The Best Bloody Mary
PUBLISHED: 09:48 20 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:21 20 February 2013
To celebrate the launch of our new nationwide website - and your chance to vote for your own favourites in the Great British Vote - we went in search of the best Bloody Mary in the Cotswolds. Adam Edwards reports.
It was - and there is no way around the pun a red blooded affair. Testosterone, not tears, was to the fore.
The blistering heat of Tabasco, the quantity of booze and the Bond-like secrecy surrounding the voting was what counted. It mattered not whether you won or lost but how you mixed the cocktail.
Err, actually that last sentence is not quite true. The smile on the winner was wider than the Severn Crossing while the losers scowl - well one or two of them anyway belonged in a M5 traffic jam.
The first annual Cotswold Bloody Mary Challenge Trophy held at the Wheatsheaf in Northleach ended with victory for the competitions hosts, Sam and Georgina Pearman (`Fix I hear you cry, `We wuz robbed). But carping would be a churlish response to a magnificent concoction by the Wheatsheafs landlord. He beat his nearest rivals by several points.
The judges, (Cotswold Life editor Mike Lowe, Master of Wine Mark Savage, Cotswold Lifes gardening man and all round good egg Sir Roderic Llewellyn Bt, and comedian Dom Joly ) were as impartial as any man can be after 11 Bloody Marys.
Palates were cleaned after each drink (sometimes with a cigarette) and the anonymous, numbered cocktails were tasted by each judge and occasionally re-tasted. And in the end it was a unanimous decision.
`Its a great victory, said Sam holding up the trophy as if he was Jenson Button. `I always believed our Bloody was the best, ever though on this occasion we did forget the white truffle shavings.
Second equal was the urbane Gerry Stonehill from the Mason Arms at South Leigh and the delightful Emily Watkins from the Kingham Plough. Cheltenhams Hotel du Vin was a worthy third.
Victory celebrations continued long into the night as everybody agreed that get ready to groan a bloody good time had been had by all.
The competitors were the Kingham Plough; The Kings Head Inn at Bledington; The Mason Arms, Southleigh; Tunnel House, Coates; The Seven Tuns, Chedworth; The Fox Inn, Barrington; The Wild Duck, Ewen; Made by Bob, Cirencester; The Hollow Bottom, Guiting Power; The Masons Arms, Meysey Hampton; The Hotel du Vin, Cheltenham.