The Bloody Bull is a hybrid between the Bullshot and the Bloody Mary.
Really an offshoot of the Bullshot, the Bloody Bull brings tomato juice back into the mix in order to give the drink a bit of a creaminess and more of a body by enriching the beef stock with more flavor. The Bloody Bull works quite well in doing this. Think of it as a Bloody Mary with the added flavors of meat; or better yet, think of it as nicely browned beef soaking in a red roux.
In the literature, the drink seems to first pop up around the 1970s, which would make sense, seeing as it is an off shoot of a drink that originated in the 1950s. Some of the first literature, in 1970, talks about how a celebrity wife went in during noontime, ordering a “double ‘Bloody Bull’ [comprised of ] vodka mixed with equal parts tomato juice and beef consomme” (Herpin). It would appear in House and Garden in 1971 as the same drink (Ibid). This time frame makes a lot of sense, since it was the dark age of cocktails, where vodka was mixed with just about anything. Yet for certain things, in which a lot of flavor is already present, the sentiment of adding vodka makes sense, considering the neutrality of it, and the fact that drinks like the Bullshot, Bloody Bull or Bloody Mary harken back to good old days during the Prohibition when liquor was supposed to be masked and hidden.
Like the Bullshot, the drink seems to be better when served warm in my opinion, though it could go either way. The stock gives it a soup type base, which makes me think of this as a miniature alcoholic tomato soup, rather than a cocktail. However, it does work quite a bit better than the Bullshot when consumed cold since the tomato juice helps to give it a refreshing quality similar to how it functions in a Bloody Mary. It makes a wonderful morning after cocktail, and even better, a great brunch drink.
The inclusion of the tomato juice, while bringing simultaneously a bit of a sweetness and acidity to the drink, causes the beverage to require a bit more finesse when prepared. Similar to the Bloody Mary, or any other cocktail involving tomato juice, excessive shaking or agitation will damage and thin out the tomato juice, which has a naturally rich and thick body. In order to prevent such “damage,” rolling the beverage between two glasses, one of which is filled with ice, similar to what should be done with a Bloody Mary, works exceedingly well for this tall drink. If you want to cut back on the alcohol flavor of the drink, shaking the vodka separately with ice can help chill and mask the alcohol flavor through the addition of slight air bubbles thanks to the hard shake. After shaking any liquor, just add it into the mixture before rolling, in order to ensure it gets distributed well.
The Bloody Bull:
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces tomato juice
2 ounces beef bouillon / stock
1 barspoon Worchestershire sauce
1/4 – 1/2 ounce lemon juice
dash of Tabasco
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of celery salt
If cold, combine ingredients over ice, and roll between two pint glasses. If warm, combine all the ingredients but the vodka in a small pan, heating the beef bouillon / stock and tomato juice. Pour into a small mug over two ounces of vodka, giving a brief stir. Garnish with a slice of lemon and celery stick.
Herpin, David. 2010. “The Bloody Bull.” Dallas Examiner. Originally published October 21st, 2010. http://www.examiner.com/cocktails-in-dallas/bull-shot (accessed October 21, 2010).
Regan, Gary. 2003. The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender’s Craft. New York: Random House.