The Bloody Mary: probably the best hangover cure known to man. Fact. Also, probably the single best drink you can craft from in-flight trolley ingredients (or, if you’re totally lazy, from Belvedere’s pre-macerated Bloody Mary vodka, right). Fact 2.0. Also, in the wrong hands, potentially the most repulsive, godawful hash of a cocktail on God’s earth. Fact 2.1.0. This is a problem.
Thankfully, a philanthropic hotel in Gloucestershire has come up with a solution: discovering the Ultimate Bloody Mary Recipe. For the past three years, a dedicated team at The Wheatsheaf Inn (left) has hosted the Cotswolds Bloody Mary Competition at their beautifully updated coaching inn – partly because they make a (compelling) claim to making the country’s Best Bloody Mary right there on their lovely premises.
Barkeeps and blenders descend on Friday 18 November from 12 noon to 3pm to showcase their particular mix, while hotel guests and drop-ins will help whittle down the top five finest Bloody Mary cocktails. And you’re invited!
Bigger, better and bloodier than before, this year’s contest will see 65 pubs, hotels and restaurants gather in Northleach to battle it out. Armed only with tomato juice, vodka, a handful of condiments and a clutch of closely guarded secret ingredients, the cocktail concocters will whip up batches of Bloody Mary for you to sample – the top 5 are shortlisted for judging by a panel of local experts*, including Dom Joly, Roddy Llewellyn and the editor of Cotswold Life. A warming winter barbecue (venison burgers, Kelmscott Royal sausages, fluffy baked taters) will ensure stomachs are lined and primed for the all-important taste tests.
We’ve all got our secrets – add a splash of sherry; a dash of red wine; a pinch of celery salt – and we can’t reveal The Wheatsheaf Inn‘s winning formula; but we can drop you some flavoursome hints: Clamato juice, horseradish and celery should definitely be on your shopping list.
•COTSWOLDS BLOODY MARY CONTEST, FRIDAY 18 NOVEMBER, 12–3PM at THE WHEATSHEAF INN •
*Expert boozers, with some local knowledge and a GSOH.