I'm sitting here after a pretty stressful week (we're moving house) and sipping an almost perfect Bloody Mary cocktail. It's almost perfect, but it's not cold enough and it's crying out for a dash of dry sherry.
I've always thought that the three most famous cocktails in the world are (in no particular order), the Dry Martini, the Margarita, and the Bloody Mary. I've tried making Bloody Marys in various ways, but time after time, I return to The Greasy Spoon's own recipe, which, as I'm a kind sort of chap, I'm about to share with you.
Remember, as with so many other things in life, keep it simple, don't try and doll it up with extra ingredients (I'm not convinced by the addition of creamed horseradish, or chunky black pepper, although steeping a peeled horseradish root in your bottle of vodka sounds like a good idea ) and stay off the gimmicks:
First, you put some ice into a cocktail shaker. Next, pour in a decent slug of Stolichnaya vodka, and top up with a good quality tomato juice. Add a dash of Tio Pepe, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, celery salt, a few shakes of my favourite Tabasco and Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce.
Do the Hokey Cokey and shake it all about. Strain it off into a glass and add, if you must, a stick of celery. You'll find that the lemon juice smooths it out, and the sherry gives it an added kick.
I don't like lumps of ice floating around in my Bloody Mary, and think it's much better if strained off. But the drink's at its best if served very cold, so keep the vodka buried away in the 'fridge, as the Russians do. You'll find the vodka goes thick- and that's the way to keep it if you're going to drink it neat, as an accompaniment to blinis and caviar.