What Do You Put in Your Bloody Mary?
by Max Davidson
As a US scientist
declares the Bloody Mary the world's most complex cocktail, Max
Davidson wonders if it's ever acceptable to add your own ingredients
and ditch the celery stick altogether?
Nice work if
you can get it. Let other scientists split the atom and find cures
for cancer. An American boffin has landed what would be close to
my fantasy job: drinking quantities of Bloody Mary and giving his
scholarly opinion on it.
Dr Neil Da
Costa, an expert on the chemical analysis of flavours, is employed
by the company International Flavours and Fragrances in New Jersey,
USA, and now declares the Bloody Mary to be the worlds most
From the point
of view of flavour chemistry, his specialist field, it apparently
has a blend of hundreds of flavour compounds that acts on
the taste senses. Its the perfect balance of sweet,
salty, sour and savoury, though not bitter but, according
to the New Jersey flavour-meister, is the most difficult to get
The last time
I ordered a Bloody Mary was a week ago, when I had lunch with Sir
Michael Parkinson at his Michelin-starred pub in Berkshire. It was
a good un, robustly flavoured, as virile and uncomplicated
as Parkys native Yorkshire, but without that poncey accessory
you get in cocktail bars in Mayfair the stick of celery.
What is the
celery doing there? It adds nothing, flavour-wise, and you have
to drink around it, like a nervous vicar, or it gets impaled in
your nostril. Are you meant to lick the vodka and tomato juice off
the celery? Or nibble it like a rabbit? Puh-lease. I have yet to
meet anyone who orders a Bloody Mary and says:
sure you add a stick of celery, Marcus old chap.
As there is
no classic recipe as such, ordering a Bloody Mary is a task like
no other a question of which ingredients from a rich and
spicy repertoire should you add in or leave out.
it comes to the Bloody Mary, everyone has their own preferences,
says drinks expert Tom Sandham of www.dwink.com. Traditional
ingredients include Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper,
horseradish, lemon juice and celery salt but what goes into
a Bloody Mary, and in what quantities, varies from bar to bar and
from person to person.
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© 2011 Daily Telegraph