A Bloody Mary is the kind of drink that if you can’t get a great one, don’t bother. You order a vodka and soda, either the bar has the vodka that you drink or they don’t. After that, how much can they really screw it up? I know, they can screw it up and they have… but a Bloody Mary is the kind of drink that makes a bartender proud. My first real exposure to that pride was in Milwaukee. Every corner bartender seemed to have their own recipe and made that drink like they were spinning gold. I like gold and I tried every corner. It was in Milwaukee that I learned a Bloody Mary could come with a “bump” or beer chaser …then I went to New Orleans. Next thing I knew I was drinking drinks with dilly beans, avocados and in that heat probably a little bartender sweat. This recipe is by no means an end all. The Bloody Mary is too much fun to stick to the same routine all the time, but this one is a good standard. I like my Bloody Marys on the heated side with hearty flavor and quite honestly the vodka is almost an afterthought.
If you prefer a little more adventure as well as something brighter in flavor, check out the La Michelada or “Red Eye”. This drink found me at one of those bars in the middle of a pool at a resort in a place with 80+ degree temps when Michigan is buried in snow.
The easy Bloody Mary:
8 oz tomato juice
1 Tbsp beef stock (consomme)
1 Tbsp of olive juice
2 -3 tsp of chipotle salsa depending on your heat tolerance
1/4 cup of pickle juice
several turns of the pepper mill
1/4 cup of a lager or ale beer …about two splashes
1 1/2 oz of vodka
Juice of half a lemon
For the tumbler rim:
Mix equal parts Zip seasoning and kosher salt
of course a pickle, celery, olives or shrimp are familiar choices
1. Wet the rim of a tumbler. Coat the rim in the Zip-Kosher mix
2. I usually mix all the ingredients (minus the beer, vodka and lemon juice) in a separate glass
2. Fill the salted tumbler half way with ice
3. Add your tomato juice mixture to the tumbler and top with beer, vodka and lemon juice
I grew fond of the dilly bean, but short of ordering them over the Internet or making them myself, they are tough to find and I’m just not that organized. If someone has an auntie or mom who cans, pickled anything from a family pantry will be beautiful in a Sunday morning Bloody.
Now the higher maintenance Bloody Mary:
All of the above still applies but…. now take all the ingredients (still minus the beer, vodka and lemon juice) and throw them into a blender. To this mix add any and sometimes all of the following:
1/4 cup green pepper that is then minced
1 Tbsp chopped garlic that is then minced and turned into a paste
1/2 jalapeno or Serrano minced then crushed. These 2 peppers have very different heat indexes, but in Michigan in late winter/early spring you can eat jalapenos like green peppers. They have traveled too far and are out of season so I sub in the Serrano. Normally I couldn’t tolerate the heat the Serrano gives off, but the time of year makes all the difference.
Can you tell I was a vegetarian in my past life? I never gave up vodka though!