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Issue Date: January 2007 Issue

Hot Tomato

One starts with “Mrs.,” the other ends with “abasco” and both involve the letter “T.” But neither is worth a damn without a dose of home doctoring. The shame of the Bloody Mary cocktail is that the mixes commonly found on grocery store shelves generally lack the correct blend of sweet, salty, spicy and bitter.

Chris Pinta thought the same thing. For the past four years, the Ohio City resident has been working on his Hot D Wake Up Juice, a premium Bloody Mary cocktail mix infused with caffeine and taurine for the Red Bull generation.

“I saw that nobody has this idea,” Pinta says. “Everything you put into it should make you feel better.”

Brewed and bottled at American Culinary Concepts (located next to the West Side Market on West 24th Street), Hot D’s ingredient list includes tomato juice and paste, celery salt, chili peppers, ginger, honey, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and vegetable bouillon. A 32-ounce bottle sells for less than $7.

The Meijer chain stocks Hot D, but the only place to buy it locally is at the West Side Market Café. And (surprise) it is one of the best Bloody Mary mixes we’ve found.

It’s not too spicy (a “Vegas Style” version currently being developed will cater to people who want fire in their glass) and traditionalists take heart: The mix’s “wake up” component provides a lift, rather than an insomnia-inducing buzz. — JV

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