Bloody Mary Improvisation

I posted over on Serious Eats about my favorite Bloody Mary garnish, the bacon swizzle stick. So my intention was to share my Bloody Mary recipe here … until I realized I don’t have one. Now, this isn’t because I don’t make Bloody Marys. But every time I’ve tried to document my recipe, I end up tasting and tweaking. I have at least 13 half-written recipes that I stopped documenting. I think as much as I love the taste of a good Bloody Mary, I also love the process of improvising one.

I link to some good recipes in the bacon post, but here’s what I usually do:

  1. Make spicy tomato juice by blending fresh or canned tomatoes with a chile pepper. (You’ll need about 4 ounces per drink.)
  2. Add soy sauce (or Worcestershire sauce) to taste. Possibly also some garlic? Maybe a dash of Tabasco or Sriracha?  Often some celery salt, but usually some pepper? Oh, and of course a big old dollop of horseradish.
  3. Now some lemon juice. Maybe a little more.
  4. Vodka time! One shot (1 1/2 ounces) of whatever I have, which is often a mini-bar-sized sample bottle I got for review purposes.
  5. Roll the drink with ice (this is pouring the liquid and ice back and forth between two halves of a Boston shaker or two pint glasses).
  6. Serve on the rocks in a tall glass and garnish the hell out of it.

Now for the best part … garnishing options. I usually do at least two garnishes. Besides the always-wonderful bacon stirrer, other options are:

  1. The traditional leafy celery stalk
  2. Olives
  3. Cornichons
  4. Pickled asparagus or green beans
  5. Crab claw
  6. Skewered, hard-boiled quail egg
  7. Shrimp
  8. Okra
  9. Skewered cheeses

I’m open to more. Like I always say: Everyone loves a cocktail that comes with a snack.

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