Layers of flavour with pepper sauce, vodka and sambuca

Bloody Mary, the tasteful restorative drink
Bloody Mary, the tasteful restorative drink

A restorative and savoury Bloody Mary made with beetroot juice? Yes why not! The colour is amazing and the combination offers an even more earthy depth of flavour than the more traditional tomato juice. The fennel seeds act as an amalgamator, says mixologist Tom Stevenson bringing the competing flavours together. We were tasting various Bloody Marys at the Polo Bar in London’s Bishopsgate at a brunch organised by Tabasco UK and London-based online lifestyle magazine About Time.

Beetroot Bloody Mary

Ice the glass, be generous and pour in

Beetroot juice
Three splashes of Tabasco
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
Star Anise, medium to finely ground, pinch
Fennel seeds, pinch
Salt and pepper

Squeeze of half a lime.
Garnish with celery, stick of red pepper or lime wedges.


A Tabasco Flatliner
A Tabasco Flatliner

Flatliners are easy to make at home and add a touch of cocktail glamour to your parties. This vodka/ Sambuca/ Tabasco drink references cocktails such as a B52 and relies on simple physics to achieve the desired effects. By carefully pouring the tree ingredients into a shot glass and letting fluids dynamics to get to work. The heavier, more dense Sambuca sinks to the bottom, the lighter vodka floats to the top while the gloriously coloured red Tabasco finds a home sandwiched between the two. This drink relies on the technique of floating, adding layers of differing liquors or liquers one on top of another.

Pour the heaviest liquor first, in this case the Sambuca, using the back of a spoon or cherry

Vodka (top layer)
Sambuca (bottom layer)

Here are some other versions of Bloody Mary from around the world:

The Canadian version is called the Bloody Caesar, invented by legendary restaurant manager Walter Chell of the Calgary Inn. The cocktail consists of vodka, a broth of clam and tomato juice, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Just reading about all this flavorful food can bring on a thirst, so how about a nice cold Michelada, says Tabasco. In Mexico City, this drink consists of fresh lime juice, a pinch of black pepper, Maggi seasoning (optional) and the three amigos of sauces: Tabasco, Worcestershire and soy—all in a tall glass. To this tasty mash, add ice and beer. ¡Salud!

Tabasco researchers have also tracked down a Polish version … one reason the Mad Dog (Wściekły Pies in Polish) is so popular in Poland must be how colorful it looks in a shot glass. First, pour raspberry syrup into the glass and shake in a few drops of Tabasco before slowly adding chilled vodka, allowing the liquids to form two separate layers of syrup and vodka.

Bruce McMichael

Food writing, discovering food stories, meeting producers, chefs and food enthusiasts are all part of desire to inspire, inform my readers and fellow food lovers. I am a freelance writer, journalist and published author focusing on the international world of food and drink, culture and travel. In 2019 I graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy with a Masters in Food Culture, Communication and Marketing. I am now a visiting Professor at the university teaching Food & Drink Writing. Based in London I travel widely, particularly across western Europe. I have chaired many conferences and meetings, spoken at conferences and events and often appear on radio and TV talking most about food, the business of food and being an entrepreneur. In 2017 I won an episode of the ITV (the UK-based national television channel) cooking competition show, 'Gordon Ramsay's Culinary Genius'. I took my children on holiday to Sicily with the prize money. As an experienced farmers' market manager and operator of a small marmalade/ preserves company, I am very familiar with the issues surrounding local food, farming, enterprise and the environment.