Catsup got your tongue? A pairing that’ll leave you lost for words

Catsup oysters martini 1

QUAFF. adj. to drink luxuriously
FUDDLE. adj. to drink to excess
CRAPULENCE. n. queasiness due to too much fuddling and quaffing

If this eloquently exquisite list sounds familiar then today's Sunday brunch recipe may suit your quenching propensities and abligurition.

These are some of the 42,773 words from Samuel Johnson's legendary 1755 dictionary of the English language the first of its kind which took him eight years to complete.
But this fellow, who is known for writing accomplished poetry from the age of three, penning notable biographies and undertaking the modest task of re-editing the entire dramatic works of Shakespeare, wasn't only famous for his wordsmithery. 

He liked good food and modest pleasures, stating that 'there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.'

Johnson was also renowned for his boundless affection for his cat, Hodge, for whom he provided a daily diet of fresh oysters which he insisted on buying personally so as not to embarrass his servant, a freed slave.

One of the Bloody Mary's origins is the Oyster Cocktail, a libation with all the classic ingredients of this mighty brunch drink but with raw oysters thrown in instead of vodka.

In 18th century London the perception of this testaceous shellfish was rather humble and a bylaw actually limited how often a gentleman could make his household eat them.

Thankfully, this tasty treat is no longer harvested from London's riverbanks and for our recipe we have paired fine Pinneys of Orford oysters with a Broken Clock Bloody Mary catsup and a briny Dirty Martini.


(for a ½ dozen oysters)
50 ml Broken Clock Vodka
50 ml Pulped Plum Tomatoes
10 ml Lemon Juice
1 tsp Grated Horseradish
1 tsp Diced Capers
4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
4 dashes Tabasco

Combine the ingredients and spoon onto each fresh shucked oyster.


65 ml Broken Clock Vodka

15 ml Noilly Prat Vermouth

3 Sicilian Capers

Muddle the capers in a mixing glass and add the vodka, vermouth and ice. Stir until very cold and strain into a chilled glass. Why not make it more dirty with a drop of caper brine?