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?
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.