Like me Ed enjoys a good food or in this case, cocktail, challenge. He has been doing research on the perfect Bloody Mary for the last few years and taking it quite seriously.
This included a bar in Portland, OR where he was watching the World Cup with my sister and our niece. Ordering just a Bloody Mary wasn’t an option – he had to fill out an order form indicating what vodka, garnishes and level of spiciness he wanted (for those of you who have seen the TV show Portlandia this was quite apropos). It has also included quizzing Rich H on exactly what he uses to mix up 5 gallons of Bloody Marys for our bus ride to the annual Army-Navy game. Rich likes Benny’s Original Meat Straws (think Slim Jim as a straw) and Demtiri’s Bacon RimShot (a bacon salt used to rim the glasses or red Solo cups in this case).
After a few trial runs at home, Ed was ready for his big day. We traveled to West Point, NY to the United States Military Academy to see Army play Air Force a few weeks ago. We started off our day with a tailgate for 20 friends and family who had made the trip along with us.
Everything tastes better when it’s marinated and a Bloody Mary is no different. So Ed made the Bloody Mary mix the day before which also allowed for tasting and “doctoring” as needed. He goes for spice more in the form of horseradish than hot sauce as that’s something one can add to suit their tastes. Careful attention is also paid to the garnishes. This mix included celery, pimento-stuffed olives, peperoncino, pickled okra and Slim Jim or Vermont Smoke and Cure sticks (for those of us who are gluten-free/wheat-free). Let your imagination go and see what you come up with. They were delicious and totally hit the spot (this time in “Army gold ” solo cups).
What do you like in your Bloody Mary? Let me know or tell me about the best Bloody Mary you’ve ever had. I have a feeling that our research will continue for quite a long time.
Party Tip: If you’re making these for a crowd (such as a tailgate or casual holiday party) I recommend investing in one or more 2 Gallon Party Stacker™ Beverages Coolers from Coleman. You can mix the Bloody Marys right in the cooler and ladle from the top (there’s a spigot but I fear the horseradish might clog it). Plus they stack if you have more than one.
Gluten-Free/Wheat-Free Option: Many pre-made Bloody Mary mixes contain gluten so if you’re gluten-free/wheat-free it behooves you to make your own mix. All the ingredients in the drink are safe as long as you use a gluten-free vodka such as Tito’s or Ciroc. If you’re using any packaged ingredients for garnishes be sure to read the ingredient list. Fair warning that Slim Jim’s contain gluten.
Side Reading: Learn more about Benny and how he invented the Bloody Mary Meat Straw in NPR’s The Salt’s The Bloody Mary Meat Straw: An All-American Story.
|Ed’s Bloody Mary|| || |
- 48 ounces of tomato juice
- 5 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon celery salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 20 to 30 dashes of Tabasco sauce (depending on taste - you can always add more)
- 16 ounces vodka
- Smoked Paprika Salt (1 tablespoon smoked paprika & 1 tablespoon kosher salt)
- Celery Salt (1 tablespoons celery salt & 1 tablespoon kosher salt)
- Old Bay (2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning)
- Celery stalks (with leaves left on)
- Pimento or cheese stuffed olives
- Pickled okra
- Caper berries (large with stem on)
- Lemon or lime slices
- Meat sticks (such as Slim Jims)
- Cubes of cheese
- In advance:
- Mix tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, garlic powder, black pepper and Tabasco sauce in a large pitcher. Refrigerate until ready to serve (ideally overnight).
- To assemble drinks:
- If using a glass rim, mix your ingredients on a small plate. Rub the rim of your glass with a lemon or lime slice, then dip into the mix and twist.
- Fill an 8 ounce glass to the top with ice.
- Add 2 ounces of vodka then top with tomato mixture.
- Add garnishes to the glass – many of the garnishes will work best on a skewer or toothpick (think garnish shish kabob).