The changing of the seasons has certainly come with colder nights and windy days settling in on the hill where we live.
Which means the evening is best started off with something a little more savory than the usual.
The bloody mary is what everyone's mind jumps to when the words savory and cocktail are used in the same sentence, but that’s just the gateway to the world of drinks that are part meal, part tipple.
Bloody Mary’s are so versatile that the only limit is to how long you want to spend making the thing.
The go to variation in the Creighton household is the Caesar, a fairly typical mix: vodka, worcester sauce and Tabasco but instead of tomato juice, it calls for Clamato juice.
It’s exactly what you might think. Clam juice and tomato juice.
Sounds odd to the uninitiated but this Canadian variation really rounds out the cocktail with a salty brine that really has no traces of being “fishy”.
But alas, Clamato juice is a little hard to come by so I’m going to dive into some Bloody Mary variations that are a little more attainable.
Before you mix up the cocktail it’s best to start by batching up a tomato juice mix that is to your liking.
The first thing to decide is if you even want to use tomato juice, maybe you want carrot juice for something a little lighter or a mix of both.
Then you want to decide on your salty additives, the obvious two are worcester sauce and hot sauce, for carrot juice a more vinegary hot sauce will offset the sweetness.
Here’s where the fun part begins, if you have capers or olives in the fridge, the brine from them would be great. Miso? Great, go for the white stuff. Spices such as white pepper, celery salt and dried herbs like sage, oregano and thyme would work great as long as they are finely ground.
To proof up the batch and make it last a little longer in the fridge a bit of smoky mezcal would also add that essential hit of smoke for a drink that will really warm the cockles.
If you are looking to pace yourself or a lighter abv option, a 50/50 mix of a lager type beer and the Bloody Mary mix you’ll find below works a treat.
It’s pretty close to a Mexican cocktail called a Michelada, which is a mix of a beer with about two shots of a richer Bloody Mary mix.
This then takes you down the rabbit hole of savory beer mixes like the American beertini which is a beer with ½ a shot of olive brine and some olives, or a red beer, which adds a good dose of tomato juice.
To me, these type of drinks don’t come out until late afternoon and with a big plate of charcuterie and cheese.
Anyone who sees what I post on social media will know I’m a big fan of smoked and preserved meats and there’s a guy in town who knows a heck of a lot more than me about it.
I went into Fleming at the Top of Town butcher and told him I wanted a salami to pair with a Bloody Mary.
Before I know it, he has a tasting board of 6 different salamis lined up by flavour profile and foreshadows number three by saying he thinks that will be the one.
He was right, it was a rich, cumin heavy cut that was able to stand out from the Bloody Mary, which already brings so much to the table.
So I took off from the butcher with four different salamis, some bresaola and some pastrami for sandwiches the next day.
4.30 in the afternoon is absolutely peak time to sit around the table to do something like this and it keeps everyone in the heart of the house while dinner is cooked.
It’s a great way to be social with people you see every day.
Bloody Mary batch: 1.5 tomato juice 2 shots mezcal 3 shots Worcestershire sauce ½ shot Tabasco Sauce 1 shot soy sauce 1 tsp white miso paste ¼ tsp sage powdered ¼ tsp parsley powdered 1 tsp cracked black pepper Bloody Mary: 2 parts vodka 5 parts Bloody Mary mix Celery salt or pepper to garnish Session Michelada: ½ Lager beer ½ Bloody Mary mix