Ask a bloody expert: Tim Williams

We’re stoked to introduce our new series, Ask a Bloody Expert, where we pick the brains of industry folks to learn the ins and outs of our favorite cocktail. First up: meet Tim Williams, owner and mixology extraordinaire of Pour Souls Cocktail Club. Tim has consulted and concocted bloody marys on the menus of Nellcote, Headquarters Beercade and more. 

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What makes a good bloody mary?

Bloody marys are different for each person. I think when I’ve come up with them for different menus, they have to have a distinct tomato flavor. You got to support that tomato with other stuff: black pepper, horseradish, Worcesteshire. The kind of stuff people are looking for. But I don’t really try to make one that’s inherently salty or spicy because there are so many things that people are going to want to customize anyway. That kind of stuff I leave up to them. It’s about establishing a traditional tomato base that’s not too heavy. And then from there, people are going to do what they want to it. It’s about being as good of a canvas as possible. For me, the trick is to not be too assertive with the traditional mix.

Who is making a good bloody these days?

I don’t think of bloodies as high-profile drinks as far as having a name behind them. We were talking about Sauce and Bread earlier, theirs is awesome. Most places that have serious name bartenders are 5pm bars. I think The Southern has a really good one. You can get it with bacon-infused bourbon, which is awesome. Creativity for the sake of your concept is ok, but it’s got to connect otherwise you have people in print saying it’s terrible.

What’s the biggest mistake you see in bloody marys? 

For the most part, whiskey doesn’t work for bloody marys. If you think about the flavors inherent in whiskey, you have caramel, vanilla, oak, that doesn’t go along with tomato or black pepper. The original bloody mary, a red snapper with gin? Amazing. In my opinion, more character. A silver tequila is fine too. I just think anything with a ton of barrel aged characteristics doesn’t work. That’s just my opinion.

Why does The Southern’s work? 

By putting bacon in it, you nullify the subtleties of the vanilla and caramel. You override that with smoky. And smoky goes with tomato. That makes sense.

Tell us about Pour Souls. 

Cocktail classes for everyday people. We do classes for the general public and beverage catering. On the corporate side, we do team building, menu development and staff training for restaurants.

What are you drinking these days?

It’s so cliche to say it, but I drink a lot of beer. A lot of ciders. Vander Mill from Michigan is my favorite. They make a really clean cider. I usually just drink it out of the can. Sometimes with a shot of whiskey in it. It isn’t sweet. Really dry. Apples can ferment on their own to exactly 7%. Any cider that’s lower than or above 7% has something added to it. I don’t really like those.  I  like Vander Mill because it tastes like fermented apples. They have a couple that have pecan and cinnamon, some that’s mixed with blueberry juice, one mixed with cherry. I really like Vander Mill. Good strong 7%. It’s stronger than a normal beer but it’s not going to knock you on your ass. It’s not 10%. There’s not a ton of sugar involved, which is great too.

Check out more about Pour Souls at poursouls.com.

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