Friday, 3 March 2017

Bloody Mary of Macau

As research for this post, I was shouted drinks by the St Regis Macao. It's a tough job etc.

We're all familiar with the Bloody Mary. It's a cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice and various combinations of spices or and/or sauces.

French barman Fernand Petiot claimed to have invented it at Harry's New York Bar in Paris in 1921, though that has been disputed.

What seems clear, however, is that Petiot refined the Bloody Mary into its modern form in 1934, in his stint as a barman at the King Cole Bar at New York City's St Regis Hotel (a bar which still exists today).

Since then the St Regis has taken a particular pride in the drink, with each of its hotels around the world creating its own version.

This man in the bar of the St Regis Macao whipped up the local variant for me:


And here it is close up, the Maria Do Leste - a Bloody Mary inspired by the former Portuguese colony which is now China's casino hub:


There was quite a bit going on, on that tray. Firstly, the tray itself, which resembled the wavy cobblestoned squares of Macau's historic Old City.

Secondly, there were food items associated with the region's Portuguese heritage, including a warm lobster egg tart and a slice of chouriço.

Thirdly, the spices (both inside and outside the drink) include pink peppercorns from Brazil, piri piri from Africa, cinnamon and paprika from India, black vinegar and black peppercorns from China, and sea salt.

If you're wondering what the connection might be between these geographically diverse ingredients, it's this: they were all from places where Portugal had colonies, and thus drifted into Macau's local cuisine via trade.

Although that tray did seem a bit busy, I enjoyed the invitation to add the vodka, Tabasco sauce, lime juice, sea salt and pink peppercorns to the level of my own liking (OK, I did add all the vodka).

I enjoy a bit of local innovation in hotel cocktail menus. A couple of years ago I was staying at the the famous Raffles in Singapore, home of the Singapore Sling, when it launched a new set of cocktails commemorating key moments in the hotel's long history.

If you're heading to Macau, I recommend the Maria Do Leste to you. Cheers! Or even À nossa!

You can find the St Regis Macao at Estrada Do Istmo S/N, Cotai, Macau.