Competition cranks up creativity
Earlier this month in Little River near the town of Mendocino, MendoParks held its second annual Bloody Mary Competition to benefit state parks in Mendocino County, as part of the MendoParks Whale Festival 2022.
Six teams of mixologists stirred up a range of Bloody Marys at the Little River Inn, which hosted the contest.
The panel of judges, including yours truly, were asked to judge the cocktails on the basis of “most creative,” “best use of heat” and “best bloody garnish.”
It didn’t hurt that mixologist Reilly Robson of the Noyo Harbor Inn, who won “most creative,” based her drink around a pork product, the sweet and spicy Millionaire Bacon served by the Sweet Maple restaurant in San Francisco.
To be honest, her Bloody Mary was so spicy at first that it made one of the judges cry. But once the ice had time to melt, the heat was tamed and the balanced base of tomato juice, pineapple juice, smoked maple syrup, lemon juice, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and Sriracha was able to shine.
“The pineapple juice works well with the spices, and we used pineapple-infused vodka,” Robson said. “We garnished it with fresh pineapple wedges and spicy bacon.”
Winning first place for “best use of heat” was, not surprisingly, the Mendocino Fire Department, who mixed up a satisfying Bloody Mary set afire by old-fashioned prepared horseradish and a sprinkle of Tajin and Old Bay seasonings.
“It’s really a traditional Bloody Mary,” said Assistant Chief John Pisias. “The tomato juice is half Knudsen and half Campbell’s.”
The winner of the “best garnish” award went to Mayan Fusion of Fort Bragg owned by Silver Canul. The cocktail and the garnish flavors were inspired by his home in the Yucatan, which is known for its gastronomy.
The base of the Mayan Mary was made with fire-roasted habañeros, lime, salt, achiote paste and a blend of Campbell’s tomato juice and Bloody Mary mix. The garnish was a sweet and savory blend of mango, pineapple, jicama and grilled scallop.
“I love the spice and the flavor,” said Melissa Shaw, bartender and general manager of Mayan Fusion. “The achiote makes it earthy, and the habañero makes your lips tingle.”
The following recipe is from Bird & The Bottle in Santa Rosa. The recipe for the Kimchi Bloody Mary Mix can be divided or multiplied.
Kimchi Bloody Mary
1 ½ ounces 360 Vodka
½ ounce lime juice
5 ounces Kimchi Bloody Mary Mix (see below)
1 strip chicken (or regular) bacon
Chile salt (half Korean chile flakes (gochugaru), half kosher salt, dash of cayenne)
Lime or lemon wedge
Pour vodka and lime juice into a tall Collins glass. Add ice. Pour Kimchi Bloody Mary Mix over ice and stir well with a bar spoon. Garnish by skewering pepperoncini and bacon strip on a long toothpick. Place across the top of the glass. Sprinkle the garnish with the Korean chile salt and finish with a lemon or lime wedge on the side of the glass.
You can divide this recipe to make less or multiply it to make more. Garlic chile paste is available at Asian grocery stores or in the Asian section of larger supermarkets.
Bird & The Bottle Kimchi Bloody Mary Mix
Makes 2 liters (about 12 cocktails)
1 46-ounce can tomato juice
2 ounces garlic chile paste
2 ounces prepared horseradish
2 ounces green Tabasco
3 cups kimchi juice (drained from purchased or homemade kimchi)
Mix together all ingredients. Chill at least several hours before using, to allow flavors to meld. Keeps in refrigerator for up to a week.
The following recipe is from Grossman’s in Santa Rosa.
The Bloody Maury
Everything spice, ground
2 ounces 360 vodka
5 ounces Grossman’s Bloody Mary Mix (see recipe below)
Pimiento-stuffed olive, cocktail onion and pickled cauliflower
Dill pickle slice
Lemon or lime wedge
Dip the rim of the glass in citrus juice, then roll it in the Everything seasoning.
Add the Bloody Mary Mix to the glass, then add ice.
On a toothpick, add a pimiento-stuffed olive, cocktail onion and pickled cauliflower and place on top of the glass. Slide the dill pickle into the glass.
This recipe calls for Red Schug, an Israeli hot sauce similar to Tabasco with the texture of chimichurri. If you don’t have time to make your own, substitute your favorite hot sauce, starting with 1 to 2 tablespoons of it, to taste.
Grossman’s Bloody Mary Mix
Makes 2 liters (enough for 12 cocktails)
3 tablespoons Red Schug (see recipe below)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons ground black pepper