The Bloody Mary.
While it certainly has its share of key ingredients: tomato juice, vodka, horseradish, Worcestershire, it's also somewhat of open canvas on which to cast all sorts of flavors. Do you like some briny olives or pickled peppers in yours? How about some fresh lemon? Do you opt for hot sauce or a few twists of black pepper? Does the celery flavor come from a fresh stalk, celery salt, or both?
But, mainly, when you get right down to it: why doesn't your Bloody Mary have a bacon swizzle stick? I mean, think about it: bacon and tomato are classic. Bacon and vodka have to be good together. And all those salty, savory umami flavors are a perfect match.
So, let's make one. Shall we?
It's no surprise that there's a healthy bit of finesse into making a perfect cocktail - combining the spirits with balance, shaking or stirring with ice so the water dilutes it just enough, garnishing just so.
But, in the case of a drink with multiple ingredients and components, it turns out there's a bit of chemistry as well.
Neil Da Costa, an expert in chemical analysis of flavors at International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., reports, "Each of the main ingredients has been shown to contain many flavor components, thus indicating that a Bloody Mary cocktail flavor is a very complex blend of several hundreds of flavor compounds. These include semi- and non-volatile ingredients with chemesthetic effects such a heat, burn, sour, salty and umami."