Who cares about tomato or tom-ah-to? Just muddle a few and pass the vodka.
Strained to a tea or crushed to a pulp, these vine-ripened varieties have found their way into artisanal refreshments for their versatility and eloquent balance of acidity and sweetness. The king – rather, queen – of the brunch bunch, The Bloody Mary, has evolved to a veritable salad in a pint primed to tip with so many toppings. It’s a buffet of olives and veggie shoots up there. Bacon and skewered mini burgers? Bonkers.
But the rise of craft cocktails also elevated tomato juice with a twist into elixirs of more sophisticated style, so whether you like them beefsteak or heirloom, stuffed or fried green, make sure you try them shaken, not stirred. Muddle a yellow heirloom with basil and shake with gin, lemon and simple syrup. Test a tomato mojito or swap herbs for cilantro and toss in tequila.
Sip local fare at Scarsdale’s new kid on the block, Taiim Cellar, that serves up the Fiery Mary (Mother of Spice) with vodka, tomato juice, harrisa and skewered pickled turnips. Elm Restaurant in New Canaan (featured in WAG April) offers its own spin: a Pickled Bloody Mary with Broken Shed Vodka spiked with pickled foraged ramps, Espelette pepper, Calabrian chiles and topped with celery froth.
Clamato be damned.