what: Blanco Maria [note: online copy updated]
where: Bourbon, 1214 Main St., 403-1404
Bourbon bartender Sin Guanci, formerly of Le Bar at Etienne Brasserie in Athens, tied for first place on the judges’ scorecard at the Casamigos Tequila bartenders challenge on May 18 at City Roots. Guanci’s winning concoction was a Blanco Maria, a clear version of a Bloody Maria, the tequila-based variant of a Bloody Mary. (Last week we featured the other high-scoring cocktail, El Jorge, from Rosso.)
Guanci, who moonlights as a bartender in between teaching high school Latin classes, told the judges she and her fellow bartenders at Bourbon had an internal bracket competition for determining which employee’s cocktail they would present. Guanci’s smooth and well-balanced Blanco Maria, made with a clarified tomato, cucumber and herb broth that had been strained multiple times, was the winner not just among her co-workers at Bourbon, but with the judges, too.
The idea of a clear, well-strained tomato consommé in place of thick, pureed tomatoes as a base for a Bloody Mary was born, to the best of my internet research, with the Ghost of Mary at the now-defunct Great Bay restaurant bar in Boston. Gabrielle Hamilton’s Prune in New York gave the cocktail new life again, popularizing it on the Prune menu. Now it has new life again, as the Blanco Maria at Bourbon.