The Bloody Mary Project

When roasting vine-ripened cherry tomatoes a few weeks ago, I had a brainwave: what would happen if I made a Bloody Mary with roasted tomatoes instead of tomato juice?

roasted cherry tomatoes with vodka and some other stuff

I have never liked the traditional drink. My last attempt was in 2001, when I had to ask my barperson for the bottle of TABASCO so that I could drown out the raw tomato flavour.

Still, in the spirit of foodly experimentation, I was ever ready to put my tastebuds on the line.

I wanted to be true to the intent of the original drink so I researched the origins of the famous cocktail online. Each site I came across had only one thing in common: they all agreed that the Bloody Mary (aka “Red Snapper”) has disputed origins. That didn’t help me much.

Best Bloody Mary informed me that the drink could have been named after a girl from Chicago’s Bucket of Blood Club, or Queen Mary I — the queen who was known for her brutal killing of Protestants in the 1500s.

The original 1920s cocktail was a very simple blend of tomato juice and vodka in equal parts. In the 1930s, the addition of black pepper, lemon, Worcestershire sauce and TABASCO sauce turned the Bloody Mary into the drink we know today.

My version is a little different. Very robust in flavour and very, very alcoholic.

Recipe #67: Bloody Mary Shots.

You will need:
► vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, on the vine
► salt
► pepper
► decent olive oil
► vodka, chilled in the freezer [I used 42 Below]
► Worcestershire sauce
► TABASCO sauce

To roast the cherry tomatoes, preheat your oven to 140°C. Cover a baking tray with foil and oil it lightly. Lay the tomatoes on the baking tray — carefully, to keep them on the vine. Drizzle a little olive oil over the tomatoes, sprinkle some salt, grind a little pepper. Place the tray in the oven for at least an hour; you can turn down the heat and leave the tomatoes for several hours to end up with something like this:

roasted cherry tomatoes

Leave the tomatoes to cool to room temperature before using in the drinks.

To make each shot, pour 2 shots [or 1 shot, if you prefer less alcohol] of vodka into a long shot glass. Add two roasted cherry tomatoes > without the stems makes more sense, but they look so darn pretty with their little green caps left intact! Drip a little Worcestershire sauce down the side of the glass, then do the same with the TABASCO. I like lots of spice, so I added about a dozen drops.

Garnish with a trimmed celery stick, which can be used to muddle the cherry tomatoes just prior to drinking.

roast tomatoes in vodka

What we were eating: Massaman beef curry, roast duck & lychee curry
What we were listening to: Stan Getz’s ‘The Girl from Ipanema’

Please, try it for yourself and tell me what you think.

H 🙂

Addendum of 7 February 2010: For those who prefer something less alcoholic and more cocktail-like.

a beautiful smooth cocktail

Recipe #67a: Smooth roast tomato Bloody Mary.

You will need:
► 5 roasted cherry tomatoes
► 8 drops of TABASCO sauce [I prefer it spicier, so I ended up with about double this amount…best to start less spicy and increase to the desired level]
► ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
► crushed ice
► 1 shot (30mL) vodka
► small wedge of lime
► manicured celery stick

Start by placing the cherry tomatoes (roasted as per the instructions above) in the bottom of a low (old fashioned) glass and muddle them slightly. Add the TABASCO and Worcestershire sauces, then the crushed ice. Pour the vodka over the crushed ice. Squeeze the lime into the glass and add the wedge to the mix. The manicured stick of celery completes the cocktail and doubles as a muddler for the drink.

i quite happily sat and sipped this for about an hour

Sit. Drink. Enjoy.



  1. You are so goddamn clever, Hannah! I was only just the other day discussing Bloody Marys with my sister, and how neither of us can handle the tomato juice. For some reason, I really wish that I liked Bloody Marys, so occasionally will have another try at drinking one, and invariably hate it so much I palm it off to a friend. This recipe is BRILLIANT!


  2. Thanks so much for your comments, Annie & Conor! I am refining the drink as we speak – look out for the addendum, which will include a smoother recipe to try.

    H 🙂


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