Not only is the Bloody Mary the classic Sunday morning drink, it's also the most complex cocktail, in terms of flavour chemistry. So naturally scientists are all over it. Here, tips from an American Chemical Society presentation on perfecting the Bloody Mary.
The Bloody Mary is loaded with ingredients: tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, fresh lemon or lime juice, horseradish, black pepper, and celery salt — each contributing to "a blend of hundreds of flavour compounds that act on the taste senses" according to an expert on the chemical analysis of flavors, Dr. Neil C. Da Costa. The Bloody Mary, he says, "covers almost the entire range of human taste sensations - sweet, salty, sour and umami or savory- but not bitter."
After analysing the composition and sensory attributes of the ingredients in a Bloody Mary cocktail, Da Costa's research reveals some clues on how to make the perfect Bloody Mary:
Make it fresh. Chemically, the Bloody Mary is a "highly unstable" concoction, and the quality tends to deteriorate quickly.
Ice it up. Serving Bloody Marys on ice helps to slow down the chemical reactions involving acids in tomato juice and other ingredients that degrade the taste.
Mind your mixes. If you use a cocktail mix, add some fresh ingredients to enhance the flavor and aroma.
Splurge on the juice. Tomato juice makes up most of the Bloody Mary's volume, so use high quality juice that has a deep, rich flavour.
Economise on the vodka. The intense, spicy flavor of a Bloody Mary masks the vodka, and using premium vodka makes little sense.
Many of these tips, including using cheap vodka, were previously covered in our guide to making the perfect Sunday morning Bloody Mary, but it's nice to have Science back us up. Photo by flydime
What's your perfect Bloody Mary formula? Share your Sunday-morning-cocktail thoughts with us in the comments.