Though my husband tries the best he can to discourage me from committing that social faux pas/ultra gaucheness -- Bloody Mary drinks at night -- the truth is, it's my favorite drink and I'm unrepentant! It's not merely about unique and tasty garnishes, although I'm all about that too. I just love a well-made Bloody Mary! I'm picky, though. Local drinks laden with Old Bay and black pepper rims are nasty to me. But I'm not wedded to only one kind of flavor, so I was extra happy when I found out that multi award-winning chef Anthony Lamas of Food Network fame came out with a line of chef-inspired Bloody Mary mixes! I was happy to have been hosted to experience them.
You see, I first discovered the Louisville-based Latin chef in 2009. I'm certainly not surprised that lots of other food writers have jumped on the bandwagon and that he's cooked many times for the James Beard Foundation dinners.
There are three varieties of Master of Mixes Gourmet Bloody Mary Mixer -- available on the web here -- and I think all have a place at your brunch table. This is what they say about Classic:
"Master of Mixes Classic puts a refreshing twist on the traditional Bloody Mary with strong, bold flavors that stand up to the vodka while allowing the tomato and sharp savory notes to shine through." Based on the original Bloody Mary recipe made famous in the early 1900's, this celery-forward blend is grounded in premium Roma tomato juice and features cayenne pepper, lemon juice, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
This is what I say: It's nice and rich -- able to stand up to ice without being ketchup-y -- with herbal notes, not just tomato flavor. There's a bit of spice and garlic, with a Worcestershire-forward flavor. It's savory and would be great served with steak and eggs.
This is what they say about Loaded:
"Master of Mixes Loaded introduces abundant layers of flavor by combining the boldness of horseradish and savory peppers with the bright garden flavors of cucumber, celery and citrus." This "Culinary Mary" features chopped spices and diced vegetables along with fresh horseradish, cracked black pepper, jalapenos, lemon and lime juices.
Loaded is my personal favorite. It's not as top-heavy with Worcester, and you taste all kinds of green veggies, including hearty legume-like skins. It has a moderate level of heat and is just very gourmet!
This is what they say about 5-Pepper:
"The new Master of Mixes 5-Pepper offers an enticing, spirited, intensely spicy flavor profile that is bold yet doesn't linger." This seriously spicy blend of savory pepper will challenge even the most adventurous souls and features chipotle, ancho, habanero, jalapeno and red peppers.
Don't be afraid: it's not silly hot. I taste pepper seeds, not just hot sauce. There's depth of flavor, not merely heat.