Become a gourmet mixologist this holiday season, Chef Anthony Lamas style, with Master of Mixes

There was a time in my life when I was in Kentucky several times a year — I am a Kentucky Colonel — and on a visit to Louisville, I was looking for someplace different, new to eat. I discovered the brand-new Seviche and its chef owner, Anthony Lamas and I knew I had found something quite wonderful.

Chef Lamas grew up in Southern California of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage. His family ran a Spanish restaurant and he spent his childhood working on the family farmer, joining Future Farmers of America. That is exactly the kind of training you want for a gourmet chef: up close study of produce and restaurants! At Seviche, he continues to use specially grown local produce in his fusion of Latino and Southern cuisine.

Chef Lamas is a frequent restaurant kitchen consultant for the reality tv show, Bar Rescue. That’s a fantastic show to learn about the hospitality business and being creative on a tight budget. Treating quality ingredients properly and using appealing presentation go a long way. This is a true story: a few years ago, when I was going through my divorce, I had to cut my utilities bills down to practically living off the grid. I didn’t miss much, but I was really missing Bar Rescue! I harangued my local cable company until I was able to get the news channel I like to watch and Bar Rescue at a reasonable(ish) fee. I’ve seen Anthony Lamas bleeped out on the show, but he’s really good-natured in person. He’s won many, many culinary awards, including from the James Beard Society.

So, you can imagine how cool it is that Chef Lamas has created a number of drink mixes — several Bloody Mary mixes and a Michelada mix — with Master of Mixes. I was happy to be hosted to experience them!

A Michelada is the Mexican version of a Bloody Mary: a spicy tomato formula that is topped with 3/4 glass light lager Mexican beer and lime. I first tried one of these drinks on a trip down South, on a hot, humid morning in a hot, humid motel room. I thought, “Wow, this is good!” It makes beer something for breakfast, though of course, you can substitute non-alcoholic beer — and many people do. In the Master of Mixes version, the spicy is a flavorful seasoning — zippy, not burning. They describe it as: “An authentic blend of tomato juice, lemon juice, lime juice, spices, umami and a secret blend of peppers.” This mixed drink is enjoyable on its own in a big glass or terrific as an aperitif in an old-fashioned glass with appetizers.

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Sure, lots of places fight with each other as to who can put the craziest thing in a Bloody Mary as a garnish. Fred Flintstone brontosaurus on the side? Cobb Salad? I prefer to concentrate on the tastiness of the actual drink!

So, to taste test the Bloody Mary mixes, I invited my neighbor up for Sunday morning drinks! With the holidays here, you’ll want bottles on hand for your own entertaining.

Classic Bloody Mary Mixer is described as, “Light and tangy, this celery-forward blend delivers a clean flavor profile from beginning to end. “Master of Mixes Classic puts a refreshing twist on the traditional Bloody Mary with strong, bold flavors that stand up to the vodka while allowing the tomato and sharp savory notes to shine through.” Based on the original Bloody Mary recipe made famous in the early 1900’s, this celery-forward blend is grounded in premium Roma tomato juice and features cayenne pepper, lemon juice, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce.” We also experienced fresh tomato flavor, not hot-spicy, but not bland, either. It’s well seasoned, not overly salty like some mixes are. The flavors are tangy. I wish these would come in little cans, to be offered on flights! Because it has tamarind in it, I had an epiphany: I mixed it with pineapple vodka! You would not believe how good that is.

Loaded Bloody Mary Mixer has a full veggie profile, with horseradish and some spice. Are you a fan of — as I am — of veggie “Powerhouse” sandwiches? This has that same fresh and zesty flavor profile. They say this: “Master of Mixes Loaded introduces abundant layers of flavor by combining the boldness of horseradish and savory peppers with the bright garden flavors of cucumber, celery and citrus. This ‘Culinary Mary’ features chopped spices and diced vegetables along with fresh horseradish, cracked black pepper, jalapenos, lemon and lime juices.” I experience green veggies and a richer “legume” note, peppers. I like garnishing it with a celery stick. I also love using this to flavor gelatin-aspic, for a low fat, nice luncheon side dish! My city had one of the nation’s oldest Women’s Industrial Exchanges, with a classic lunchroom behind the handicraft shop. The waitresses with starched aprons, beehive hairdos and half-moon glasses on chains served a platter of creamy chicken salad, hard boiled egg halves and tomato aspic. The place is long gone, but here’s a way to bring that flavor into food!

5 Pepper Bloody Mary Mix is a hot one, the hottest one. Still, it’s not just fiery heat — there’s underlying flavor and a little smokiness. This is what they say about it: “Jam-packed with chipotle, ancho, habanero, jalapeño, and red peppers. This red-hot mixer is the perfect blend of savory and spicy for a taste that will surprise and delight without killing your taste buds. Consistently rated as one of the best (and spiciest) mixes on the market, Master of Mixes Bold Flavor 5-Pepper Gourmet Bloody Mary Mixer is not for the faint of heart.” My neighbor came up with such a good idea for this: mix with melted butter and baste a roasted chicken with it! 

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