One of the fun things about modernist cooking is changing the textures of common dishes while keeping the flavors the same. This creates almost a confusion in the palate when it's being eaten and the brain recognizes the flavors but not the textures. This recipe creates a solid Bloody Mary gel with agar agar that has applications in various dishes.
I made a custom Bloody Mary mix using fresh tomatoes from the garden blended with some string beans, cayenne chile powder, ancho chile powder, and lemon juice. This also works great as a quick chilled tomato soup. You can also use your favorite store-bought Bloody Mary mix if you don't want to make your own version.
You then combine the Bloody Mary mix with the vodka in a pot and add the agar agar. I used 1% agar agar by weight (weigh the vodka and Bloody Mary mix, then multiply it by 0.01 to get the weight of the agar agar you should use) since I was looking for a good, solid gel. You whisk the ingredients together and bring them to a boil while whisking occasionally. Let them simmer for a few minutes to fully hydrate the agar agar and then the mixture is ready to use.
The mixture sets very quickly as it cools, starting around 113°F / 45°C, and will be fully gelled in a matter of minutes. Because of this, you should have all your molds out and ready to go. Keeping the mixture on a burner over medium heat is critical if you don't use all of it right away.
There are several applications for this Bloody Mary gel. We used it for "Bloody Marys on a Log", a play on the favorite kids' snack "ants on a log". You can also let it set in a rectangular container and cut cubes or strips out of it. You could even just pour it into small, plastic shot glasses and use it for vegan Bloody Mary jello shots.
There are also many variations of the Bloody Mary gel. You can strain the mixture before adding the agar agar for a much smoother liquid and a gel with no particles in it. You can also add the vodka after bringing the Bloody Mary mix and agar agar to a boil, this could keep slightly more of the alcohol in the mixture. You can also add fresh chiles or other different flavors to the Bloody Mary mix to tailor it to the final application you are aiming for.
For more examples of agar gels and applications of gels in fantastic dishes you can read the excellent Alinea cookbook.
If you like this recipe you can get more than 80 other recipes from my book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Getting Started. The book covers many of the popular modernist techniques such as gelling, spherification, and foams. It also explores modernist ingredients like agar, sodium alginate, tapioca maltodextrin, and xanthan gum. It is all presented in an easy to understand format and I think it's the best way to learn about modernist cooking.
Also, if you are just getting started experimenting with molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine then I highly recommend one of these molecular gastronomy kits. They have everything you need to do many different dishes.
Combine the Bloody Mary mix, the vodka, and the agar agar in a pot and whisk together. Bring to a boil while whisking occassionally. Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to ensure the agar agar is fully hydrated.Pour the hot Bloody Mary agar agar liquid into molds and allow to set at room temperature. Reserve, covered, on the counter for a few hours or in the refrigerator for up to 36 hours.