Pre-made Bloody Mary mixes, generally speaking, suck. They’re often too salty (it helps with preservation), and they usually rely on cheaper extracts rather than actual spices and herbs, so you don’t get the same flavors found in a Bloody made from scratch. But Twisted Path, a distillery in Milwaukee, WI, has found a unique work-around. Instead of combining the cocktail’s ingredients with canned tomato juice, they’re incorporated into the vodka: Twisted Bloody Vodka, to be exact.
The vodka, which was released in August, is made with hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, citrus, celery salt, and various other herbs and spices. To make a proper Bloody Mary, all drinkers need to do is add a basic tomato juice at a three-to-one ratio.
“It’s a pretty novel take,” Twisted Path owner and founder Brian Sammons tells Men’s Journal. “To our knowledge, no other distillery is doing anything like this.”
It’s a clever solution to the issues of pre-made mixes. The only thing left out of Twisted Bloody Vodka is the tomato juice, because it’s the only part of the drink that’s perishable. Rather than buying a dozen ingredients or having a lackluster mix go bad in your fridge, you can just buy a few cans of plain tomato juice (unopened tomato juice cans are shelf stable for 18 to 24 months). Then you’ll have everything you need when the mood for a Mary arises.
Even mixed with a simple can of Campbell’s tomato juice, Twisted Bloody Vodka makes a really solid Bloody Mary. Unlike tomato-based mixers, there’s nothing muted about the spices. They’re there and they’re bold, largely because the distillery was able to steep the ingredients in the vodka for an extended period of time.
There’s a little bit of a tickle from the peppers, but it wouldn’t be classified as spicy. That said, doctoring it up with a bit more heat is easy (just add some of your favorite hot sauce). There’s also a slight textural difference: It’s noticeably silkier than what you’d get at a restaurant. That might make the cocktails go down a little too easily, so be careful.
Unless you really enjoy sucking on a bouillon cube or have a taste for very complex liquors, don’t sip this vodka by itself. The flavor profile is dominated by salt, pepper, vinegar, and nutritional yeast. It’s also not suitable for mixing with a pre-made Bloody Mary mix—that would effectively double the spices and create a brew that’s far too overpowering.
But when paired with a can of tomato juice, you can’t go wrong.
Twisted Bloody Vodka is priced at $48, is 40 percent ABV, and is organic, gluten-free and vegan. The distillery also makes various whiskeys, gins, vodkas, and spirits (another notable offering: Twisted Chai, a vodka made with black tea, herbs, spices, and cane sugar that goes great in coffee).
If only they supplied the garnish skewers, you’d never need to buy a Bloody Mary at brunch ever again.