Ace's renowned Chef Tom Yates digs into 'How to make a vine to table Bloody Mary'
To the last tasty tomatoes of the season
BY TOM YATES
My love of a good bloody mary is no secret. On any given day before 2:00 pm, when I’m not working, if the opportunity arises for me to enjoy a bloody mary, I’m all over it.
On our last trip to Washington DC we stayed at the Hotel Rouge (www.rougehotel.com), a boutique luxury hotel located a half block off trendy Dupont Circle. It was completely and tastefully decorated in red. They offered a free Red Stripe beer happy hour every night in the hotel lobby followed by a complimentary bloody mary bar the next morning.
When we trek to Louisville for our Broadway Series subscription Saturday matinee performances, we usually have our pre-show brunch at the downtown Bristol’s location. They have recently added a bloody mary bar to their Saturday brunch. Wow. It tickled me crazy and made my head spin. Kettle One vodka, Clamato Juice, beef bouillon, house bloody mary mix, tomato juice, V8 Juice, and Worcestershire sauce were the liquid choices. Additions and glass rimmers included fresh dill, fresh thyme, sea salt, celery seed, celery salt, cracked pepper, or wasabi paste. Pickled okra, tomolives, freshly grated horseradish, pickled carrots, celery, jicama, black olives, green olives, pepperoncini, and cherry peppers rested on crushed ice as garnishes. The first time I encountered Bristol’s bloody bar I didn’t eat lunch, I drank it. I had to sample as many variations as possible in our short pre-show window of opportunity. I was polite about it. Civilized, even.
On last year’s hazy Labor Day, I thought I would curl up on the couch in my silk pajamas with a bloody mary and enjoy a DVR marathon of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
But…I didn’t have any tomato juice, bloody mary mix, or Clamato Juice.
I did have tomatoes soaking up the sun in our tomato jungle on the back deck. I thought, should I?
I plucked a few of the deepest red ripe tomatoes still clinging to the vines and pureed them in our blender. After adding a couple of shots of vodka to loosen it up a bit, I seasoned it with sea salt, cracked pepper, celery salt, celery seeds, horseradish juice, and worcestershire sauce. I rimmed the glass with celery salt and dill, plopped a few ice cubes into the glass, and poured the garden fresh bloody mary over them.
A lemon wheel, split jalapeno, and juiced lemon finished it off.
I savored every drop. It wasn’t just a bloody mary.
It was like drinking a jazzed up garden fresh tomato.
This also appears on page 16 of the September 2021 print edition of Ace Magazine.
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