Currently I am enjoying some time off work, getting organised for the New Year and catching up with friends. Life has slowed down and I am relishing the fact that I don't have to wake up to an alarm every day. I am actually waking up earlier than I normally would because of this and it means that I can get a head start on the day.
I am not sure if the same thing will be said for New Year's Day. I know that even in my "wizened" thirties, I will still be celebrating New Year's Eve with friends and there will still be champagne flowing. It is going to be a civilised BBQ rather than traipsing through the streets of Sydney (as I did in my twenties) looking for a pub that wasn't packed to the gills, or trying to find "the best spot ever" to watch the fireworks. Not to mention deluding myself into thinking that I was the special person who would be able to get a taxi home at 3 a.m. Oh, the lessons I have learnt...
I know I will probably not have the hangover that I used to endure in my twenties the next day, but I think that a Bloody Mary is a pretty great pick-me-up to have during a late breakfast or brunch after celebrating the night before.
When I was doing research on this cocktail there were literally hundreds of variations, all of them with tomato juice and vodka (or in the case of a Bloody Maria, tequila) as well as various spices, pickles and vegetables. Some have prawns, oysters and even bacon in them (which sounds sensational to me). I have also seen riffs on the cocktail in both restaurants and on blogs such as salads, shooters, jellies and sauces. Purists will probably heartily disagree with me but I do not think you should pigeon-hole a Bloody Mary.
Make it your own way, no one will care - they will be more interested in what is happening in their own high ball.
I made The Bearded Gamer one and it was almost a different drink altogether to mine because I made his very heavy on the Tabasco and also threw in a little Sriracha hot sauce (dude likes chilli).
|Ingredients in MY Blood Mary: 1. wasabi, 2. Worcestershire Sauce, 3. lemon Juice, 4. Tabasco Sauce, 5. black pepper, 6. tomato juice, 7. celery salt, 8. lemon salt 9. celery stalk.|
Not pictured: vodka and a cornichon (mini pickle)
The type of heat that I love (and can handle in large doses) is the heat that you get from things like horseradish, mustard, ginger and wasabi. I love that it wakes me up, hits me in the nose and knocks my sinuses into shape. The heat is warming and (most importantly) fleeting.
On the other hand, I do not love the way a very hot chilli has the power to obliterate my taste buds and then proceed to burn itself through my digestive system like a cartoon fuse attached to a box marked "ACME TNT". I also dislike the fact that no amount of liquid can quench the fire. Milk works, apparently - but who has a tall glass of milk on hand in these situations?
I know that that there are many varieties of chillies out there, all with their own flavour and heat level, and don't get me wrong, I like a little in my food - in moderation. For instance, my friend put a shake of Tabasco sauce on fresh prawns the other day and I thought it was heaven.
I am working on building my tolerance levels up when it comes to chillies but don't expect to see me competing in any chilli eating contests any time soon.
My Bloody Mary was, therefore, light on the chilli heat and I went slightly heavier with the wasabi - if I had had fresh horseradish I would have used that instead.
If you like the sharp acid of vinegar or sour flavours, why not add in some pickle juice or extra lemon juice? If you are making this for a crowd, why not put out a spread of different ingredients and garnishes? Make a big, chilled jug of vodka- spiked tomato juice and let your guests go to town.
Here is a list of ingredients and garnishes that you could include in your Bloody Mary smörgåsbord:
I think you get the idea.
Happy New Year everyone!
The Littlest Anchovy's Bloody Mary
Take a high ball glass and fill it with ice. Run a lemon wedge around half the rim of the glass and dip it in lemon salt* to form a crust on half the rim.
Add 50 ml of vodka and then the following:
Shake of celery salt
Good squirt of wasabi paste
juice from quarter of a lemon
A splash of Worcestershire Sauce ( about 1/2 teaspoon)
3 drops of Tabasco sauce
Small pinch of lemon salt - check if your tomato juice is salted or not to adjust to taste.
Little bit of black pepper.
Top the glass up with cold tomato juice and garnish with a celery stalk and a cornichon.
Zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons sea salt
Add both ingredients to a mortar and pestle and pound until combined. Dry on a baking sheet overnight before storing in an airtight jar