I’ve never liked tomatoes much, even though I was born in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, the birthplace of the tomato (debatable). I think it has something to do with my Italian mother serving us Spaghetti with marinara sauce three times a week. However, I’ve become accustomed to Bloody Mary’s at Sunday brunches in Brooklyn. It’s such a pick me up after a late night, though I’ve searching long and hard for some sort of an alternative sans tomato. A sort of green drink Bloody Mary.
I came across a variation of this recipe in the last issue of Saveur magazine, which was based on a recipe at Whist in the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, California. They use vodka rather than pisco, Serrano chile rather than Ají Panca, and leave out the lime juice and mint. I prefer the grapeiness of the pisco rather than the nothingness of the vodka. It adds a bit of complexity to the cocktail that vodka just doesn’t give. The pisco, aji panca, and hierbabuena points that this is a Peruvian Bloody Mary, though these ingredients should be easy to find at any Latin American specialty market.
-3 tomatillos, husked, washed, and cored
-2 medium green tomatoes
-1/3 Ají Panca, seeded
-2 cloves garlic
-1 small cucumber
-1 sprig each fresh cilantro, mint (or hierbabuena), and flat-leaf parsley, plus garnish
-Kosher salt, to taste
-3 oz. pisco (or vodka)
-juice of ½ lime, plus wedges for garnish
1. Combine tomatillos, tomatoes, garlic, cucumber, cilantro, parsley, mint, lime juice, and ají in a blender; purée. Add salt to taste.
2. Fill 2 glasses with ice and pour in tomatillo mixture and pisco. Add herbs and to glass and garnish rims with lime wedges.
Makes 2 Cocktails
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.