The first time I had clear tomato soup it struck me how great a clear tomato Martini would be. And then it struck me how a Bloody Mary Martini would be even greater. That was about two years ago and it was only last week I finally got round to making one.
The reason it took this long is that a key ingredient is clear tomato water. On reading round the web, I found lots of recipes mentioned specialist equipment which was off-putting. It also seemed a long process. But I couldn’t get quite get rid of the idea and planned ways on how to get the Bloody Mary flavours without adding colour.
First I found some celery bitters (from the Bitters truth) in Gerry’s on Old Compton Street - there are plenty of great drinks shops in London but I’ve yet to find one that stocks the range of bitters that Gerry’s does. Next I thought about flavouring vodka to add spice and chilli flavours. I settled on two infusions, both with vodka: one with chilli and one with horseradish.
To make the chilli vodka, I put yellow cherry tomatoes and red chillis in a jar and left it for two weeks – the idea was I could use the vodka in the drink and the tomatoes as garnish. For the horseradish vodka, I sliced up some root and infused it for a week. Which it turned out was far too long - it was so powerful, my first sip literally lifted me off the floor. I had to dilute it with neat vodka, which is the first time I’ve used 40 proof as a diluting agent. At that point I made a Bloody Mary with it and it was blimmin lovely.
That left the tomato water. In the end I took some garden tomatoes (unfortunateley not from my garden but a mates) and lightly blended them. After adding seasoning, I left it to drip through a coffee filter for a few hours. Not ideal but it did the job. I used the remaining pulp to make bruschetta.
0.5 chilli vodka
0.5 horseradish vodka
3 tomato water
Dash celery bitters
Dash of lime juice
Add all the ingredients to a shaker of ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a garnish of chilli-vodka spiked cherry tomatoes.