Sunday, July 12, 2015

here's looking at you, kid

Fellow blogger, Nancy, over at Countdown to Mexico, shared the recipe for her personal magic tonic (My Health Promoting Turmeric Tonic).  All she needed was an old-fashioned medicine wagon to complete the word picture.  Healthy it sounds.

As luck would have it, I was drafting an essay  on my latest elixir of happiness.  It certainly is not as healthy as Nancy's tonic, but it has become my favorite summer drink in Mexico.

Before we get to my personal concoction, let me tell you where this all started.  Back in the 1970s, I ran across a canned drink called Snap-E-Tom in the Air Force commissary.  Probably in Denver.

It was touted as a tomato chili cocktail -- with the emphasis on "chili."  And that is why I liked it.  It made tomato juice taste interesting.  As well, as clearing my sinuses.  I bought it by the case.

Somewhere, I lost track of the product.  Why, I am not certain.  Tastes change, I guess.

But I ran across a can while I was in Salem earlier this year.  Rather than build some faux suspense, I will simply tell you the experience was disappointing.  The contents tasted liked watered-down tomato juice.  The urge for a spicy tomato juice lingered on.

Until I found what may be an even better substitute -- everything available in most Mexican grocery stores.  At least, around here.

JC, the manager at Papa Gallo's, asked me if I wanted to try a Caesar -- a tomato-based mixed drink from Calgary.  When he told me what was in it, I demurred at the mention of vodka.  He told me he would make a virgin version for me.

I was hooked.  I understand the Papa Gallo's version is not the same as the original.  The ingredients here are: clamato juice, fresh lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Magi, Tabasco sauce, and rock salt (both in the drink and on the rim).  There were echoes of Snap-E-Tom in my mouth.

After watching JC put my drink together, I decided to try my own version.  I have dropped the Magi and the salt and have added a good measure of puréed jalapeño. 

It is even better than Snap-E-Tom.  I call it Snappy Steve.  It is so good I have been using the full nearly-2 litre bottle of clamato to make an hour's worth of liquid for my reading enjoyment in the pool.

I may have lost an old companion, but, just as Rick would say in Casablanca, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

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