Williams-Sonoma issued the challenge: create a new spin for a brunch cocktail using juiced tomatoes. Well, I LOVE tomatoes…but I’ve never really enjoyed drinking tomato juice in any form. It’s probably because my mind immediately goes to jarred clamato like a South Park spoof. Sorry Bloody Mary lovers, I seriously dislike what you describe as a complex and spicy stew that gets you drunk. But at the height of tomato season, I developed a cocktail that borrows the essence of the classic. It took some experimentation to come up with a cocktail that I’ll be making every time tomato season hits. This drink is sublime.
Bloody Marys are all about the complex flavor blend of sour, salty, spicy and savory. Tomatoes are a great conductor of different flavors but the key is to balance everything. First, to bump up the missing sweet element, I chose to go half and half with tomato juice and watermelon juice, which is another late summer fruit. For sour there’s a bit of lime juice balanced with a pinch of salt. Then, avoid killing the refreshing quality with too much spicy like I did when I made my first (undrinkable) concoction. Instead of blending in hot peppers you can pre-infuse the juices with serranos, seeds removed, or add it to the drink when serving to have it slowly get spicier as you imbibe. The savory element is all for the garnish: a little cheese and tomato – maybe some shrimp or bacon if you’re feeling randy. Just say no to horseradish, Worcesterchire, celery salt, or anything that will cloud the freshness.
Now, it does take a few tools to make this straight from the market. You can use a juicer to extract the the watermelon and tomato juice – that’s probably the quick and easy way. However, if you are not armed with a juicer, use a blender or immersion blender to puree the fruit then strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. You’ll create a thin, translucent liquid that will keep for a day or two if sealed and refrigerated. Leave out the vodka and you the makings of an agua fresca with the first step of the recipe.
I know it’s a complete bastardization of a Bloody Mary, but hey, no one is calling it that! What do you think? Will you drink up some summer with me?
- ¼ cup Tomato Juice, from fresh, low-acid tomatoes
- ¼ cup Watermelon juice
- 2 Tbsp Premium Vodka (1 ounce) (optional, but who are you kidding?)
- 1½ Tbsp Lime Juice, from ½ lime
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 serrano pepper
- Cherry or Grape Tomato
- Feta Cheese
- Fresh Mint
- Make the tomato and watermelon juices separately by juicing fresh fruit and straining through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Chill until ready to use.
- Prepare a Collins glass with ice. Slice serrano pepper in half lengthwise, carefully remove and discard ribs and seeds, and add to prepared glass. Measure tomato juice, watermelon juice, vodka, lime juice and salt into a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes and shake well. Pour drink over ice. Garnish with a skewer of tomato, watermelon, feta and mint.