A classic brunch cocktail is a wonderful thing because you don’t have to wait for the clock to strike pm in order to enjoy it. A Mimosa, for example, or a Screwdriver that can be drunk socially as early as you like.
And then there’s the Bloody Mary. A tall, highball glass of tomato juice and vodka, spiked with tongue-tingling spices that can be built with all sorts of interesting garnishes. Bloody Marys make a great `hair-of-the-dog’ hangover drink too, with its combination of a vegetable base (to soothe the stomach), salt (to replenish electrolytes) and alcohol (to relieve post-drinking aches and pains).
At Chef John Howie’s SPORT Restaurant & Bar in Seattle, the classic Bloody Mary has been reinvented so imaginatively, they call it the `Ultimate Bloody Mary’. Designed to be both eaten and drunk, the Ultimate Bloody Mary is an incredible crowd pleaser, and when you see one of the these beauties you’ll have to agree it’s rare to come across a cocktail as generous as this.
Chef John Howie first came across this recipe at the home of his dear friend Steven D. Smith. He loved the idea and the presentation so much, he decided to include the Bloody Mary in the SPORT bar menu.
We spoke with Robert Monroe, General Manager at SPORT, who deconstructed a towering 22 oz glass of the Ultimate for us, so we could see what exactly went into making Seattle’s most popular Bloody Mary:
– 3 oz of vodka (local corn vodka or Chef Howie’s Wildwood Spirits Co. Award Winning Stark Vatten Vodka)
– House made Bloody Mary mix, with wasabi for extra heat
– Crispy fried tempura bacon strip
– 2 oz Wagyu beef slider
– Deep fried hand made mozzarella square
– Jalapeño popper hand-stuffed with bacon, cheddar, pepper jack and cream cheese
– Fresh celery stalk
– Lemon, lime and green olives
– Salted rim
Priced at 18 dollars. And served any time.
“Sometimes, people are in a mood to have a drink at breakfast but it is too early in the day,” says Monroe. “They order the Ultimate Bloody Mary because the drink is satisfyingly strong, long and refreshing, and topped with some delicious garnishes to snack on.”
A glass of the Ultimate Bloody Mary is like a mini-meal in itself, and they sell really well during the early hours on weekends, game days and other event-driven days that bring people to the Seattle Center area. “The novelty value is irresistible,” says Monroe. “All I have to do is parade one order of the Ultimate Bloody Mary around the restaurant, and soon, everybody is wanting to order it.”
Fans of the Ultimate say they’ve never tasted a Bloody Mary mix like this. “We use all the traditional ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, celery salt etc, but we also add wasabi and a dash of orange juice,” says Monroe. “The citrus in the OJ balances out the spices beautifully. The tempura bacon, which is half submerged in the drink, soaks up the spices. Its crunchiness melts with the liquid, and the salt from the bacon and spices from the Mary mix add extra dimension to the flavor.”
You may worry that in a tall 22 oz drink, you won’t taste the alcohol at all, but that’s not the case with the Ultimate. There’s 3 oz of vodka in it, whereas a standard drink – like a vodka-and-soda or a rum-and-Coke – will only have 1.5 oz. “We warn people the drink has some punch when they order it,” says Monroe. “But not many ask for a diluted version. In fact, we decided to discontinue the Bloody Mary bar we had [where guests could choose their own garnishes] because nobody wanted to interfere with the way we already serve it.”
No wonder they call in the Ultimate Bloody Mary. It’s probably as good as a Bloody Mary can ever get!