What Makes a Great Horseradish Bloody Mary Mix?

High-quality Bloody Mary Mix is a moderately thick red mixture that leads with Tomato flavor. Secondary notes include Worcestershire, Celery, and Lemon. It’s moderately thick and has some mouth weight. The original and horseradish versions finish with some heat and the spicy version is moderately spicy. When served with alcohol, the flavor profile of the mix and its intensity are not diminished.

Specifically, the mixture is thick and has a red color. There may be tomato pulp and specks from black pepper, celery seed, or horseradish shreds. The horseradish and spicy versions may have some sediment and there may be pieces of vegetables, especially horseradish, in the mix.

The aroma and flavor profile leads with tomato. Supporting notes include celery (seed or vegetable), Worcestershire, and lemon.  Less dominant notes are stylistic and include Hot Sauce (a blend of vinegar and cayenne or other chili pepper notes), black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. The spicy version may include pepperoncini.

In the horseradish version, the root vegetable’s flavor closely follows the tomato; in other versions, it is a stylistic.

All versions have a basic taste profile that balances salt with slightly less sour. There is low sweetness, bitterness, and umami.

The mix is moderately thick and has some mouth weight.  It is astringent and dries the mouth slightly. It may have some pulp or grittiness from black pepper or horseradish. The spicy version has moderate heat and there may be pieces of vegetable in the mix.

Blended with alcohol, it is slightly thinner and it’s bitterness increased.

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Tasting terms

  • astringency

    The tendency of some foods to cause the mouth to pucker; often associated with the presence of tannins or acidity. Example: Red wine, tea, grapefruit juice and pickles can be astringent.

  • flavor balance

    A measurement of how well a food product matches the expected profile of flavors. Example: If there is too much garlic in a marinara sauce, the flavor of garlic will dominate the other flavors, making the overall flavor unbalanced.

  • flavor note

    An individual flavor that exists within a given food’s blend of flavors. Example: Tomato sauce might have a basil flavor note.