I’m a Bloody Mary lover, so in that time, I had the chance to really perfect my take on the iconic Sunday brunch accompaniment, though I’ll drink one pretty much anytime (and still swear it’s one of the most bonafide hangover cures on the planet).
To be honest, I make this by feel, not really by recipe anymore. So this is my best guess at the measurements I use, but you’ll probably have to tweak it to your taste. This is a BOLD recipe, with lots of heft and umami thanks to the sauces involved. Not your mama’s tomato juice. If you like yours a little more ‘vanilla’, you can cut back on those.
So by popular demand, here’s the ‘recipe’.
1 large can tomato juice (36 oz. Sacramento is the best if you can find it, or make your own by throwing canned whole tomatoes in the blender or food processor and strain).
2 t prepared horseradish
1-2 T Worcestershire sauce
Juice of about 1/2 a lemon or lime
1 T A1 Steak Sauce (yes, I’m serious. The original, don’t mess with the flavored shiz)
a shot of Tabasco, to taste. If you’re really wild, use Sriracha.
1 T celery salt
A few grinds of fresh cracked pepper
Run a cut lime around the edge of a pint glass and dip in celery salt. Add ice, then about 1.5 oz of your favorite vodka. Pour the mix over the top and use your celery stick to mix things up a bit, or use a Boston shaker to mix and pour.
The real money shot for a Bloody Mary is in the garnishes. Here are some of my favorite accessories:
a good squeeze of lime
Pickle spears or cornichon
Celery stalks (keep the leaves on)
Pickled green beans
Pickled Brussels sprouts
Cheese cubes (good sharp cheddar is my fave, but try pepper jack or gouda)
A good ‘Sconnie Beef Stick from Usinger’s, or a chunk of salami or summer sausage
Pickled hop shoots (get them here)
Boiled or roasted shrimp
Screw toothpicks. Get yourself some thin bamboo skewers and use those.
I make a lot of my own garnishes. Pickling things is so super easy, and you can find lots of easy recipes online. It’s mostly vinegar, water, salt, a little sugar, and sometimes pickling spices (I use a combination of garlic, mustard seed, coriander seed, fennel seed, peppercorns and red chili flakes).
I’m a vodka purist so I like Tito’s or Smirnoff in my Bloodys, because I don’t drink vodka otherwise and prefer something not too expensive since it’ll just get lost in the shuffle. But you can certainly try a flavored vodka (Absolut Peppar for spice, or one of those crazy bacon-flavored vodkas for some smoke). Not a vodka fan? Turn it into a Bloody Maria with tequila.
As a side note, if you’re not down with making the mix on your own, there is *one* bottled mix that gets the Amber seal of approval: Mr. and Mrs. T’s Bold and Spicy Bloody Mary Mix (NOT the original, which I find much too thin and bland). I still doctor it a bit, but it’s pretty damned good by itself.