Martin Calero, bartender at Barceloneta and mastermind behind New Times' 2012 Best Bloody Mary, generously explained the magic behind a great bloody mary. The first component is quite simple: fresh ingredients. Like many other restaurants turning out quality cocktails, Barceloneta makes its very own mix.
I watched as Calero added a coral splash of liquid to a tall glass. The addition was composed of a house-made gazpacho base -- a smooth blend of tomato, onion, red pepper, garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil and salt -- inspired by the classic cool soup originating in Andalusia, Spain.
The classic bloody mary is beautiful in its rusticity, and Calero pointed out it's not necessary to peel the tomato prior to blending. In fact, the tomatoes and red peppers are only seeded in preparation for the gazpacho base.
The drink then benefits from a hefty swig of Wódka vodka -- the brand of tasty booze that's made news for its controversial ad campaigns -- and manzanilla, a dry sherry from the seaside city of Sanlúcar de Barrameda (in Andalusia). The latter adds a crisp note to the otherwise boldly flavored cocktail.
Calero continues with a trio of more traditional additions: lemon juice, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. The drink is finished off with a sprinkle of celery salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
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"Some people have five or six during brunch," Calero said of the drink's popularity. Paired with a few slabs of pa amb tomàquet -- toast slathered with fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and salt -- and a bite or two of Idiazábal cheese, it goes down easy.