ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE BLOODY MARY

ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE BLOODY MARY Monday, October 24, 2011

Like just about everything else in this world, no one knows from where exactly the first Bloody Mary came.

Were Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald and their long-suffering wives (well, save for Fitz’s Zelda, who had a taste for all kinds of sauce) among the first to drink it (and by drink, we mean drink) at some iconic, jazz-age Parisian bar?

Was it named after a barmaid? A prostitute? The Protestant-burning and fiery-haired Mary, Queen of Scots? Maybe it has something to do with she whom we shall not name, but who nevertheless appears to us in our mirrors, in the dark, after we’ve summoned her by thricely chanting that name?*

Maybe. Anyway, it doesn’t necessarily matter which story’s correct when they’re all good.

And despite many claiming its authorship, most people don’t seem to care who first made it. That’s because the Bloody Mary, the kitchen-sink of cocktails cocktails, has long languished in the Public Domain, from where it is often plucked and reimagined by whomever has the base ingredients and the cocktail shaker in which to mix them. And when you get down to it, you put in it whatever you feel like. It’s sort of like delivering a joke. Tell a bad joke, and no one laughs. Tell a bad joke well, and everybody loves you.

And here, at The Original, we’ve finally crafted, after several revampings, a Bloody Mary to suit our own collective taste, and we’re pretty sure our ours is one of the bloody best you’ve ever had.

To build one from the bottom up we combine vodka, tomato juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, freshly shaved horseradish, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces, freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of salt, a small spoonful of Harissa, and, if you want it even spicier, an extra dash of peperoncini juice.

When it’s ready, we skewer the salad—wedges of lemon and lime, cocktail onions, castlvetrano olives and a peperoncini—and put the whole thing to bed by dipping into it one stick of beef jerky, and scattering over it once again just a few flakes more of freshly shaved horseradish.

And that’s just the basics. You can have it of course, with or without the stick of jerky, but if you order it with the jerky, be prepared for something very unusual.

See, our bartender and in-house Doctor Frankenstein, Murph, wondered what would happen if he repurposed the bits of jerky too small to use as a garnish and dropped them into a whipped cream canister, and then filled the rest of it up with vodka, seasoned it with black pepper and then and blasted the whole thing with nitrous oxide. What happened, after about 10 minutes, is what we’re now calling our house specialty beef-jerky-nitrous-infused vodka, which we’re certain you’re going to love to death.

Order one up, and see if it’s not up to your standards.

*No matter how old you are, we invite you to take a hard look in a dark mirror the next time you find yourself alone, and chant those two words over and over again, and see, even when nothing happens, if it still doesn’t give you a thrill.