Happy New Year! All through the blogosphere, writers are sharing how to be a better you and ideas for New Year’s Resolutions. Quit Smoking. Clean Eating. Exercising. Learning something new. Being a better homemaker. Eating less. Drinking less…Yeah. Okay. That’s fine for THEM, but my readers expect something else, so…here is a little something to whet your appetite for the New Year. Drink more Bloody Marys! They have vegetables; that means they are healthy! The recipe for the best damn Bloody Mary mix you can make at home is at the end. There are some incredibly over the top versions out there with bacon, sliders and shrimp cocktail attached to the rim of the glass in addition to, or in place of, the traditional garnish of celery. I actually like pickled veggies with mine. Olives, asparagus, okra, string beans, caper berries and cornichons all have made appearances on my cocktail skewer. As Friend Danielle says, “It’s like a salad in a glass!” I’m healthy that way. Friend Lynn says she doesn’t need “the salad” and opts for just a cornichon or olives.
The Bloody Mary, the hangover cure of choice and brunch staple started out simple enough but has changed and morphed into so much more. The first time I saw a Bloody Mary bar I giggled with glee. They are quite common here in Vegas, but sadly the best one has disappeared with the closing of Kerry Simon’s joint at The Palms. If you have never been to a brunch Bloody Mary bar, here is the gist of it: the house pours your vodka on ice and you saunter up to a buffet of ingredients to make your Mary the way YOU like it. Think hot sauces, horseradish, lemons, limes, veggies and tomato, V8™ and Clamato™ juices. At Simon it was a “bottomless” add-on to your brunch, but most places it is priced per drink.
This is easy to do at home for a get together. Recently Friend Lillian and I hosted a baby shower for fellow blogger Apryl and had a Mary & Mimosa bar. In our house we love pint glasses for everyday use because they are sturdy and we “borrow” logoed ones from bars (See the photo above? It’s a Modelo glass). The bonus is that each one has a different logo, so the glass itself acts like a “wine charm” so you know which glass is yours if you set it down someplace.
For the holidays I have discovered that I like to gift folks with something made by me if they are local (shipping is not my forte and I often send digital gift cards to out of towners so I don’t have to deal with the Post Office or other shippers). This year my Posse received Bloody Mary Gift bags, complete with handmade gift tags, a bottle of vodka, cocktail napkins, homemade Bloody Mary mix and house pickled veggies. All were canned by me (except the vodka…duh!) including the Bloody Mary mix (recipe follows with instructions for canning).
The original recipe was created by Chef Michael O’Donnell of T.W. Garner, the makers of Texas Pete™. He designed it to be used for Bloody Marias where you replace the vodka with Tequila. I have tweaked it a smidge to MY liking. FYI – it tastes great on its own too.
- When using the Mary mix, you can choose vodka, gin or tequila as your booze of choice and it will taste great no matter what.
- The recipe doubles and triples easily and if you are canning it, you really want to double or triple it because the main recipe makes about 6 cups.
- When choosing your salsa, go for medium, you can always add more hot sauce to your glass. Whatever salsa you choose will slightly change the flavor of the final product (DUH!). For my gifts this year, I used Texas Pete™ commercial salsa (no, you can’t buy it in stores, so yours will not taste EXACTLY like mine).
- I love horseradish in mine, but I wasn’t sure how it would work out in the canning process so I add it at time of service.
- For your vegetarian friends, they do make anchovy free Worcestershire sauce. Most “store brands” are vegan, just read the label. No need to pay a ton for vegan sauce.
The Best Damn Bloody Mary Mix
Serves 6 – about 6 C
Your favorite salsa 2 cups or a 16 oz jar
Vegetable juice cocktail (like V8™) 4 cups
Worcestershire sauce 2 Tbsp
Lemon juice, freshly squeezed 2 lemons
Lime juice, freshly squeezed 2 limes
Celery salt 2 tsp
Texas Pete™ Garlic Hot Sauce 2 Tbsp
Put everything except the vegetable juice in the canister of a high powered blender. I use a Blendtec®. Process until smooth. If using the Blendtec® choose “Whole Juice” option. You can also do this with a hand blender.
Combine vegetable juice with the mixture from the blender. Chill and serve or proceed with canning.
To Can: follow the basic “hot water bath” canning instructions HERE. Process for 30 minutes. NORMALLY you process tomatoes for 45 minutes, however since all of the products have been canned before AND there is high acid thanks to the citrus, you can safely process for a shorter time.
Chilled mix keeps about 5 days in the fridge and canned will last 6 months in a cool dark place. Shake or mix well before serving.