Eric doesn’t like tomatoes. He will eat pizza, and tomato sauce. But any tomato that still holds some resemblance to its original shape he avoids like the plague. When I force him to try a tomato in a way I think he is going to like, he scrunches up his face, shakes his head, and generally responds with yuck. This is even the case with a Bloody Mary. It’s sacrilege.
How I Lost Interest in the Bloody Mary
I’ve always loved Bloody Mary cocktails. My favorite memories of when I used to be a golfer involve a Bloody Mary, made on the course, by a girl in a cocktail cart. When we lived in Chicago, I would go gaga over make your own Bloody Mary brunches.
In recent years, though, I’ve almost given up my Bloody Mary habit. It’s unfortunate indeed.
Some of that is because we spend most of our time in Asia. We don’t frequent brunches like we used to. We also generally don’t start drinking in the morning anymore. Well, not frequently. Maybe it is because we don’t hang out at places I trust enough to make a quality Bloody Mary.
But, really, I blame Eric. If he and I could enjoy our Bloody Marys together, I would probably enjoy them more often. If he didn’t make that gag me face when I drink a Bloody Mary, I would probably enjoy them more. Mostly, though, I just blame The Husband for everything. It’s just easier that way.
How I Regained My Interest in the Bloody Mary
During our most recent visit to the Renaissance Hong Kong, we were enjoying the sunset view over Victoria Harbour from the 40th floor Executive Lounge, as we usually do. A few glasses of sparkling wine, a few canapés. We returned to our room to drop off our computers in order to head out for some dumplings. As we usually do.
It should be noted that many hotels will provide us little treats in our rooms, the same way they do for their most loyal guests. Often this will involve a fruit basket, some chocolates, or a bottle of wine. When we are really lucky it will be a bottle of champagne. But, the Renaissance Hong Kong took this custom one step further, and definitely provided us the most unique experience of any hotel. Ever.
When we walked in to our room, we saw an entire Bloody Mary making kit laid out for us on the desk. Tomato juice, cocktail shaker, salt and pepper shakers, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and even several baby bottles of tabasco. We had two glasses waiting as well, each with a tall celery stalk.
Well, color me impressed.
I felt right at home, and broke out my old bartending techniques from college. I made myself the perfect Bloody Mary. Then, I made one for Eric, using way less tomato juice. I made it spicy. I did everything I could to make the Bloody Mary more palatable for him.
The video says it all.
I loved my Bloody Mary. Eric did not. We therefore faced a dilemma. What were we to do with the second Bloody Mary? Well, I drank that one too. Perhaps I was making up for lost time.
My New Fascination With the Bloody Mary
I remembered how much I loved Bloody Marys. Not only because I love tomato juice, but I love vodka too. I love the spice of the mix, the use of celery or pickles as garnish. I love how different it is from the cocktails I normally drink: gin and tonics or scotch on the rocks.
In fact, just two days later, while out with friends in Hong Kong, I splurged and ordered myself a Bloody Mary, much to Eric’s chagrin. He wrinkled his nose up when I ordered it. He pretended to make a little gagging sound.
When it arrived, I was thrilled. I would expect nothing less from a place called The Salted Pig that my Bloody Mary arrived with a thick piece of bacon as garnish. I recognize that the concept of a Bloody Mary with bacon is nothing new for people who live in the US or in Europe. I am sure there are loads of similar variations in every Hipster brunch joint from Portland to Brooklyn. But, for me, someone who has not been to brunch regularly in years, I felt right at home.
I realized how much I missed the Bloody Mary. Now, just how am I going to rectify this problem while spending most of my time in Asia?
We were hosted by the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong, but my Bloody Mary opinions, and certainly Eric’s, are our own. Okay, maybe in this one case they bought my love with a Bloody Mary, but do you really blame me?
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Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new Food and Drink Destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.