On Sunday, March 25, six esteemed Seattle bartenders got up awfully early (after many of them worked a closing shift the previous night) to face off in our Bloody Mary competition. Six excellent drinks later, the people had spoken: Bastille bar manager Erik Carlson’s Farmers Bloody Mary proved the favorite of both drinkers and our highly official judging panel, made up of myself, nattily attired spirits rep Rocky Yeh, Bloody Mary devotee and Matt’s in the Market bartender Robbie McGrath, and the lovely and spice-loving Kamala Saxton of Marination.
Carlson served up his winning drinks with fingers stained purple from beets. This victorious version isn’t for amateurs: It involves a housemade tomato juice, mirepoix, and a bottle of Oola vodka infused with horseradish and lovage. It also involves knowing the definition of words like “mirepoix” and “lovage.” Hey, if creating awesome drinks was easy, everyone would do it.
A giant thanks to Marley Tomic-Beard of The Sexton, Aleko Lilly of Barrio, Evan Martin of Chino’s, MistralKichen bar manager Matt Bailey, and Poquitos barman Jonny Spielsinger for getting the crowd good and Bloodied on a Sunday morning. Here’s Carlson’s winning recipe for those of you feeling ambitious.
Farmer’s Bloody Mary
4 ounces house made tomato juice (recipe follows)
2½ ounces horseradish- and lovage-infused Oola vodka (recipe follows)
¼ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
¼ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon 10-year-old aged balsamic vinegar
⅛ teaspoon piment d’espelette
⅛ teaspoon sriracha
⅛ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of ground peppercorn
1 teaspoon pickled mirepoix (finely chopped celery root, carrot, shallot, onion) on top of the drink.
2 pickled baby red beets and 2 pickled chanterelle mushrooms on a skewer.
Combine all your ingredients in a mixing tin and stir with a bar spoon until thoroughly mixed. Fill a 16 ounce glass with ice cubes and pour the mixture over, gently roll the drink back and forth from the glass to the mixing tin. Garnish with house pickles and a fat straw.
1 bottle Oola vodka
1 bunch of lovage (leaves only)
¼ pound of peeled and diced fresh horseradish
Place horseradish and vodka in a glass container, cover and place in cool area for 5 hours, stirring every hour. Strain out horseradish pieces and add the lovage leaves. Let the vodka and lovage sit in a cool place for 12 hours, strain out lovage leaves, and bottle.
Cut 6 tomatoes in half and place on baking sheet, season with sea salt and place in the oven at 200 degrees for 3 hours. Remove tomatoes from the oven and let cool in the refrigerator. When cool, peel the skin off of the tomatoes and place in food processor, blend tomatoes until smooth. Pour the tomato puree through a sieve and place in a sealed glass bottle and refrigerate.