The Bloody Mary need not be confined to vodka. Here are 10 variations on the popular hair of the dog using other spirits.
Aside from being a drink of choice on flights and a popular hair of the dog, the Bloody Mary is good brunch option when entertaining guests on weekends.
Like many cocktails, the origins of the Bloody Mary are often debated. Some claim Fernand Petiot created the drink in 1921 at the New York Bar in Paris, others attribute it to the Hemingway Bar at the The Ritz in Paris. Regardless of its origins, the Bloody Mary has retained its popularity and has been granted its own drink holiday which is celebrated on January 1st.
The basic Bloody Mary recipe calls for tomato juice, spikes it with a spirit (usually vodka), adds a good measure of citrus, condiments, spices, and salts. The drink is garnished with anything from a humble celery stick to an entire greasy breakfast that yields a classic brunch cocktail – and in some cases a meal – that can be adapted in many ways.
But there’s more to the Bloody Mary than a vodka and tomato drink. Here are 10 ways you can spruce up the Bloody Mary with other spirits.
10 Bloody Mary Variations
Vodka has long been the norm, and while it adds little flavour, you can choose a vodka with a good peppery bite or a flavoured vodka such as one with citrus or peppers. Alternatively, try infusing vodka at home with your choice of chilli peppers, jalapenos or habaneros for that extra kick.
2. Gin / The Red Snapper
The Red Snapper subs gin for vodka and the botanicals add another dimension to the drink. For best results, choose a juniper forward gin or a London dry style gin, or a gin with a solid spice botanical backbone.
3. Tequila aka Bloody Maria
The Bloody Maria is made with tequila in place of vodka. Blanco tequila lends a vegetal and peppery note and can also be infused with jalapeño and other chillis for a little heat.
4. Peated Whisky
A peated Islay whisky Bloody Mary is a force to be reckoned with let alone for breakfast. It adds smoky and earthy notes and complements an umami version of the drink.
For a gentler smoke option, you could use an all mezcal Bloody Maria but a combination of blanco tequila with a mezcal float on top is not as overpowering and makes for one delicious drink that will impress your guests.
Aquavit is traditionally made with dill and caraway among other botanicals. With its similarities to gin, aquavit lends a savoury note and a herbaceous undertones to the drink. Garnish with a dill sprig.
For a more delicate flavour, this variation combines vodka with blanco vermouth (eg 3:1 ratio) and works best when used with clarified tomato juice. It’s elegant and easy to drink that you may find yourself having another.
For a Peruvian/Chilean twist, try using Pisco, a brandy or grape eau de vie. Peruvian Pisco can be made from eight types of grapes (here’s a primer on Pisco.) For best results, use the Quebranta varietal or a Pisco Acholado (blend) with a high percentage of Quebranta.
9. Cachaça / Maria Sangrenta
It’s not just for the Caipirinha. Cachaça, the spirit of Brazil is made from fresh sugarcane juice that is fermented and distilled. Unaged white cachaça usually has grassy, herbaceous and fresh notes which give the drink a vegetal note.
10. Bourbon / Whiskey
Bourbon or whiskey lends a sweeter and richer note to the cocktail while rye whiskey with a high rye content adds a welcome spicy profile. Play it right with your condiments, and you could end up with a version of the Bloody Mary with a BBQ meat flavour, garnished with smoky bacon.
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