For as long as I can remember I have adored drinking a Spicy Virgin Mary and time and time again I have been a little disappointed by what some pubs pass off as a Virgin Mary here in the UK. Tomato juice with a little tabasco just really doesn’t pass muster, so it’s not unheard of me asking for the necessary ingredients and making my own. Cheeky I know, but hey! In my old life working as a headhunter in the city I would spend a fair amount of time in hotels around London and other European cities meeting up with candidates who wished to remain incognito. I am not a coffee drinker, other than iced coffee and in particular Vietnamese – for the recipe click here, and there are only so many cups of teas, water and ginger ales you can drink in a day, so my drink of choice, come the afternoon, would be a Virgin Mary.
The quality of these Virgin Mary cocktails on the whole were excellent, as you would expect from a five * hotel, however, I recall the ones served to me at Browns Hotel, London and The Four Seasons, Canary Wharf – London and Milan were ahead of the pack. They often came accompanied by some little bar snack – nuts, olives or vegetable crisps, which worked so well with the spicy drink.
So alongside my recipe of a Spicy Virgin Mary I have found the perfect munchy, Rosemary Spiced Walnuts, which is easy to prepare and guaranteed to please those you hand the bowl to. In fact I have prepared it so many times since stumbling across it on fellow food blogger ‘Gastrogeek’s‘ site that it will definitely be imprinted on my mind as the snack for 2013.
Spicy Virgin Mary
Makes 1 jug around 6 glasses
1 litre of tomato juice
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp tabasco
juice from half a lemon
2 tbsp horseradish
pinch of celery salt (or normal rock salt)
freshly ground black pepper
fresh celery sticks
extra lemon juice for rim of glass
1. Add all the ingredients together and taste. I do like my horseradish so perhaps add one tablespoonful then taste before adding the second.
2. To decorate the glasses first squeeze the extra lemon juice on a saucer and the freshly ground black pepper on another. Place the glasses first on to the saucer with the lemon juice followed by the saucer with the black pepper.
3. Add the Spicy Virgin Mary followed by a stick of celery in each glass and a slice of lemon and some ice.
If you want to ‘bloody’ the drink then just add vodka!
Summer is the season for having friends around for a BBQ and generally chillaxing so I hope you get to try this fab drink/snack combo. What homemade snacks do you like to serve up when friends come over?
Rosemary Spiced Walnuts
Adapted from the lovely Rejina over at Gastrogeek, who in turn sourced it from Lawrence Keogh, Head Chef at the Wolseley
1 tbsp butter if eating immediately OR a splash of olive oil if cooking ahead of munching
1-2 tsp light brown sugar
4 springs of fresh rosemary, chopped into small pieces
splash of water
1 generous pinch rock salt
pinch of ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chilli powder (or you could try smoked/hot paprika/cayenne powder)
1. Heat the butter/oil in a saucepan and add the walnuts. Cover the walnuts in the butter/oil and keep them gently moving around the pan allowing the natural oils to resonate.
2. After a couple of minutes add the sugar and allow the nuts to begin to caramalise.
3. Add the chilli powder (I also sometimes make these with smoked paprika), fresh rosemary, rock salt and black pepper. Continue to stir and shake the nuts around, making sure that they do not burn.
4. After a couple of minutes pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle some rock salt on top.
Perfect with a Spicy Virgin Mary.