I’ll have a number of shorter entries coming soon with new beer reviews and an update on my own foray into home brewing. But right now I’m still recovering from this past weekend’s Extreme Beer Fest, so I thought I would kick this week off the way I ended the last one: with a Bloody Mary.
The Bloody Mary, like scotch, seafood, and my girlfriend’s cat, is one of those things that I initially hated and that now holds a special place in my heart. On a Sunday morning (or, who are we kidding, a Tuesday night), when it’s fresh and mixed just right, there are few joys in life like the Bloody Mary, to say nothing of its power to drag you back from the land of the dead, Lazarus-style. The only negative about a Bloody Mary is how easy it is to make a poor one. The main culprit here is of course the litany of crappy pre-made Bloody Mary mixes on the market. Since I’ve yet to come across one that I totally enjoy as-is, I decided it was time to make my own.
Working off a recipe from the ever-helpful Imbibe Magazine, I began with my ingredients:
2 lbs. Roma tomatoes
1 lb. carrots
6 celery stalks
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 oz. fresh lemon juice
3 cloves roasted garlic*
1 tsp. horseradish
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. celery salt
2 tsp. each fresh ground salt and pepper
*The recipe I worked from didn’t include garlic, but rather suggested using a homemade garlic-infused vodka. As I only have one bottle of vodka at home, and as not many cocktails call for garlic-infused anything, I decided to simply include garlic in the mix instead.
I began by blending the tomatoes and using a fine mesh strainer to separate the pulp from the juice.
Then, after chopping the celery and carrots, I blended them with the roasted garlic and roughly half a cup of water, and again used the mesh strainer to separate the juice.
I then added the rest of my ingredients to the mix, which immediately taught me a valuable lesson: when making Blood Mary mix, use a container with a wide top. Trying to stuff tomato paste and drop tablespoons of spices down a long, slender bottle top sucks. Trust me on this.
After finally getting all the ingredients in the bottle, I gave it a vigorous shaking to ensure they blended together evenly, and then let it sit for a bit to allow the mix to settle.**
**Shaking a Bloody Mary adds too much air to the mix and makes it frothy when it should be nice and thick. After shaking your mix to blend it, let it sit and settle for a few minutes before drinking it.
Finally, my Bloody was complete. Sadly, I didn’t have any good garnishes to crown it with, and so ended up using The World’s Saddest Pickle™***
***Trademark Ryan Peet, 2013
Sad pickle or no, it was still absolutely delicious. Not surprisingly, it tasted extremely fresh, which is the most important part, and had just a bit of heat to keep it lively. I should note I used much less horseradish than the original recipe called for, so if you like that vile root, you’ll probably want to up that amount to at least 2 Tbsp.
All in all, this was an extremely satisfying first go with my own Bloody Mary mix. I’ll definitely be making more soon, and playing around with some different additions; jalapeños and fresh basil both come to mind as soon-to-be-in-season ingredients that would make nice variations. I might also add a little more tomato paste to thicken it up just a bit more, and possibly some more hot sauce or Siracha. And lord knows I’ll be picking up some olives (or possibly pickling my own vegetables) so that I never have to insult my freshly made Bloody with The World’s Saddest Pickle again. But until then, this version will do. Oh yes, this will do.
Are you a Bloody Mary fan? What’s your absolute must or must-not include ingredient? Where’s your favorite place to get a Bloody Mary?