Back when I was a kid, Blue Peter took time off the TV screen every summer so the presenters could go on a special assignment to another country, where they would do the usual Blue Peter things, but in exotic surroundings like Japan or South America.
I’ve no idea if Blue Peter still has special assignments, but as I was in holiday in Paris last week, I thought it would be nice to have a CotW Special Assignment to Paris…
The non plus ultra of cocktails in Paris is Harry’s New York Bar.
Established in 1911, with one Harry MacElhone of Dundee as head barman (and later owner), it gave rise to many of the great cocktails, such as the French 75, the Bloody Mary, the Monkey Gland and the Side Car.
Needless to say I had to find it – it also was reputed to serve the best dry martinis in all of Paris.
And I did find it – only to discover it was closed for refurbishment… (although one of the workmen was happy to pose for his photo.)
Ah well, there’s always next year…
Undeterred, I consoled myself by buying a jigger and a muddler in some excellent Parisian cookshops and treating Elinor and me to Americanos; a 50/50 mixture of Campari and sweet vermouth. Quite bitter, but excellent with salty snacks or as an aperitif.
Coming home, we agreed that we should try one of the Harry’s Bar classics – the Bloody Mary.
Apparently it was invented in Harry’s Bar and then taken over to the United States after the end of Prohibition (where it was originally called the Red Snapper so as not to upset those of a sensitive disposition). Some say it was named after Mary Pickford, one of the first screen idols and a founder of United Artists with Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin (although why she would be called Bloody Mary is not recorded…).
This is a recipe with a lot of mutations (one of which is the Caesar that I’ve already made). The one I’m using here seems to include most of the classic ingredients and should be acceptable to most people.
2 msr vodka
6 msr tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 dashes Worcester sauce
4 dashes Tabasco sauce
Pinch salt and pepper
Add all of the ingredients to a highball glass half filled with ice and stir.
(You’re actually meant to use celery salt to make this, but I’ve no idea where one would find such a thing or what it’s used for other than making Bloody Marys…)
This is spicy and refreshing – the kick is more from the Tabasco and the Worcester, rather than the alcohol. It has less body and is less salty than the Caesar, but that arguably makes it easier drinking. It’s definitely one of the classics.