Old favorite shows off some new twists
Recently, Food Network’s New York City Wine & Food Festival, in conjunction with “Chopped” and Absolut Vodka, held a competition for the best Bloody Mary in America. Among powerhouse cities like Austin, TX, San Diego, CA, and Miami, FL, Chattanooga finds its own place nestled in the top 12 finalists of the competition.
Gabriel Camp of the new Root Kitchen and Wine Bar placed in the top 12 nationally for his own Bloody Mary rendition entitled “Iber Miguel.” The recipe is at once traditional and innovative:
- ¾ parts Absolut Cilantro
- ½ parts Absolut Peppar
- ¼ parts Correlajo añejo tequila
- 4 parts yellow heirloom Bloody Mary mix
- Pickled shrimp
- Salsa verde
- Heirloom tomato pico de gallo
- Adobo-dusted tortilla chips
- Lemon & lime
Hearing about Gabriel’s success reinvigorated my interest in the Bloody Mary, so I went off to conduct research on the ins-and-outs of this quirky concoction. After reading about Gabriel’s Bloody Mary, I went to the newly opened Clyde’s on Main and talked to bartender C. Moore about the traditions of the Bloody Mary and Clyde’s own take on the classic drink.
Typically, a Bloody Mary is made with vodka, tomato juice, and lemon juice, along with a combination of spices like tabasco, Worcestershire, celery salt, and whatever else the bartender sees fit to add. The Bloody Mary is full-bodied and spicy. It’s a drink that requires patience and appreciation. The Bloody Mary is almost a meal in itself and, because of that, is often touted as a go-to hair of the dog hangover remedy.
The late mornings and early afternoons of the weekends seem like the perfect time to sit down in the sun and enjoy one. And as with all strongly flavored food and drink, the Bloody Mary has a bit of a learning curve to it. People tend to either love or hate it. It’s a kind of an acquired taste—the more you drink them, the more you want to drink them.
Clyde’s has a special edition of their Bloody Mary called the “Bloody Bubba.” The Bubba adds moonshine to the mix for that extra kick you’ll need on a Sunday afternoon. Combine that with vodka, tomato juice, salt and pepper, tabasco, horseradish, Worcestershire, cider vinegar, cucumber juice, and some other ingredients, and you’ve got one hell of a Bloody Mary.
If you’ve not ventured into the Bloody Mary world, I highly suggest you begin your journey with Root Kitchen or Clyde’s. And don’t stop after the first one. Keep tasting, and discover what you didn’t know you were missing.