A perfect Bloody Mary on a Sunday morning could be the best thing that ever happened to the human race. It’s tangy, it’s sweet, it’s spicy…and there’s alcohol.Need I say more? flavour chemist Neil C. Da Costa’s latest project is to investigate the taste sensations created by Bloody Mary ingredients and create tips for making the best Bloody Mary humanly possible.
At an American Chemical Society meeting, Da Costa described the drink:”The Bloody Mary has been called the world’s most complex cocktail, and from the standpoint of flavour chemistry, you’ve got a blend of hundreds of flavour compounds that act on the taste senses. It covers almost the entire range of human taste sensations—sweet, salty, sour and umami or savory—but not bitter.”
The flavours come from the ingredients, of course:
- tomato juice
- Worcestershire and Tabasco
- lemon or lime juice
- black pepper
- celery salt
- garnish: celery and lemon wedge
Most ingredient have both a key flavour volatile, an aroma chemical that evaporates out from the drink, and a a key flavour non-volatile, a specific taste. Aroma chemicals and taste work together to produce the divine experience of drinking a Bloody Mary. So without further adieu, a chemist’s tips for producing the the best Bloody Mary on the planet:
Step 1 Use fresh ingredients.
Fresh cut lemon, fresh shaved horseradish, and fresh blended tomatoes…what’s better? According to chemists, fresh ingredients produce the strongest and most true possible aroma and taste.
Step 2 Drink it quickly.
The blend of ingredients in a Bloody Mary is ‘highly unstable’ chemically, and will start to taste different 30 minutes after its blended. So, make small drinks or drink it quick for best flavour.
Step 3 Supplement your mixes.
If you have to use a mix, throw fresh ingredients in to enhance flavour and aroma. Always use fresh cut lemon/lime, at least.
Step 4 Use quality tomato juice.
A Bloody Mary is mostly tomato juice, so go premium to get the rich flavour you’re looking for. Campbell’s, Knudson, or Welch’s are rumoured to be among the best.
Step 5 Use cheap vodka.
The intense, spicy, tangy flavour of a Bloody Mary chemically overpowers the flavour of the vodka, so don’t waste your money on premium vodka.