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Bloody Roman

Bloody Roman cocktail in a pint glass, topped with two oysters, a green olive, serrano pepper and red chile threads
Image: / Tim Nusog

A few centuries ago, Irish satirist Jonathan Swift said: “It was a bold man that first ate an oyster.” It’s true—while we know oysters to be briny, delicious sea creatures that pair perfectly with Champagne and Martinis, the first person to crack open that shell had no idea what they were in for. But we can only guess what Swift would say about the Bloody Roman, a cocktail that employs the little crustaceans as protein-packed garnishes.

The Bloody Roman comes from San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino. It’s a fun take on the classic Bloody Mary that goes equally well with brunch. The drink skips vodka and enlists beer—Consentino suggests his hometown brew, Anchor Steam—as its base, plus homemade Roman Mix, a spicy combination of tomatoes, capers, chiles, shallots and fish sauce.

Break out this drink during your next brunch party, or after a particularly late night out. Add the beer and Roman Mix to a glass with green olives, then top with a couple shucked oysters, and you can enjoy a nautical snack between sips. Have a couple of these, and you might not need lunch.


  • 12 Castelvetrano or other mild green olives

  • 36 ounces beer, chilled

  • Roman mix*, to top

  • 12 oysters (preferably Kumamato or Kusshi), shucked, liquor reserved

  • Garnish: chile threads

  • Garnish: olives

  • Garnish: serrano peppers


Serves 6.

  1. Place 2 olives in each of 6 pint glasses.

  2. Pour six ounces of beer into each glass, then top with the Roman mix, dividing it evenly among the glasses.

  3. Place 2 shucked oysters with their liquor in each glass.

  4. Garnish each glass with a few chile threads, an additional olive and a serrano pepper.

*Roman mix: Pass 3 lbs heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped coarsely, through a food mill set over a bowl and fitted with the fine grinding wheel. Add 1 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped; 2 red Fresno chiles, seeded and chopped; 1 shallot, finely diced; 2 tbsp chopped pickled peppers (preferably Mama Lil’s); 2 tsp Asian fish sauce (preferably Red Boat); 1 tsp cabernet vinegar; and 1 tsp ground Aleppo pepper. Stir well to combine. Season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.