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IT MIGHT SOUND A LITTLE ARROGANT, to say we have the world's best-tasting Bloody Mary, but if you read on, you'll find out why we think we have.
It took us three years to have product that we can sell, which whilst frustrating, was a period in which we learned a lot. Over the first few weeks, we examined all the Bloody Mary recipes we could find, the same with Bloody Mary Mixes. We read article after article about Bloody Marys from all over the world. We drank as many different ones as we could.
We looked at the most famous tomato juices. The common thing to all was that they all used tomato juice made from tomato concentrate, not just tomatoes. This led to a very high salt content. We wanted to get closer to a "natural" Bloody Mary, so we dropped tomato concentrate and hunted for the best freely available tomatoes we could find. Ours are Italian, have no added salt, artificial flavours, citric acid, preservatives, GMO's, BPA's and are de-seeded, skinned and sieved.
Our studies led to a recipe with ten ingredients. One of the big questions we asked was “Do we use Horseradish?” Some of us love it, some of us hate it. So we decided to go without. If you love it, just stir in the glob you want.
Then the vexed question of salt! People are divided again, some smokers and heavy drinkers claim the more the better. Those following a healthy regime eschew the very idea. Of course we all need salt, but we decided that if you want it, you can add it, if you don’t want it, you can’t take it out. So no added salt.
On to the ingredients we do use. We start with a smooth Polish vodka as the spirit base, with a double shot in each jar…. and as we wanted a Vegan drink, we sourced an anchovy-free Worcestershire Sauce, got Tabasco to allow us to use their brand of hot sauce and added Spanish cream sherry and Italian red wine to give a richer taste. Spanish Lemon juice and balsamic vinegar of Modena give it a little acidity. White pepper from Vietnam gives the gentle heat that develops quickly as you drink. Lastly we added spring water to get the viscosity to the right level.
All our development work has been overseen by a world leader in food and beverage development and both our Marys have been rigorously tested to ensure they are stable, have a consistent taste and are safe. They have an 18 month shelf.
We then had to manufacture and fill. No-one had, as far as we know, tried to make a commercial standard Bloody Mary before, so we had to experiment with the process. We eventually decided on a stainless steel vat with a big paddle to constantly stir the contents for a few hours before we start to fill. Then, because we have an ABV of 8% we needed to pasteurise the product on the production line, which involved building our own unique piece of equipment. This involved plenty of trial and error and another six months before we got it right. To complete the job, we needed an airtight seal between the jar and the cap, which involved using a steam capping machine. It was a desperately long process, but what it gave us was a very well blended and vat-matured product, which after pasteurisation and filling then developed and matured further in the jar.
Which is all a very long way round the houses to say we have a unique product that can't be replicated in the bar, simply because the maturation cannot happen in the time it takes to mix, serve and drink in the bar. And it is the maturation that gives our Bloody Mary's a full-bodied mouth experience that is a little sweet, a little acid, rich and round, with a warm spice level that gives a kick that lingers and satisfies.
It is the only Bloody Mary of its kind in the world.
Pagan Potions are creators of high quality cocktails made from wholesome ingredients (apart from the alcohol) that we would like to be able to make at home for our family and friends. Our aim has been to take this ethos and create a range of cocktails that are ready to drink from the fridge. Whether the fridge is in your house, your local pub or wine bar or your supermarket.
This is all you need to know about us really, just try our Marys and give us your opinion - however if you happen to be interested in Druids, Pagans, history or just like reading about Bloody Marys and how to make them, do carry on.......
The name came from our travels around the English West Country from Somerset, through Wiltshire and Dorset. We passed Stonehenge, the centre of druidic marking of the seasons for centuries before Christ, so many times that we started to imagine what the builders of the Henges did for relaxation, there being no country pubs and as far as we know, no alcohol. Which is how we imagined the involvement of Merlin in the making of our boozy recipes. The more we realised what our ancestors had done with more or less their bare hands, the more we wondered what sort of cocktails they would have made, given the sophistication of modern mixology techniques. Or would they have reverted to the most simple recipes using the most wholesome of ingredients?
So our search for the perfect cocktail started. It involved much practice, many hangovers but much more fun than pain. We even opened our own cocktail bar in Bath (The Residence) and befriended many cocktail mixologists, the foremost of which is working with us on the development of our 2017 & 2018 cocktails. We worked very hard to test all put before us and now we are ready to launch our first series of cocktails. We chose to start with the Bloody Mary, one of the oldest cocktails and arguably the most popular in the world, but unfortunately made very badly more often than it is made very well. We did a lot of research on ingredients and think that we have finally landed on a recipe that pleases everyone who has tasted it along the way. We've done the hard work and made it so you just have to chill, shake, pour and drink.