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My latest review is of yet another Southern company called Charleston Mix’s Bold & Spicy and Fresh & Veggie Bloody Mary mixes. Charleston Mix hails from Charleston, South Carolina aka the Lowcountry. The Lowcountry is the area along South Carolina’s coastline and the Sea Islands wherein the cuisine closely resembles that of New Orleans’ Creole/Cajun style of spices and ingredients (lots of shellfish and rice). Charleston Mix uses “premium ingredients that have been native to Lowcountry pantries for centuries,” which result in savory but sweet mixes that are sure to please your taste buds. I love when you can tell that local flavors and styles are used in Bloody Mary mixes. As each region in the United States has its own culinary traditions, Charleston Mix brings out the best of the Lowcountry cuisine and uses all natural and fresh ingredients that are at the heart of this region. Founded in 2009 by Ryan Eleuteri, Charleston mix has been perfected over the course of seven years and still holds true to the local South Carolinian vision Eleuteri had from the beginning. Thank you to Charleston Mix for sending out a package of both of your legendary mixes!
Fresh & Veggie: Water, tomato paste, carrot juice concentrate, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, roasted vegetable base, sea salt, celery seeds, seasoning blend, brown sugar, black pepper, habanero pepper mash, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, marjoram
Bold & Spicy: Water, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, roasted vegetable base, brown sugar, beef base, seafood seasoning blend, celery seeds, black pepper, habanero pepper mash, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, marjoram, beef base
Fresh & Veggie: A refreshing veggie taste with flavors of other vegetables like carrots with the use of carrot juice.
Bold & Spicy: Complex spices add a nice kick to this more traditional mix. The Italian spices add a unique flavor profile that go well alongside the apple cider vinegar and habanero mash.
What Differentiates Charleston Bloody Mary Mixes From Other Bloody Mary Mixes?
Charleston Bloody Mary mixes are a bit different from other mixes because they contain no horseradish, thus there isn’t that pungency usually accredited with horseradish. A little bit of sourness is brought into each mix due to the addition of apple cider vinegar. Charleston mixes are also made with brown sugar, which adds subtle sweetness to every sip. The use of habanero mash in the mixes is very unique in itself– if you didn’t know, pepper mash is one of the main ingredients in fermented hot sauce. I loved this addition because it shows that the Charleston mixes have closer semblance to a hot sauce.
From the Looks of It
I liked the appearance of the Charleston Bloody Mary mix bottles because they reminded me of my time down in Key West, Florida.. The style and art of the labels brings me back to seaside days in the South, as the labels are adorned with ships at sail. When I did the shake test, many spices floated throughout both bottles of mix and you could see that the mixes were thick.
Before making Bloodies, I performed a taste test of each Bloody Mary mix sans alcohol.
Fresh & Veggie: This mix is pretty light in heat, while it is flavorful and thick. The Fresh & Veggie mix is full of chunky spices and has more of a veggie flavor versus a strictly tomato taste. The mix is full of veggie goodness!
Bold & Spicy: The Bold & Spicy mix has a smokier flavor with a little kick of heat.. The mix will even tingle your nose when you take a whiff! The use of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage results in a unique flavor more complex than your usual pepper/salt/celery seed mixes.
Fresh & Veggie: The Bloody made with the Fresh & Veggie mix was thick, refreshing, and brimming with fresh vegetable tastes. Each sip was a little sweeter and heartier than a sip from a Bloody made with a more traditional mix. The Fresh & Veggie Bloody would be the perfect cocktail to have the morning after a heavy night of drinking when you need to replenish your body the next day!
Bold & Spicy: The Bold & Spicy Bloody was deliciously tantalizing to my taste buds because of the spice complexity within the mix. The combination of habanero pepper mash and Italian spices, along with the beef base, resulted in a deep flavor that was almost smoky in a sense. After each sip of the Bold & Spicy Bloody, there was a lingering aftertaste in my throat from the heat. This mix is of a more traditional flavor and isn’t too spicy.
So how were the mixes?
I liked both of the Charleston Bloody Mary mixes, but my favorite would have to be the Bold & Spicy. I tend to like things a bit spicy and the Bold & Spicy Bloody Mary mix was perfect for me– it’s not too spicy and brings just the perfect amount of heat for those who may not be able to handle more intensity. You don’t need to chase each sip of Bloody with a sip of water like you may need to with other mixes. The Fresh & Veggie mix was a little too subtle for me, but would be great for people who love fresh veggie notes in their Bloodies and for those who can’t handle the heat. I loved the addition of habanero mash, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar in both mixes because all three resulted in complex flavor that was both savory and sweet.