Tom Yum Bloody Mary
- Prep time 5 minutes
- makes 2
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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(11.5-ounce) can tomato juice
1 1/2 ounces
vodka, plus more to taste (optional)
tom yum paste, plus more to taste
2 1/2 teaspoons
freshly squeezed lime juice (from ½ lime)
freshly ground black pepper
Ice cubes or crushed ice
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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