Bloody Mary 'most complex cocktail'
Mixing a perfect Bloody Mary presents the ultimate cocktail challenge, it has been claimed.
The tomato juice and vodka drink is the most complex cocktail invented when it comes to flavour chemistry, scientists meeting in California were told.
US flavour expert Dr Neil Da Costa carried out research which uncovered several key secrets to successful Blood Mary mixing.
First and foremost was to use fresh ingredients, he said during a presentation to the American Chemical Society's 241st national meeting in Anaheim.
Chemically, the Bloody Mary was "highly unstable" and tended to deteriorate quickly. Waiting even half an hour before serving it is too long, said Dr Da Costa, from New Jersey-based International Flavors & Fragrances.
A second tip was to use lots of ice. This helped slow down the chemical reactions of acids in the tomato juice and other taste-degrading ingredients.
High-quality tomato juice with a deep, rich flavour was another must. But Dr Da Costa said there was nothing wrong with economising on the brand of vodka.
The intense, spicy flavour masked the vodka and making a Bloody Mary with a premium brand made "little sense".
Dr Da Costa said: "It's a very complicated drink. The Bloody Mary has been called the world's most complex cocktail, and from the standpoint of flavour chemistry, you've got a blend of hundreds of flavour compounds that act on the taste senses."
The Bloody Mary is said to have been invented in an American ex-pat bar in 1930s Paris. Originally called the Red Snapper, its name was changed and associated with infamous Tudor monarch Queen Mary I whose brutal persecution of Protestants earned her the nickname "Bloody Mary".