I don’t often reach for a cocktail; I prefer my spirits neat.
It’s very satisfying to taste the essence of well-made liquor. The peat and brine of an Islay single malt Scotch is unmistakable. Sweet caramel makes great Kentucky bourbon unique. Multiple distillation of botanical-rich gin lends amazing complexity to that spirt. The smoky sweetness of sipping premium mescal is a pleasure.
But when I do go for a mixed drink, I keep it simple: Gin and tonic, maybe a mimosa over brunch and most frequently, a Bloody Mary is the perfect eye-opener or before cookout refresher. And, I usually start from scratch: Tomato or vegetable juice, salt and pepper, Tabasco sauce, celery salt – and maybe a hit of cayenne. Pre-mixes always seem to come up short, leaving me to doctor up the concoction. Doesn’t that kinda defeat the purpose of a pre-mix?
Then, I found Savannah Bloody Mary Mix.
Chef Jeremy Diehl created the mix – with plenty of input from his Elizabeth on 37th co-chef (and wife) Kelly Yambor. The Tybee Island couple know a thing or two about relaxing and entertaining. When they aren’t a whirling dervish in E37’s tiny kitchen, they are living large on the broad sandy beach at Tybee, keeping cool with a Bloody Mary.
The secret is spelled out right on the label, where the good ship Umami is seen sailing into port. Umami, the legendary and elusive “fifth flavor,” is the earthy, organic flavor that comes from things like mushrooms, fish sauce and savory beef broth. And that ingredient, beef broth, plays a huge part in giving Savannah Bloody Mary Mix its own umami. The simple addition of this umami element gives the mix heartiness, velvety mouthfeel and the foundation for a mélange of perfectly proportioned spices. The mix is all natural and when paired with a premium vodka (I prefer Tito’s Handmade Vodka), it becomes the benchmark example of the Bloody Mary.
Finally, a mix that goes from bottle to glass to lips – and calls for nothing but enjoyment.
Buy a bottle and you’re also supporting education: 3 percent of Savannah Bloody Mary Mix profits are donated to the school on Tybee Island.
You can find Savannah Bloody Mary Mix at several local retailers, including Smith Brothers Butcher Shop, and it is the house mix in many bars, restaurants and hotels. See a complete list of retailers and bars on the mix website.