I went to a ladies (clay) shooting day today. It rained heavily, my feet got extremely cold, and I didn't hit much. Regardless I enjoyed myself, the lunch was excellent, and I encountered a Bull Shot for the first time.
A bit of research tells me that this take on a Bloody Mary probably originated in America in the 1950's and that it currently has a bit of a tweedy reputation (which would fit with the tweedy gentleman who was making it). I'm prepared to accept the 1950's date, but I wouldn't have been at all surprised to find this has much older roots (and I'll be keeping an eye out for earlier versions).
Tim Dee's 'Landfill' is the latest in the Little Toller series of monographs - these books are the perfect size to fit in a pocket, cover a diverse range of topics, are beautiful to behold, and are generally brilliant. "Landfill tells the story of how we have worked the rest of the living world: learned about it, named and catalogued it, colonised and planted it, and filled it with our rubbish." It's also about gulls, how they've learnt to exploit our rubbish and how this disturbs us.
On a practical note the Bull Shot is the sort of drink you might want to put into a thermos to take out on a cold day whilst birdwatching, or just walking generally, or to have ready to heat up when you get home. There's also something about the punchiness of the drink that puts me in mind of a piratically inclined herring gull that's just spotted someone with hot chips and their guard down.
It can be made hot or cold, I'm altogether more interested in hot drinks - hot boozy drinks are under appreciated, far too many people never get further than mulled wine, but they have a lot going for them. Mostly that they're hot which is just what you want on a wet and raw December day. I also like the way that a little alcohol can go a long way.
The Bull Shot calls for beef consommé (tinned is fine) vodka, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, dry Sherry, lemon juice, Tabasco, and black pepper. If your making it cold the Sherry is optional and the proportions will be more important (there are several recipes out there). If you're making it hot, start by heating the consommé and add everything else until it tastes good - how much you use will depend on how much you want to make, and how much of an alcoholic and chilli kick you want it to have. If you want to go easy on the alcohol the temperature and the chilli heat are already giving you quite a kick anyway.
The Sherry (this would be a handy way of using up any open Fino, or Manzanilla, neither of which keep particularly well) adds a bit of body to the warm version, so it's the vodka I'd cut back on if you want a milder version as that's giving you no flavour at all.