The Best Damn Bloody Mary Mix? Make It At Home!

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).

Everything was made by me except the Vodka - DUH! (L - R - Pickled Padron Peppers, Mary Mix, Pickled Curried Cauliflower)

Everything was made by me except the Vodka – DUH! (L – R – Pickled Padron Peppers, Mary Mix, Pickled Curried Cauliflower)

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 

Basic ingredients for the Mary Mix

Basic ingredients for the 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.



Holiday Entertaining? Kickoff with Boozy Punch

Right now, all around the world, people are sharing recipes for the holidays. Making baked goods for friends and family. Bringing casseroles to potlucks. Creating homemade gifts for loved ones. There are so many opportunities to get together with friends during the month of December. If you are the host, there is always the question, “What the hell will I serve?” When it comes to food, you usually have a plan – I hope – but when it comes to drinks many people are left baffled. How much to buy and what to serve are always tricky. I typically have beer on tap because John brews at home and we have a kegerator (honestly), but I also have a self-serve bar and a premixed cocktail in a punch bowl to get the spirits flowing.

To help you out with some answers, here are a few guidelines, a recipe and a few tips from Aunt LeAnne:

  • 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per hour per adult guest is about right. I plan on more JUST IN CASE. Remember, not everyone will imbibe because someone has to be the driver.
  • Keep the drinks separate from the food or everyone will be congregating in the same area. You want people to mill about and chat with folks they don’t know.
  • Only put in view booze you are willing to part with. For example, DO NOT put the $100 bottle of scotch on display unless you are prepared to serve it or have someone bastardize it with soda or worse.
  • Find a fun bucket, tub or other large receptacle to hold ice, beer and sodas. In the summer use a small baby pool, in the winter, find a galvanized or tin tub and place it outside on the patio.
  • Keep soft drinks and alcoholic drinks separate, that way you can monitor minors who might be trying to drink booze on the sly. (Moment of Truth – I think the 21 drinking age is bull shit. If you can vote and serve in the military at age 18, you should be allowed to buy a beer.)
  • If someone is already loaded, offer them soda, water or coffee so they don’t embarrass themselves or you. I have had to politely cut folks off. Yes, really.
  • A premixed cocktail or punch bowl is always a good option. Guests don’t have to mix their own and it takes some stress off YOU because it can be made the night before or earlier in the day depending on the ingredients. Check here for some summery options.

Recently I attended an It’s On Me cocktail party at the Velveteen Rabbit and had a TERRIFIC cocktail called the Bronze Bell. After chatting with the bar tender and getting the ratios on their version, I created THIS punch bowl version for a crowd with some of the same ingredients. A punch bowl traditionally was nearly all booze; however, I find incorporating non-alcoholic elements is the way to go.  Enjoy!

Bronze Bell-ish Boozy Punch

Here are the cocktail basics for the punch

Here are the cocktail basics for the punch

Makes 1 gallon, serves 32 – 4 oz portions

4 C Bulleit Rye

2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (DO NOT sub with that shit from the green jar)

2 C Aperol

2 Tbsp pure maple syrup more or less to taste (organic if you can find it)

Several shakes of Cherry Bitters to taste

2 C club soda or seltzer

2 C 7-up or Sprite

Combine all ingredients except the sodas, mix well and put in the fridge to chill. I chill overnight. At this point you can serve it as is and it will be a boozy cocktail. My sister in law prefers it this way.

To serve – My punch bowl will only hold ½ gallon at a time with an ice ring, so…measure 2 C of the boozy mixture into the bowl and top with 1 C each of the sodas.

An ice ring made with a ring mold of your choosing is a huge plus. I slice a lemon and put that in the water before freezing just to be pretty. An Ice ring keeps the punch cold without diluting it too much and saves you from having to have an ice bucket nearby.

Sometimes you are the host, sometimes you are the invited guest. If you are a regular reader, you have seen the blogs below, but always a good reminder. If you are a first time reader, welcome! Check out the links below.

How to be a good guest during the festivities

Thoughts on RSVPing