What is it?
Vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, pepper, lemon, ice. It's the best hangover cure you'll come across all year, bearing in mind that "all year" at this stage means only this morning. Even if you're not hungover, a good Bloody Mary is one of the great cocktails of the world: icy, spicy, fresh, strong, sharp and conveniently garnished with items of food such as celery stalks for those who have forgotten to have breakfast.
Where is it?
The classic Bloody Mary is available in all good bars, but increasingly wild variations are popping up all over the city. Sydney: At The Norfolk on Cleveland in Surry Hills, the Bloody Italian (pictured here in its trademark can) is made with vodka infused with garlic, rosemary and balsamic vinegar, mixed with tabasco, vermouth, horseradish cream, pepper, paprika, brown sugar and olive brine and finished with cucumber, lemon, rosemary, and a skewer of pickles, olives and cherry tomatoes. At the two-hatted Thai restaurant Longrain, the Bloody Longrain comes with the kick of a red-chilli nam jim dressing instead of good old British Worcestershire sauce, as well as smashed coriander roots, chilli, fish sauce and palm sugar. Then there's the Ghost of Mary at Gowings in the City, a heart-starting combo of Eristoff vodka infused with jalapeno chilli and bacon, with Mary mix, celery bitters, bacon salt and pickled vegetables. Melbourne: At Birdman Eating in Fitzroy, the Birdman Bloody Mary may be a relatively sober concoction of vodka, Tabasco, tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish and pepper, but it comes complete with the baked eggs of the day on the side. At Melbourne's Longrain. Then there’s the Mary at Borsch Vodka & Tears, where ‘‘vodka is our middle name’’, that comes with the kick of home-made garlic and chilli-infused vodka, along with cucumber, celery, olive and Tabasco.
Why do I care?
That sort of depends on what you did last night and whether you can remember it.
Can I do it at home?
Of course. Swap the Worcestershire sauce for teriyaki sauce (that's a Bloody Mariyaki), or substitute the vodka with dark rum (Bloody Pirate) or Mexican beer (Michelada).
As for garnishes, there's no limit. At The Nook, a bar in Atlanta, Georgia, the Bloody Best is topped with bacon, pepperoncini, blue-cheese-stuffed olives, Tater Tots, steak, toast and an egg. And it comes with a beef straw.
The Norfolk, 305 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, 9699 3177
Longrain, 85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, 9280 2888
Gowings, QT Hotel, 49 Market Street, 8262 0062
Borsch, Vodka & Tears, 173 Chapel St, Windsor 95302694
Longrain, 44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne 96713151
Birdman Eating, 238 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy 94164747
The Norfolk's Bloody (Italian) Mary
Garnish with sliced cucumber, rosemary, lemon and a skewer of cherry tomato, green olive and cocktail onions.
45ml infused vodka (see below)
20ml Mary mix (see below)
15ml lemon juice
120ml tomato juice
Tabasco to taste
For the infused vodka:
30ml balsamic vinegar
1 bunch of rosemary
5 garlic cloves
For the Mary mix:
450ml Worcestershire sauce
5 tsp horseradish cream
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
120ml olive brine
celery salt to taste
To infuse the vodka, combine balsamic vinegar, rosemary, garlic and vodka in a saucepan and heat to 45 degrees. Cool and store. Combine all ingredients for the Mary mix. To make the Bloody Italian, combine 45ml infused vodka and 20ml Bloody Mary mix with the lemon juice, tomato juice and Tabasco to taste, in a Boston shaker. Roll (not shake) until mixed. Garnish and serve over ice in a tall chilled glass or a can. Serves one