This is NOT your Father’s Bloody Mary
Hi. My name is Greg and I’m a fermenterHi Greg…
I caught the fermenting bug several years ago and have been hooked ever since. I love the live tingly sensation of a fermented food on my tongue. I’m also aware of the relationship of gut health to our mental and physical well being. I’ve fermented everything from cabbage to cayenne and shared my exploits on social media. One day I shared a photo of a batch of Korean kimchi on Instagram. It caught the attention of Jeff Staab of Vermont Fermenters.
Jeff reached out to me as a fellow fermenter and bloody Mary enthusiast. He wanted me to try his bloody Mary mix. I’m always open to a new adventure- send it on over! Within days my mailbox was graced by a package containing a jar of kimchi, another of bloody Mary mix, and a pouch of rim salt. I love my job. Speaking of job, they actually use the term rim job on the packaging of the rim salt. This industry is far more edgy than when I entered it. “Lick, don’t bite,” the package reads. Laughing Out Loud I was.
What first impressed me was the care with which these items were packaged and shipped. Clad in protective styrofoam and packed with ice, it was clear that Jeff cared about what he was sending. You’d be amazed and disgusted by how many broken bottles show up on my doorstep. The day the package arrived, Jeff texted. “Be sure to refrigerate it right away.” There isn’t one preservative in this mix. I love the passion. I CAN NOT wait to try it!
It’s been busy. The samples have been rolling in and I’m trying to keep up. Some good, some…ok. The Happy Belly Bloody Mary Mix has waited patiently mid- refrigerator for a couple weeks. I see you there. I’ll drink you soon…
What’s on the Outside?
Vermont Fermenters package their mix in a jar. I love and hate this packaging. It looks great and I think it’s right for this product. Think farmer’s market. As a bartender I appreciate the functionality of a conventional bottle for pouring. It’s ok, I can pour this. The label has a certain Tim Burton, Night Before Christmas feel. Check the photo. It’s fun. The ingredient list warmed my heart. No crap! First ingredient: Fermented Kimchi Juice!
I open the jar and hear a welcome sound. It burps. Any fermenter knows and loves the chemistry of gas releasing from a ferment. This jar is alive. looking at it I clearly see bits of dill weed, dulce, and white pepper.
To say this product is unique is to state the obvious. The label instructs to cut 50/50 with water and booze. Ok but I always try a mix right out of the box first. A pure drink of this mix is pretty intense. I don’t recommend it. Let’s try diluting with water and booze…
Adding vodka and a splash of water opens up the flavors and tamps down the acidity a bit, but this is definitely not a mix for the faint of heart. Intense citrus and pepper might scare some away. The best flavors to me are the shrimpy fermenty bite. For my own taste I added a pinch of salt and found it far more pleasing. How many mixes can I saw THAT about? My hat is off.
Don’t Forget The Rim Salt!
On a recent Facebook Live Event I spoke of the power of rim salt to take your bloody up a notch. Adding some seasoning to the rim of your glass adds another dimension to the drink. And if it’s blended right, a good rim salt can compliment a bloody- much the way the right cheese can make a red wine taste even better. I’ve had some rim salts that distract from the drink. The folks at Vermont Fermenters take all of this quite seriously. I don’t really know exactly what Himalayan sherpa pink salt is. I had to look up what the hell Japanese dashi was. Seaweed from Maine… This is not your run of the mill corporate rim salt! Let’s taste it!
Happy Belly is currently running a Holiday Special. Check it out here.
Crafted specifically to pair with Happy Belly Bloody Mary Mix
I love what Jeff and the crew are doing here. This mix is, to me, an experiment in a higher level of bloody Mary mix than what I find on the shelf. I love the marketing, the packaging, and the passion this product is wrapped in. The flavors are a wild horse that might need a little taming. A great base, I tweaked slightly to my own taste, which leans toward savory. I ultimately added a touch of salt and a dash of liquid aminos to hit my sweet spot. I’ll add comments about the rim salt and the kimchi in the notes. I want to talk about this mix. Grab some, taste it, play with it, and write your impressions in the comments.
As I mentioned, I love the messaging that Vermont Fermenters puts out. Here’s a quote from the website:
Not For the Faint of Heart
Be warned – this product has character! It’s not your standard, run-of-the-mill Bloody Mary mix, by any means. It has the punch of a boxer, the kick of a mule and the attitude of a street fighter. If you tend to shy away from ‘spicy foods’, this product is not for you. If you run away from too much excitement or activity in your life, this mix is not for you. If you took those red dodgeballs to the face repeatedly when you were a kid, this product is not for you. Also, if you have a seafood allergy or restrict yourself to a vegan diet, this isn’t your mix. Just get out of the way and let the others in, who will actually enjoy the adventure.