44 Chapel St
Windsor Victoria 3181
There are quite a few places who knock up a damn decent Bloody Mary in Melbourne. Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder, Galleon Cafe and (my personal favourite) Huxtable, to name just a few.
The latest evolution of the classic Mary appears to be the addition of bacon, in the form of bacon infused vodka, bacon swizzle sticks, bacon crumble garnish etc. I much prefer this adaptation than when people try to get too fancy by housemaking the tomato juice, which usually results in an overly-seasoned napoli sauce addition that doesn’t balance with the rest of the drink.
But you see, the bacon thing has already become pretty pedestrian, so when I heard that Kid Boston were taking their Bloody Bull a step further by using both bacon and beef stock, I was keen to try it. They describe it as “a classic twist on a Ceasar. Instead of Clam Stock & Tomato Juice we use Beef Stock & Tomato Juice. Vegetarian version available. [WHY?!] Skyy Vodka, house made Spice Mix, Tomato Juice, Chef’s Beef Stock, Fresh Lemon Juice & served with fresh Bacon.” And all this for $18, though the website still says $17.
I’m not too sure why they specified “fresh” bacon. Does that mean its not cooked or crisped up, but served raw? I would assume no matter what format the bacon assumed, it would be served fresh, not stale or rancid. Nonetheless after all my musings, on the night of our visit the kitchen were out of bacon (!!) and the drink was garnished instead with house-cured beef strips.
Note to Kid Boston – keep the beef. It was delicious and a fabulous point of difference, particularly given that it was house-cured.
And the drink itself? It didn’t really have too much debris or floating textural elements, but it did have a lovely rim of celery salt. The flavour was intense and rich, with a very mild spice. I found myself repeatedly sipping on it, and wondering about the strange aftertaste. What was that mystery ingredient? What did that most peculiar taste remind me of? It was such a familiar flavour, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Then it suddenly hit me: “hey, this kinda tastes a little bit like spew, right?”, I exclaimed to my drinking posse. And the response: “oh dear god, you’re totally right”.
So yeah, the beef stock had somehow managed impart a taste reminiscent of bile. I know this sounds incredibly gross, but despite us all recognising this as the mystery element, we still kept drinking it and largely enjoying it (except for Big D, who could not get over the vomit connotations).
It’s a tricky one because it’s quite delicious, yet strangely repulsive. Go ahead and try it for yourself – I certainly welcome the second opinions!