Header image of a garnish packed yuzu kosho bloody mary next to a bowl of currant tomatoes.

Yuzu Kosho Bloody Mary

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I’m just gonna start by saying that I’m not normally a huge Bloody Mary fan. I aspire to be one because the garnish situation is an absolute dream. But every time I drink one I’m like mmm not in the mood for boozy tomato soup. So I set out to create one that I didn’t hate. I decided to go with a version inspired by Japanese flavors. I figured this would allow me to check a lot of Bloody Mary boxes with flavors that appealed to me more. Yuzu kosho for the bitter and spicy, soy sauce and ponzu for a touch of savory umami, and yuzu juice for a sour kick. It just made sense!

What’s yuzu?

In case you’re not familiar, yuzu is an east Asian citrus fruit. It’s extremely fragrant and tastes almost like a bitter lemon. Yuzu is widely used in Japanese cooking, but it can also be found in Korean dishes. One common Japanese condiment made with yuzu is yuzu kosho. It’s basically a spicy, fermented paste made with yuzu zest and chili peppers. In this drink, I opted to use both yuzu kosho, and pure yuzu juice. While fresh yuzu can be hard to come by, yuzu kosho and yuzu juice can be found online or at your local Japanese market! I linked to the products I usually buy, but if you have a favorite, feel free to use that!

I don’t like Bloody Marys. Will this one change my mind?

Maybe! I don’t know, that’s personal! If the flavors I used here sound more appealing to you than those in a traditional Bloody Mary, give it a go. But if you detest tomatoes or tomato juice, I don’t know that this will change that. What I will say is that I found this to be much lighter than a regular Bloody Mary. Much less soupy, which worked better for me on a personal level. But again, different strokes!

Is this drink spicy?

It’s a little bit spicy. Definitely not to an extreme level, but the yuzu kosho does pack a bit of heat. To adjust the spice level, use more or less yuzu kosho, to taste. If you’re not a fan of spicy things, start with less and add more until you’re satisfied.

Let’s talk garnishes.

Everybody knows that the most important part of a Bloody Mary is its garnishes. They’re iconic. It’s the whole reason people order them (right?!). You can obviously choose whatever garnishes you’d like here, but I used leafy celery stalks, currant tomato vines, cucumber ribbons, castelvetrano olives, cornichons, and tiny pickled red peppers. I find that a combination of fresh and pickled veggies makes for the best mid-drink snack. I used what I had on hand, but feel free to get creative with your garnishes! That said, the celery stick is excellent for both stirring and chomping, so I recommend using it.

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Yuzu Kosho Bloody Mary

Course Drinks
Keyword bloody mary, Citrusy Tangerine Yuzu Mimosa, yuzu kosho, Yuzu Kosho Bloody Mary
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 4 oz Tomato juice
  • 1 oz Yuzu juice
  • 3/4 tsp Yuzu kosho
  • 1 tsp Ponzu
  • 1/2 tsp Soy sauce
  • a pinch Sancho pepper or black pepper

Garnishes (optional)

  • Celery stick
  • Cucumber ribbon
  • Pickled veggies
  • Olives
  • Currant tomatoes (or any small tomato)

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, and pour into a glass. Garnish, and enjoy!

This yuzu kosho Bloody Mary is the perfect drink for a late summer brunch, so if you make it I hope you love it. Let me know what you think in the comments or on Instagram! Bonus points if you tag me in a picture. I always love seeing your creations.

Looking for a more traditional Bloody Mary? Check out this spicy version by my friends over at Cooking with Wine! Not a fan of the bloody? No worries – I’ve got lots of tasty cocktails. Try my Dirty Shirley popsicle cocktail or my fig and rosemary gin smash!

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