was the cauldron in which we can boil or steam up to four good sized Maine lobsters. By the time I emptied all the cans it was almost two-thirds full. Fortunately, the vodka wouldn’t be poured in advance.

The next challenge was how to stir all the ingredients. I was tempted to use a golf umbrella for that extra lift, but I was afraid of the bogeyman (pun intended). So instead I opted for a long wooden ladle which I then used to transfer my concoction into several smaller vessels for transportation to the party.

For some reason, that whole operation from the cauldron to the umbrella reminded me of the three witches in Macbeth around the fire chanting “Double double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

While the cauldron didn’t bubble, my mix has its share of fire and I must say my Bloodies were a big hit. I left the party with only a quart or two left which I will carefully save for the morning after my next visit to the Blue Martini.

In closing, I have been asked several times for my secret formula. As I said to the last neighbor who requested it, if I gave it you, I would have to kill you.

No, he said, that’s how I felt after drinking them.

Ciao!

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features