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How to Make a Bloody Mary in Japan

Posted on 2005/07/25 06:47:01 (July 2005).

[Sunday 24th July]
A largely uneventful day, the highlight of which being a while spent in the evening experimenting with Bloody Marys. It's all very well doing as the Romans for a bit, I'm a big fan of sake, sho-chu and Japanese beers... but eventually I find myself longing for something a little more, well, British. Technically speaking the Bloody Mary perhaps isn't British - I think it may well be Franco-American (see here), however, I'm not going to let little details like that bother me...

There have no doubt been long debates over the correct recipe for a Bloody Mary, which I'm not going to engage in here. As far as I'm concered you need vodka, something tomatoey, something spicy and something, errr, Worcestery. These things can all be found in abundance, even in sleepy little backwaters like Japan. The basics - tomato juice and vodka, presented no real problem. I went for "Suntory Ice Vodka", although Japan's proximity to Russia means you can probably get something a little more, well, authentic, if you look around. The Suntory one was basically tasteless alcohol - probably just about right for a Bloody Mary.

Surprisingly, Worcester sauce is particularly popular here - although you may not recognise it as that from the label. Oddly Japanese Worcester sauce doesn't have any fish in - a strange irony for a country with the biggest seafood consumption in the world - which I suppose is good news for vegetarians. There are plenty of other sauces in Japan in the ballpark of Worcester - for example Chuno, which bizarrely means just "middle sauce". I found Chuno quite a good substitute for Worcester, although it does require a bit more mixing as it is somewhat gloopy. Tonkatsu sauce (the sauce you put on, errr, tonkatsu) also has a vaguely similar flavour.

One interesting variation I tried is putting wasabi in - I'm sure this has been done before. I guess you would call this a "Bloody Maki". It was, well, interesting, but not necessarily an entirely successful experiment.

Comment 1

I think you will find it refers to Mary Queen of Scots.

Posted by Mum - a non-sanguine Mary at 2005/07/25 13:33:04.

Comment 2

I've done a Google "define:bloody mary" and I like wikipedia best. Instead of Worcester sause, look at the options... "beef consomme" !! Not exactly vegetarian but interesting all the same... :)

Posted by Nigel at 2005/07/25 15:20:47.

Comment 3

Was your Bloody Mary dressed or not? (celery salt+pepper)?

Posted by Lox at 2005/07/25 16:19:32.

Comment 4

This drink hails from Harry's New York Bar in Paris, and was first mixed by "Pete" Petoit. When Pete came back to New York City in the 1930's, he introduced the Red Snapper as America's first Bloody Mary. It was made with Gin, as Vodka was just emerging as a new spirit to American palates. The name may be attributed to Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII, who was declared illegitimate when Henry divorced her mother in 1532 to marry Anne Boleyn. She had a brief five year tenure as Queen and managed to kill off most of her Protestant adversaries. She was known as "Bloody Mary". Another account is that a patron said it reminded him of a girl named Mary he knew at the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago.

Posted by Omar at 2005/07/25 19:57:05.

Comment 5

Omar - thanks for the info! I knew some of this - I have actually been to Harry's New York Bar in Paris (see the link in the first paragraph of the post above)... and yes, it did seem to have gin in it - Bombay Sapphire to be precise!

Posted by John at 2005/07/26 03:11:16.

Comment 6

are you scared to do these things

Posted by kacey at 2006/12/16 20:56:29.

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