The Bloody Mary is a year-round staple for weekend brunch in New Orleans and there's no shortage of opinions on where to get the best one. I've had plenty of decent ones, the occasional bad one, and a few great ones. But it's always nice to add your own touch to a basic. So after years of making smoked tomato soup, my husband and I decided to try an experiment and see how smoked tomatoes would work in an infusion.
We think it's a great addition to a fall or winter brunch. The infusion is easy to do, and if you're making a batch of soup, just smoke a few extra tomatoes. It adds a subtle hint of fall (no overpowering smoke flavor here) to your favorite Bloody Mary mix - if we're not making homemade mix, we prefer Zing Zang.
Here's how you do it:
Smoked Tomato Infused Vodka
1 750 ml bottle of vodka
2-3 large Roma tomatoes
Wood chips of your choice (we most often use hickory)
1. Halve and seed the tomatoes.
2. At medium heat, place a single layer of wood chips on the bottom of a large cast iron pot, cover and heat until smoking (about 10min).
3. Place halved tomatoes face down on a baking rack (we use a round cooling rack - the kind you'd use for cakes) and place the rack in the pot over the wood chips. Cover and allow to smoke for about 15 minutes (smoking time may vary depending on the size of the tomatoes). The finished tomatoes should be soft, with the skin beginning to come apart.
4. Once the tomatoes are cool, peel the skin from them. Roughly chop and combine them with the vodka in a glass jar or pitcher. Cover the pitcher and let it infuse in the refrigerator for approximately three days. Stir or agitate once a day. Taste it after three days - if it's not infused enough, let it sit for another day.
5. Strain the vodka through a fine strainer (or a strainer lined with cheesecloth) back into the bottle. Keep chilled.
Have a great weekend!