Insane Over-Reaction: Bloody Mary Edition

Excuse me while I lose my mind for a little bit. This article about the bloody mary in the NYT made me take a Shia right in my Lebeouf.

Make me see red, Frank Bruni:

Over the last few years in particular bloody permutations have multiplied like mad. That makes perfect sense. No drink is better suited to this particular moment in New York City’s eating and drinking life, because no drink so thoroughly indulges both cheeky mixology and farm-to-table virtuousness. The bloody mary bridges the speakeasy and the herb garden; it’s a liquid salad into which you can not only pour pretty much any kind of base alcohol you like but also sprinkle parsley, basil or cilantro, and, while you’re at it, cram in hunks of vegetables, usually pickled, of many types.

No. No it isn’t. No you cannot. NO. STOP. JUST STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW.

At Prune you can have a vodka-based bloody with pickled Brussels sprouts, caper berries, white turnips, green beans and radishes — this version is called a Chicago Matchbox — or with wasabi and a beef jerky swizzle stick (the Green Lake). You can have a gin-based bloody with a pickled egg (the Caesar) or a tequila-based bloody with chipotle (the Southwest). Those are just four of the 10 bloody options.

And Prune can suck my white ass. Those aren’t bloody marys. They are like bloody marys, they like them because they are alcoholic drinks, in the same way that Kobe Bryant is like Ben Rothlisberger; they’re both accused rapists professional athletes. But would Phil Jackson ever let either of them near his daughers put Big Ben in the triangle offense?

Not All That Glitters Is Gold

A Bloody Mary is an iconic, classic drink. It has specific components, for specific reasons. It contains, AND ONLY CONTAINS:

1. Vodka, the neutral spirit.

2. Tomato juice, for a hearty, savory base.

3. Spices, for spice.

4. Celery, for texture.

5. Worschestershire sauce, for a subtle enhancement of the savory.

6. Optionally, Spanish Olives, for garnish and/or saltiness.

That’s it. That’s all. This won’t sound very libertarian of me, but there’s very little room for innovation in classic cocktails. Each cocktail has ingredients for a purpose. You can experiment inside that purpose, but adding or subtracting ingredients wholesale doesn’t innovate the drink, it makes it an entirely different cocktail experience. You wouldn’t dream of ordering vodka-and-cranberry, hold the cranberry, because that’s a totally different drink. So experiment away with the type of spice. Horseradish can be subbed out for wasabi, because they serve the same roll in different ways. You can substitute types of olives (my personal favorite is Gorgonzola-stuffed), but god help you if you put a lime on there. Bartenders who do that aren’t human. They’re filthy monsters who eat puppies and sunshine, and shit despair and AIDS. They’re still better people than Kobe, though.

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4 Responses to Insane Over-Reaction: Bloody Mary Edition

  1. Mr. Fantastic says:

    I fully, fully support your commentary good sir.

    What are your thoughts on bloody mary mixes? There’s one called zoom zoom or something that is fantastic, but I always feel like I’m cheating….

    Also, which bar has the best bloody Mary in town?

    • Mr. Fantastic says:

      It’s called Zing Zang and I just bought 3 bottles of it at 9 in the morning….

    • Aaron says:

      Unfortunately, I haven’t had very many bloodys around here. Anyone interested in another food/drink tour, after we WRAP up the Chipotle experience? PUN INTENDED.

      Mixes effect the experience. That’s not to be pejorative. Just like I don’t insist on five-star meals every day, or sip only the finest microbrews, if you realize what you’ve forgone by getting a mix, and accept the trade-off, that’s fine. Sometimes you want easy preparation, or bulk quantities, and don’t have time, energy, or money to invest in full-on mad-scientist cocktail prep. Ddon’t try to upsell a mix-boody for $15 dollars in a restaurant. That’s almost as bad as putting a lime wedge on one.

      • Christina says:

        I too bought bloody mary mix, but no worries, it appeared to follow the traditional prescription. My more pressing question is: when are we starting the drink tour, and should we consider including the best of other mixed drinks as well?

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