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Boston chef Michael Schlow’s restaurant in the Hotel Commonwealth, Great Bay, may have closed, but its signature cocktail, the Ghost of Mary, lives on.
Case in point: Bolete Restaurant and Inn in Bethlehem, Pa. (whose co-owners and chef worked at Great Bay), and at New York brunch favorite, Prune. But you won’t find it among Prune’s selection of ten great brunch Bloodys, instead, the restaurant’s best Bloody Mary is served at dinner.
Prune’s Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, said she started serving her Ghost ($10) about four years ago. “I’m a good friend of Michael Schlow, and I was in Boston visiting at some point, and I had his Ghost of Mary. We make pretty good Bloody Marys for brunch at Prune, and people want them at other services, but I like for the food to be different at different services.” She was smitten. “I was like, dude, I’m taking this! Is that alright?” she said, laughing. “He was like, ok-ay…”
Schlow’s Ghost consisted of housemade, spicy tomato water and Ketel One Citroen, garnished with tomolives and Sweet 100 Tomatoes. Whereas Chef Hamilton thinks he used a specific tomato for the tomato water, she uses Prune’s Bloody Mary mix, and repeatedly clarifies it through cheesecloth for several hours. Prune uses Absolut, but the garnish is also an homage, “I learned about tomolives from him.”
The result is delicious. Even people who don’t usually enjoy Bloody Marys like it, particularly those who think of tomato juice as cold soup. The thick pulpiness is gone. What’s left feels light, and tastes clean and fresh. Chef Hamilton chuckled while noting the humor of when she serves her Ghost. After the average weekend during which they make 5,000 Bloody Marys, “Monday through Friday, there’s just a ghost of Mary. It’s an inside joke, but it’s my own. You have to keep yourself entertained.”