Greetings, everyone. Today, we have an item that you probably knew was coming – A salsa from Gingerbeard’s Preserves, flavoured with bristolian vodka and made to resemble a bloody mary.
As its label should give away.
After all, why else would we see a red-skinned, tomato-headed, salsa dancer arm in arm with a limbed alcohol bottle?
The artwork for this week’s product is both rather fun and pretty self-explanatory. Which is good, because its title font is a little too stylised to read with just a quick glance.
The lines through some (but not all) of the Os, Ts and Ds definitely increase the time that it takes to recognise the symbols and the way the midsection of its M crosses makes it appear almost nordic. As letters go, they aren’t exactly the most obviously english.
But that’s not to say that I don’t like this font. It’s stylish. It’s artistic. And that runic look is actually pretty cool. I just don’t know if it belongs on today’s jar.
Even if it doesn’t, though, it’s just one aspect of the packaging and everything else about the label is great. From the two dancers in the artwork to gingerbeard’s own logo and even the simple, to the point, black and white one of their collaborators – Bristol Vodka.
So, with that out of the way, let’s see what awaits us on the inside.
Just from seeing it on on a spoon, I can immediately tell that what we have here is a thick, chunky, tomato-based and well-spiced salsa but not everything is quite as it appears. There’s soft, pale onion hiding just beneath the surface and those black flecks aren’t the ground peppercorns that I used in 📽️ my bloody mary 📽️ – They’re the remnants of dried oregano leaves.
Plus, the occasional stalk fibre betrays the presence of a rather more unusual salsa ingredient – The celery that defines the drink’s flavour and, to an extent, this salsa’s scent. A scent with a gentle, cooked tomato base but heavy herb and vegetable overtones. Along with a dash of something more fragrant that I can’t immediately place.
So let’s taste it.
As expected, the tomato comes through rather more on the tongue but, also, some of the red base that I’m getting comes from the addition of peppers cooked in with it. Peppers that formed part of that vegetable aroma, making the celery taste just a little weaker that I’d thought it’d be.
More surprisingly, though, there’s a touch of something floral and fragrant that creeps in with the heat. Perhaps from the lime zest but I’m not so sure. To me, it seems almost as if The Bristol Spirit Collective’s vodka carries some of same flavours as their gin.
And that, given vodka’s usual lack of taste, isn’t a bad thing. It actually works pretty well with the bright, green, vegetably taste of the celery.
The coriander, I’m honestly a little less impressed by. It tastes roasted, not fresh, and doesn’t really bring out any of the herb’s distinctive qualities. Yet the whole is still very tasty.
Perhaps not as stunningly unique a salsa as Gingerbeard made it out to be and certainly not as fresh-flavoured of one as its coriander and lime would suggest but still one that’s fantastic for dipping or adding to dishes.
In fact, I was going to make something with this salsa for a weekend special but then tacos happened. And a fried egg sandwich. And then someone opened a bag of tortilla chips and, wouldn’t you know it, I only had the few spoonfuls left that I needed for my write up.
So, while I haven’t had chance to try it on everything that I’d like to, I think that already speaks to my enjoyment of the product. And, if you want to be a little more adventurous, I can see no reason why it wouldn’t work over enchiladas or lasagne, with the sausage and mushrooms of a classic english fry up or even, like Crazy B🔥stard’s celery and scotch bonnet sauce, to enhance a bolognese.
It has a lot of potential but, at the very bottom of a
this salsa is just too useable for me to find all of its applications right away.
It’s a great change from my usual, homemade, extra tangy sort, though, and has absolutely nothing in common with my mango one from last year. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and may well grab another jar at some point. So I’d definitely suggest seeing what uses you can find for it as well.
Now here’s the ingredients list for me to end off on:
Chopped tomato (citric acid), celery, fresh red chilli, onion, tomato paste, red wine vinegar (sulphur dioxide), Bristol Vodka (4%), lime juice & zest, sea salt, dried coriander, celery seed.