Tom Yum Bloody Mary

January 18, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Alya Hameedi. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • makes 2
Author Notes

I’ve reached for store-bought tom yum paste since my student days, flavoring broths for my own speedy version of the spectacular tom yum or tom yam soup at home. Only recently did I discover that tom yum paste could work as a phenomenal base for cocktails. If a classic Bloody Mary is the ultimate hangover cure, then a tom yum Bloody Mary will bring your body to full attention.

Fiery, sour, and spicy tom yum paste, which can be purchased from your local Asian supermarket or online, is a roasted blend of chiles, galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves that hails from Thailand. The distinct hot, tangy, and uncompromisingly sharp character of tom yum works beautifully in this tomatoey cocktail, in place of the more traditional ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. It adds just the right amount of heat to every sip. I prefer my Bloody Mary with a single shot of vodka, but increase this to your liking. And if you’re looking to make yours a virgin, just omit the vodka altogether.

Depending on the brand, some tom yum pastes are more citrusy, others more spicy, others heavier on umami. My go-to is Penta, which is lively, complex, and spicy, and widely available in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Also recommended: Por Kwan and Mekhala. Try to avoid tamarind concentrates from India for this recipe—with a molasses consistency, it’s too intensely flavored in a Bloody Mary. I prefer the more balanced, brown tamarind paste or concentrate, usually a product of Thailand or Vietnam. —Lara Lee

Test Kitchen Notes

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What You'll Need
  • 1 (11.5-ounce) can tomato juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka, plus more to taste (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons tom yum paste, plus more to taste
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (from ½ lime)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemongrass stalk
  • Ice cubes or crushed ice
  • 2 cucumber spears
  1. Add the tomato juice, vodka, tom yum paste, tamarind, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a cocktail shaker or jam jar and shake vigorously to combine.
  2. Trim the lemongrass down to a 3-inch stalk. Lightly bruise a stick of lemongrass by hitting it with a rolling pin or the back of a knife, then halve lengthwise.
  3. Get two glasses and place a generous handful of ice into each. Pour the cocktail over the ice and garnish with the lemongrass and cucumber. You also can garnish with the remaining ½ lime if you’d like.

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Lara Lee

Recipe by: Lara Lee

Lara Lee is a Chinese-Indonesian and Australian chef and food writer. She is the author of Indonesian cookbook Coconut & Sambal, and a contributor for Food52, Bon Appetit, the Guardian and New York Times. Her book was named one of the best cookbooks of 2020 by the NYT, Guardian, Eater, National Geographic and more. When she's not cooking, you'll find her teaching Indonesian words to her toddler Jonah.

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