Robert Aikens
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Magnificent Mary Winner

Beverly Stephen - May 19th, 2014

Chefs and mixologists around the country were challenged to come up with the Most Magnificent Mary and no doubt wow their customers with spectacular signature Bloody Marys. Robert Aikens, executive chef of The Peacock, located in The William boutique hotel in New York City, walked away with the title and $2,000 in his pocket. Aikens also presides over The Shakespeare, a rustic pub located in the basement under the restaurant.

The contest was sponsored by Sacramento Tomato Juice and supported by Finlandia Vodka.

Aikens says his “secret was the combination of a cucumber with Sacramento tomato juice, Finlandia vodka, and Old Bay seasoning. I boosted the tomato flavor even more by adding some Redpack tomato paste. This recipe is so good we intend to add it to our bar menu.”

Other finalists include Richard Schlossbach (Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park, NJ), Adam Seger (iPic Entertainment, Chicago), Steven Hill (Le Midi, NYC), Nick Manousos (Throwback Bar & Grill, Delran, NJ), Michael Zebrowski (International Culinary Center, NYC), Patricia Gaja (The Phunky Elephant, Staten Island, NY), and Bob Murdock (Blue Cat Brew Pub, Rock Island, IL).

Bloody Mary
Robert Aikens, The Peacock, New York, NY

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and deseeded
  • 6 Tbsps. Redpack® tomato paste
  • 12 1/2 cups (100 oz.) Sacramento Tomato Juice
  • 4 1/4 cups (34 oz.) Finlandia vodka
  • 2 Tbsps. plus 2 tsps. Tabasco®
  • 12 Tbsps. Worcestershire sauce
  • 13 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 tsps. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 Tbsps. celery salt
  • 2 Tbsps. plus 2 tsps. Old Bay® seasoning
  • 1/2 cup creamed horseradish
  • 3 Tbsps. horseradish, grated
  • celery stick (for garnish)
  • pickles, sliced into 1/4 spears (for garnish)
  • olives (for garnish)
  • cherry tomatoes (for garnish)
  • lemon slices (for garnish)

Place cucumber, tomato paste, and 4 cups tomato juice in a blender; puree until smooth; pour into a bowl; whisk in remaining ingredients; garnish with celery stick and pickle spear on a pick spike with olives, cherry tomato, and lemon slice.