We report a case of a young woman with an aberrant right internal carotid artery (ICA) presenting as a retrotympanic reddish mass. This variant of the ICA represents the collateral pathway that is formed as a result of an embryological agenesis of the cervical segment of the ICA. The embryonic inferior tympanic artery is recruited to bypass the absent carotid segment. This hypertrophied vessel may be seen otoscopically and wrongfully considered to be a vascular middle ear tumor. Informing the otorhinolaryngologist of this important vascular variant not only obviates biopsy but also helps in careful preoperative planning of eventual middle ear procedures.