I am a whiskey drinker. Being a southern boy with Kentucky roots I was weaned to bourbon. During my years in the military I drank Old Crow – usually buying it by the half gallon. When I retired from the military and became gainfully employed I matriculated to Scotch and Irish Whiskey. I haven’t had a mixed drink in fifty years; with the exception of Bloody Mary.
I was converted to the sect of Bloody Mary in Vietnam. On Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon on Sunday morning between ten and noon the NCO Club had a special: Bloody Mary for a nickel. Whenever I was in Saigon I would gather at the club with other lay people who chose to avoid Sunday church services, tithe a dollar, and partake of the bloody Eucharist, often with loud praise and adoration.
A couple of weeks ago on a Sunday morning my wife and I traveled up to a great little restaurant in a rural section of north-western Maine just a few miles from the Canadian border. I decided to have the eggs benedict with smoked salmon, and what better to have for a beverage than a Bloody Mary. It was advertised as their ‘Signature Bloody Mary’ and that alone should have given me pause. Instead of tomato juice they used canned whole tomatoes in a blender, adding vodka, some other secret ingredients and far too much Tabasco – this was topped off with an al’dente asparagus chute. When they brought the watery abortion to the table there were chunks of tomato and enough tomato seeds in suspension to clog a straw, and the drink was so hot it burned the lips.
I have witnessed the desecration of Bloody Mary before, but this was near the top. The worst was at a hotel bar in Fairbanks, Alaska. Their Bloody Mary was served with a jalapeno pepper at the bottom of the glass and two pickled string beans protruding – the only adjective I can link to describe their drink is: Nasty.
Making a Bloody Mary is simple: Ice in the bottom of the glass, salt on the ice, two shots of vodka and tomato juice. That is a Bloody Mary at its most basic, and I can worship on that. If you want more tang to complete the transubstantiation add the Trinity: a squeeze of lemon, a dollop of Worcestershire sauce and a spritz of hot sauce (I prefer Louisiana Hot Sauce to Tabasco, as it adds the flavor without the heat.) If you feel the need for a vegetable to stir, a stalk of celery works. Anything beyond this is an abomination.
In Leviticus, Buzzard sharia law, chapter 13 verse 2 it states that anyone mixing a Bloody Mary with any liquor other than vodka should be driven through the streets in sackcloth and crucified on a mountain of Smirnoff bottles; and verse 3 states that anyone making a Bloody Mary with commercial Bloody Mary mix should be stripped naked, given a Tabasco enema and made to dance on a bed of shattered ice cubes – the option would be stoning.
From the Church of the Blood of Mary I wish you a happy Sunday.