My Quest To Find The Perfect Savory And Salty Cocktail

Liquor and I don’t get along too well. This is mostly because I don’t enjoy the flavor of searing pain. That’s all hard liquor is, really. “Drink this thing and it will get you drunk, but in order to reach the promised land of drunk you will need to pass this gauntlet of liquid fire through your throat.”

As a result, I tend to only drink one of two styles of cocktail – sugary, fruity drinks that usually come with mint leaves, fruit slices, a flower, and a tampon; or salty, savory cocktails that taste like distilled testosterone and wood chips. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, so savory drinks are my drinks of choice. But for so long the only savory drink I knew was the dirty martini, that wonderful martini variation that combines getting drunk like James Bond with perhaps the best salty green thing in a jar known to man.

So I made it my personal quest to hunt down a series of recipes for salty, savory drinks in order to diversify my drink repertoire. But before they would go in whatever a repertoire is, I needed to test them out make sure my repertoire wasn’t filled with liquid $#!+.

First up: The Bullshot

Bullshot

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3 oz chilled beef bouillon
  • Dash of Worchestershire Tabasco
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • celery salt (optional)
The Review:

More like bulls**t! HAHA!

But seriously, the Bullshot is disgusting. Beef bouillon is a word that shouldn’t even be spoken around cocktails, let alone be in one. I was excited upon first reading this recipe. Alcoholic beef! If this isn’t delicious than nothing will be. I mixed it and drank it.

It tasted exactly like alcoholic beef. That, it turns out, is a truly terrible thing. The taste of beef bouillon by itself is more like a scientist’s approximation of beef, even though it’s made from beef stock. It’s a hyper-beefy flavor that tries too hard to be beef and never once realizes that it’s not beef; just dust squeezed into a cube. It’s a flavored clump of dirt that you would prefer to put in a soup or gravy over an actual clump of dirt because when it comes to clumps of dirt to put in soups or gravies your options are limited to beef, chicken, vegetable, and dirt.

Bullshot 1

This is indeed bullshot.
(Photo: Luis Prada for Man Cave Daily)

The first flavor to hit your tongue with the Bullshot is hyper-beef. It’s an overwhelming beefy bombardment that instantly renders the drink undrinkable. The sting of the vodka only heightens the displeasure of sucking down this strange, frothy concoction. And it is frothy. When you shake the ingredients together, the bouillon foams, when leads to a tantalizing pouring experience that’s very similar to watching an expert bartender pour a pint of Guinness. The light-brown foam and the dark brown liquid separate to create an inviting coffee-like warmth. And then you drink it and want to vomit.

Rating:

God lord, this…thing is an atrocity.

Next: The Black Pepper Gibson

Black Pepper Gibson

Ingredients:
  • Dry vermouth
  • 4 oz Vodka
  • Garnish with cocktail onions and black pepper
The Review

Like I said, I like martinis. I also like Gibsons because it’s a martini that uses a cocktail onion instead of an olive as a garnish, and I love it when someone steals someone else’s invention, makes one tiny, minor change, gives it a new name, and then claims it’s an original work. The Gibson is the “Ice, Ice Baby”/”Under Pressure” sampling controversy presented in drink form.

Black Pepper Gibson

More pepper. MORE PEPPER!
(Photo: Luis Prada for Man Cave Daily)

The recipe is simple – make a martini, put some freshly cracked black pepper in it. Done. Sounds delightful; a new twist on a classic that shamelessly ripped off another classic. And it is delightful, for the first couple of sips. I made three black pepper Gibsons, all with different amounts of black pepper. Regardless of the amount you put in there the drink inevitably starts to feel like you’re drinking down specks of spicy dirt. By the time you get down to the final gulp, you’ve got a black pepper-to-gin ratio of about 10,000 pepper granules for every ¼ teaspoon of gin. (I used gin because even though I may not be very well versed when it comes to drinking, I know a vodka martini isn’t a martini. It’s more like a martini cover band, to continue the theme of music references).

Black Pepper Gibson 2

It glows like heavenly angels.
(Photo: Luis Prada for Man Cave Daily)

So as you make your way through the drink, every sip with feel more and more like something went wrong. It doesn’t help that the black pepper floating in your glass of clear gin makes it seem like some dick in a bar was trying to start a fight by ashing their cigarettes in your drink. It’s quite unappetizing to look at. Over all, the black pepper Gibson wasn’t a total loss. It could have been better. Even as someone who loves spiciness (as you see later in this article), the black pepper flavor was just too overpowering no matter how much you use.

Rating:

Well, it’ll still get you drunk; especially if you make three and drink them back-to-back and justify it by calling it an “experimental quest.”

Next: the Savory Margarita

Savory Margarita

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Fresh red bell pepper juice
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • .75 oz Honey syrup (one part honey, one part water)
  • 1 small handful Fresh cilantro
The Review

The savory margarita is a perfect example of a classic misdirect. You think you’re getting a margarita, but really you’re getting spiked vegetable juice. Right off the bat with this one I encountered a problem. The recipe calls for “fresh red bell pepper juice.” I have no idea what that means. Do supermarkets sell red pepper juice in jars? Am I supposed to juice my own bell pepper? Who does that?

Savory Marg 2

It even looks delicious but no! It is not.
(Photo: Luis Prada for Man Cave Daily)

So, I grabbed a jar of roasted red pepper and poured out an ounce of the preservation liquid. I don’t know what’s in that liquid, but it tastes like a red pepper, and it’s a liquid, so screw it. It went in.

The second problem is, there’s no ice. A margarita is basically an alcoholic Slurpee. With the title of this drink I was expecting a savory, sweet peppery Slurpee. Instead, like I said — spiked vegetable juice. It wasn’t a terrible cocktail by any means; it just lacked a certain…how do I put this? It lacked all reason for me to give a s**t about drinking it. Have you ever met someone so blah that you instantly forget about them only seconds after shaking their hand? That’s the savory margarita. It’s the drink you’ll run into again at a party a few weeks from now and it’ll say, “Hey, I met you a couple of weeks ago, right?” And you’ll respond, “Heeeey…you.” It’s certainly a drink. That’s as much as I can say.

Rating:

Wait…did I even drink this one? Man, I don’t even remember.

Next: the appetizer you can drink

Michelada

Ingredients:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 small ripe red vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can chipotles in Adobo sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cilantro Mexican lager beer (Corona, Dos Equs, etc)
The Review

This is the drink that sparked my quest. I stumbled across this one in an issue of Maxim magazine and thought it sounded delicious. It’s basically a salsa that gets you drunk. This version of the Michelada requires a little more work than other variations, but the end result is basically the same. You mix everything in a pot and make a spicy tomato sauce. Then you mix some of that with a Mexican lager beer and you’re done.

Michalada 2

Invented when the party was over, and someone didn’t want to throw out the salsa bowl dregs or leave the last beer unfinished.
(Photo: Luis Prada for Man Cave Daily)

The Michelada appealed to my love of all things savory. It has a rich spiciness from the chipotles that feels at once out of place and perfectly at home in a cocktail, and a flavor that you’d expect more from a meal than a drink that gets you s**t-faced. Of course, I just had to find a problem with it, because I’m a picky dick, apparently.

Michalada 3

Say, this isn’t mango juice!
(Photo: Luis Prada for Man Cave Daily)

The Michelada is just too rich. I wanted something savory that can make the alcoholic burn go down smoothly, but this drink steps over the line and is way too much of that goodness for its own good. By the time I was half-done with my highball I was ready to call it quits and just have some of the beer by itself to cleanse my palate.

It’s like eating a heavy meal with nothing to drink; it’s great, until your mouth becomes saturated with flavor and every bite afterward adds another thick layer of taste on top of the 20 thick flavors already there. It goes from amazing to a burden real quick.

Rating:

Tone it down, Michelada; you’re trying too hard to impress me.

And finally…

Cielo Bloody Blanco

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 oz. El Diamante del Cielo Blanco Tequila
  • 1 pinch(es) Salt
  • 3 oz. Clamato Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 dash(es) Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 dash(es) Celery Salt
  • 1 dash(es) Black Pepper
  • 1 dash(es) Tabasco Sauce
  • 1/2 piece(s) Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1 Olive(s)
  • 1 White Onion
The Review

Here it is, folks. The drink I’ve been searching for me whole life. This is the drink I would marry and legally change my last name to Blanco for.

At its core, the Cielo Bloody Blanco is nothing more than a Bloody Mary. It’s got Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, a form of celery – all that. The key difference is the juice. The classic Bloody Mary is made with tomato juice, whereas the Cielo is made with Clamato Juice.

Cielo Bloody Blanco

The celery is only there to help you pretend it’s healthy; you don’t have to eat it.
(Photo: Luis Prada for Man Cave Daily)

For those unfamiliar with Clamato Juice, it’s one of the more disgusting-sounding beverages known to man — a mixture of clam juice and tomato juice. Little kid me and me up to a few weeks ago had never even come close to trying Clamato simply because it sounded more like a dare than a real thing people actually drink.

When I was a kid, me and some neighborhood friends would get really bored on rainy summer days, so we’d load up an old, unused fish bowl I had lying around with every non-lethal liquid in the house we could get our hands on. Orange juice, pickle juice, milk, yogurt, chicken stock, chocolate syrup, hot sauce, mustard, BBQ sauce – if it was edible and in the kitchen it went in the bowl. We would end up with this horrid witch’s brew that could turn a stomach inside out on sight. Then, we’d each take turns taking a sip, laughing as the sipper would rush to the kitchen sink to spit and rinse the horror out of their mouth, only for that person to take morbid delight in telling you that now it was your turn.

For well over two and a half decades of my life those horrible concoctions and Clamato were on the same level of grossness in my mind. And then, for the purpose of this article and my quest, I sampled Clamato. My god…it was everything I ever wanted in a drink, although one I wouldn’t add into my normal drink routine. It was salty and savory but not as thick as tomato juice. It went down smooth, like a liquefied seafood pasta dinner. That description in itself makes Clamato sound hyper-gross, but then again I don’t think there’s any way to describe Clamato without it sounding gross. It’s just an inherently and irredeemably gross-sounding thing, like poop.

My brain as I drank the Cielo Bloody Blanco.

My brain as I drank the Cielo Bloody Blanco.

But without Clamato the Cielo Bloody Blanco it’s just another run-of-the-mill Bloody Mary. The Clamato adds a depth of flavor that simple tomato juice can’t match, a briney taste that is truly unlike any other drink I made in my quest. Thinkstock photo:

Add in some olives, a couple of cocktail onions, and a number of fresh jalapeno slices and I held in my hands my new favorite cocktail; my perfect cocktail.

Rating:

Pardon me, for I have to run off and get wasted on these things. My quest was a success. I found another drink keep in mind the next time I want to wash down the alcohol. But my quest isn’t complete. There are probably a ton of great savory, salty cocktails out there. If you know one, post it in the comments.


AdultDisney

It seemed so innocent once…

Luis Prada’s a columnist for Cracked, and his work can also be found at FunnyCrave, and Holy Taco. You can find him on Tumblr at The Devil Wears Me, and on Twitter.

Oh well, it's still better than what you'll find on Craigslist.

Oh well, it’s still better than what you’ll find on Craigslist.

Luis reconsidered happiness in Disney World: Childhood Versus Adulthood and 5 More Creepy Squatters Living Where They Shouldn’t.

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