recipe #21: deconstructed bloody mary

by Gillian on June 28, 2011

As a general rule I prefer my alcohol unadorned.  I like beer.  I like bourbon.  I love tequila.  And I drink them straight – no frills.  Should I opt for a cocktail, I tend to go the savory route.  I am no stranger to Dirty Martinis and I have been known to drag my loved ones across town for a good Bloody Mary.

Cocktail culture and the ubiquitous waxed mustaches that come with it can sometimes make me cringe, but despite the mustachioed men clad in ascots that are all-too-often behind the bar, I do appreciate the recent attention given to artisinal drinks.  It adds another dimension to dining out, and well…who can complain about that?

A few weeks ago I had brunch at the Tasting Kitchen – our local go-to spot in Venice.  Their brunch menu is fairly odd and unconventional, but what it lacks in omelets and pancakes it makes up for with chicken and waffles and a killer cocktail list.  On that particular Sunday morning I ordered a celery based Bloody Mary which I have tried to recreate here.

In the restaurant version, celery juice, vodka, peppercorns and lime are shaken, strained and served up in a glass with salt and sumac on the rim.  In my version, vodka is infused with peppercorns over night, shaken with celery juice and lime and served up in a glass with a tomato salt rim – a trick I accomplished with my fancy new dehydrator.

If you have a juicer, it is best to juice fresh celery right before you construct your cocktail.  You can also puree it in a food processor and strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth.  Should you have a dehydrator, but no tomatoes, use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  I happen to also love arugula salt.  And if you are less indulgent and/or neurotic than I am and happen not to have a dehydrator hiding in your cupboard just pour it in a glass and drink up.

deconstructed bloody mary

(makes 1 cocktail)

2 oz vodka, infused with 3 peppercorns overnight

1 oz celery juice

3/4 oz lime

tomato salt for rim (recipe follows)

Before you juice your lime, cut it in half and use the inside to moisten the rim of a cocktail glass.  Dip the rim of your glass in tomato salt and set aside.  In a cocktail shaker, combine peppercorn-infused vodka, celery juice and lime.  Add ice and shake vigorously.  Strain into prepared cocktail glass.

tomato salt

dehydrated tomatoes

salt

Cut as many tomatoes as you like into 1/4 inch rounds and dehydrate at 135 degrees F for 12 to 24 hours – until brittle.  In a spice or coffee grinder grind the dehydrated tomatoes into a powder.  Add salt to taste and whir a few times to combine.  Use on the rim of a cocktail, sprinkle on buttered toast or add to pasta for a fresh tomato kick.

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