Drinking, surprisingly, is as much a science as it is an art. Actually it’s neither, but for those of you who actually like to know why things work, here is a concise (but intense) breakdown of one of our all time favorites, the Bloody Mary.
Bloody Marys have a special place in my heart; in addition to having a reputation as a hangover cure, it lets me get my 1 serving of vegetables a month. Bloody Mary’s, like many other cocktails, each have their own unique character depending on where you got them. Some were spicy, some were vinegary, some were salty and others were mostly vodka. However, they universally seemed to taste refreshing and savory. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Bloody Mary, this analysis might sully your virgin experience so head over to your nearest alcohol purveyor and get sippin’ before you glean over this.
Our amigo Neil Da Costa, an analytic chemist working for International Flavors and Fragrances, has taken the time to breakdown the chemical composition of the bloody mary, bit-by-bit, for our drinking and learning pleasure. Using advanced liquid and gas chromatography (wtf is that?), Da costa isolated a shit ton of compounds that give the bloody mary its trademark flavor. The secret to the bloody mary’s flavor profile is… not surprisingly, its diverse portfolio of flavors:
In addition to the flavor profile, the bloody mary proves that timing, is indeed everything. Costa notes that the appealing flavor of the cocktail stems from its cool refreshing start; spicy, fruitful body and then finally its sinus-clearing kick.
What the hell does this mean for you DIY bartenders? Like a house of cards, this many compounds hanging out together is very volatile and tends to easily break down. When you are making the cocktail, make it fresh and keep it cool. As for the vodka:V8 ratio?
“You can mix it so it will taste as though it had absolutely no alcohol of any kind in it and a glass of it will still have as much kick as a really good big martini.”