Sunday, December 26, 2010

RECIPE - For a Holiday Hangover - Maria Sangrenta, the Brazilian Bloody Mary

In parts of the world, notably the UK and members of the British Commonwealth, like Canada and Australia, today, December 26, is Boxing Day. For many many more countries, this day is nameless, but whether you call it Boxing Day or nothing at all, it's often a day to recuperate from the festive rigors of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Too many presents, too much food, too much drink, and too much celebrating - a universal after-effects of Christmas cheer.

One of the time-tested aids to recuperation from this excess is a cocktail made with vodka and some form of tomato-based juice. In the USA and the UK, it's normally called a Bloody Mary and consists of vodka and tomato juice spiced to taste with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime, some Tabasco Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and often horseradish. The Canadian cure-all, the Bloody Caesar, is quite similar but with the substitution of Clamato Juice for tomato juice.

Thoughts of these "hair-of-the-dog" drinks got me wondering what a Brazilian version might be and what it might be called. Tomato juice, although not commonly drunk in Brazil, is available in better supermarkets and gourmet shops (at exorbitantly high prices). Obviously, to make the drink truly Brazilian you'd have to shelve the vodka and reach for a bottle of cachaça. Spicing the drink would be quite straighforward, although you'd have to give it a good dose of hot sauce to make it Brazilian. And to name it, why not just translate Bloody Mary - it could be called a Maria Sangrenta. I thought I'd come up with something quite cool, and possibly quite delicious.

However, a quick online search quickly disabused me of any notion of being original. In fact, in the 2010 Brazilian Championship of Cachaça-based Cocktails sponsored by the ABB (Associação Brasileira de Bartenders), the vice-champion drink, concocted by bartender Jairo Alvin de Gama from the state of São Paulo, was none other than my own Maria Sagrenta. Oh well, as they say, there's nothing new under the sun. Sr. de Gama beat me to it. Had I been a bit faster on the draw, I could have been the vice-champion bartender of Brazil.

Sr. de Gama's drink recipe is a slight variation on the standard Bloody Mary. Here it is should you wish to give it a try - on Boxing Day or at any other time. I'm sure it's good for what ails ya.
RECIPE - Maria Sangrenta
Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 oz. (5 cl) cachaça
1/2 oz. (2 cl) Cointreau
2 dashes Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
tomato juice to fill

Put a few ice cubes in a tumbler or old-fashioned glass. Add the two liquors and the spices. Fill with tomato juice, and stir with a spoon to thoroughly blend.

Decorate with a slice of star fruit and a cherry tomato.


  1. WH0A! Cachaca, sounds like a deadly beverage! I'm not very good at holding my alcohol, a caipirinha gets me woozy after two sips. This sounds delish though. & Actually if you do get a hangover the next day drinking a Bloody Virgin Mary will help.


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