I have no idea if, by the time this column is in your hands, dear reader, the election will be decided and accepted, or whether the streets will be on fire. Someone will win and someone will lose. Since we cannot take anything for granted anymore, let’s hope sincerely that the election produces a winner who has the best interests of a strong democracy in his heart.
The obvious beverage to have on hand to celebrate what one hopes will be a positive turning point is champagne. I have written already about the French 75, which, I think, might be the most joyous bubbly-based cocktail there is. But this could be a time to toast democracy with your champagne straight up, unadulterated, cold, in a flute or coupe, if not from the bottle. By all means, go out and buy some so that you’re ready, should the best man and woman win in a landslide.
The more I think about our experience of this long race, though, the more it seems that perhaps a hangover cure is appropriate, regardless of the outcome. The thing to do is steer toward something familiar but bracing. For that, the Bloody Mary would be my choice. And rather than the refined Martini version I recommended a few months ago, at this point, a more full-on restorative recipe is in order.
The origin of the Bloody Mary is quasi-political. The legend is it was invented in Paris after World War I at Harry’s American Bar, the result of tinned tomato juice from the U.S. becoming available in the French capital. The story goes that the drink’s name came from the continued presence at the bar of a woman named Mary, who was regularly seen waiting for her man, nursing a vodka-laced tomato cocktail. Someone compared her long, solitary hours of waiting to the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots by her cousin Queen Elizabeth. Ergo, the Bloody Mary.
Everybody has a favorite version of this drink. You’ll notice mine does not include one of those pre-made mixes. Festooned with celery, olives, lemon, lime, horseradish, and even shrimp, it could, in a pinch, be your dinner. I’ll leave the garnish up to you. But I do like to imagine this drink has some nutritional value, what with the presence of lycopene, an antioxidant found in the red pigment of tomatoes. Then there’s the zip of vitamin C from the lemon.
I’m not sure the fact checkers will agree, but one might use this information to justify having more than one Bloody Mary, depending on how things go.
Classic Bloody Mary
For one cocktail
1.5 ozs. vodka
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes Tabasco
Pinch of salt and pepper
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
4 ozs. tomato juice
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir gently. Strain into a large goblet or highball glass that’s filled three-quarters of the way with ice. I garnish mine with nothing more than a lemon wedge. To each his, her, or their own.