I haven’t done a cocktail post in quite sometime, but I never stopped drinking. I decided to jump back into the cocktail posts with one of my staples: a good bloody mary.
I’m a sucker for a good bloody mary. They’re delicious, they’re versatile, and although they’ve been unjustly labeled as a breakfast/brunch drink, I drink them pretty much any time of day. AND YOU CAN TOO!
The coolest thing about bloody marys is how varied they are. Everyone has seen those instagram accounts and pinterest posts dedicated to the most elaborately garnished bloody marys. They’re meals almost in themselves.
But! A bloody mary is, first and foremost, a drink. And no matter how many wacky garnishes you add to it (I’ve seen everything from the traditional celery to a whole fried chicken), if your drink isn’t very good, you aren’t going to enjoy it very much.
Like any good meal, the key to a good drink is good (fresh, if possible) ingredients. I don’t have any fresh tomato/vegetable juice, so I use V8. Typically I use the high fiber or low sodium versions for personal health reasons, but you can use whatever you like. Campbell’s puts out a tomato juice that a lot of people like. That’s another cool thing about bloody marys – they can be tweaked to your taste, almost endlessly.
The other thing that makes a drink good: quality liquor. Sure, there are times when plastic bottle vodka and supermarket brand orange juice from concentrate serve their purpose, but as you get older, and you’re drinking socially, and not just to be wasted, you want something that gets you pleasantly buzzed and doesn’t also taste like it was an experiment concocted in a Russian prison.
I make bloody marys with two liquors: vodka or tequila. I’ve had one where a whiskey was used, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. The taste just wasn’t right. So I stick to vodka and tequila.
I’ve found a recipe that works for me, more or less, every time. You can adjust as you wish, but here is how I make mine.
1.5 – 2 oz vodka or tequila. For this particular morning, I used this:
This is Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila, and it is delicious.
I also used:
6 – 8 oz high fiber V8
the juice of 1 whole small lemon, or 1/2 one large lemon (limes work too, I just prefer lemons)
1 tablespoon horseradish (for me, this is key!!!)
4-5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Old Bay seasoning
(the airtight jar is filled with pickled jalapeños – more on that later)
My ingredients looked like this:
(Ignore the brown bananas. They’re for banana bread later this weekend.)
Add the liquor, vegetable juice, lemon juice, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce into a cocktail shaker. Shake to combine. Pour into glasses, either over ice or without, according to preference. Sprinkle Old Bay Seasoning over the top. I used the pickled jalapeños for garnish. I have also muddled them up and used them to add flavor when I used plain vodka instead of jalapeño tequila.
So that’s my basic recipe for a bloody mary, minus the pickled jalapeños. Sometimes I change it up with crumbled bacon or some olive juice or a flavored vodka/tequila, but basically, that’s it. As I said, there are a million variations you can use to make a bloody mary. Some people like a really spicy one or don’t like Worcestershire sauce. Whatever. It’s up to you.
BUT! I always use horseradish in my bloody mary. As mentioned, it’s key. I prefer it to Tabasco or any other hot sauce for two simple reasons
- It adds a unique taste that hot sauce doesn’t have (although my husband likes adding both horseradish and hot sauce).
- It adds texture. I love texture. You can adjust spice by adding more or less horseradish, or using fresh. In my experience, fresh horseradish is very potent. Don’t use the purple horseradish, which has beet juice in it. Well, I guess you can, but I don’t like it, haha.
And like I said, I drink these at all hours. My version is quite popular with my family (we’re drinkers and they’re my favorite test audience because they don’t lie – if something sucks, I hear about it). Serve with brunch, dinner, afternoon tea. Enjoy.