Give Your Bloody Mary A Blast Of Flavor With This Pungent Ingredient

Bloody Mary on a table
Bloody Mary on a table - VDB Photos/Shutterstock

If you're after a hearty drink that kills your hangover and is full of fresh, savory flavor, there's nothing quite like a perfect bloody Mary. The popular brunchtime beverage is brimming with the boozy bite of vodka and the acidic taste of tomato juice. Plus, they're highly customizable, with tons of additional seasonings and sauces you can add to give them a boost of flavor (not to mention the more outlandish accouterments, like burgers and cheese curds or entire fried chickens).

One pungent ingredient that will take your basic bloody to new heights is fish sauce -- which, yes, is made from fish. This punchy condiment is often made with fermented anchovies, though it can feature other types of seafood as well. It's often featured in Asian cooking, including in South Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and Filipino recipes. Although fish sauce might sound like it would add an oceanic flavor to your drink, it doesn't actually taste, well, fishy. Instead, it adds a salty, umami punch to your drink with just a slight touch of sweetness that accentuates its other ingredients.

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Why Fish Sauce Works So Well In A Bloody Mary

Bowl of fish sauce
Bowl of fish sauce - Bigc Studio/Shutterstock

One reason why fish sauce makes such a great addition to bloody Marys is that it's high in glutamate, a type of amino acid. It's one of the compounds responsible for producing an umami flavor. As a result, fish sauce has a meaty savoriness that goes perfectly with the sharp, tangy notes found in a classic bloody Mary. You can use it to enhance the drink's standard Worcestershire sauce (which traditionally contains anchovies) by amping up those savory flavors, or it can serve as a stronger, funkier replacement if you don't have the British seasoning on hand.

Besides contributing a substantial dose of umami to the equation, fish sauce also introduces a hint of caramel notes to your drink. This dash of sweetness and savoriness is ideal for offsetting the acidity of the tomato juice and balancing out any spices you might use like black pepper or horseradish. Plus, its rich, earthy flavors can complement any vegetal additions like celery sticks. Fish sauce also lends a distinct brininess to your bloody that elevates the citrus -- lemon or lime, juice or wedges, -- that so often accompanies this cocktail.

The Perfect Mix-Ins And Garnishes For A Fish Sauce Bloody Mary

Top down shrimp Bloody Mary
Top down shrimp Bloody Mary - Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

While splashing in some fish sauce on its own can be a great way to elevate your classic bloody Mary, there are other ingredients you can incorporate that will highlight the unique addition even further. Stirring in a bit of Old Bay seasoning (or using it to rim the glass) is one way to play up the cocktail's seafood essence -- the spice blend has sweet and salty touches, along with a pungency that has made it a mainstay for crab and shrimp since FDR was president.

Another option is amping up the heat and pungency by mixing in a bit of wasabi or sriracha. Or, you could trying adding some spicy kimchi or bracing Chinese mustard.

For garnishes, consider decorating your glass with cocktail shrimp for more seafood flavor. You could also bring out the briny notes with skewered olives, cornichons, or gildas -- Basque snacks that meld olives, anchovies, and pickled guindilla peppers. Whichever finisher you choose for your bloody Mary, adding the fish-based condiment is an easy way to upgrade this classic savory cocktail.

Read the original article on Daily Meal