4 Secret Weapons To Get The Most Out Of National Bloody Mary Day
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Most of the holidays are now behind us and this leaves New Year’s Eve as the only festive day left on the 2018 calendar. But, after the evening’s revelry, food, and a few too many glasses of champagne, you might be in for a rude awakening on Jan. 1. If you’re headed out to go ice skating, shopping, or brunch with your friends, but your head is pounding like a tiny crew of road workers is jackhammering your skull instead of potholes, you’re going to need to do something about it. Water, sports drinks, Pedialyte, and even coffee has been known to cure hangovers depending who you talk to. But, the best way to feel better in a hurry is the tried and true hair of the dog. And the best hair of the dog remedy is the classic bloody mary.
Garnishes gone wild: 5 Extravagant Ways to Top Your Bloody Mary
And, since Jan. 1 is National Bloody Mary Day, it’s the perfect time to pour yourself a tomato juice and vodka with any spices, hot sauces, and garnishes you like. But, the hardest part about making a Bloody Mary is determining just what to put in it. That’s why we asked a handful of bartenders to tell us their secret weapons to help get the most out of National Bloody Mary Day and maybe tame that hangover (at least for a few hours) in the process.
Why it works: “Everyone loves a good bloody mary at brunch, but I like mine with something more than just vodka, peaty Scotch,” says Brendan Door, lead bartender at B & O Brasserie in Baltimore. The key is that Door doesn’t replace the vodka we all know and love with Scotch, he merely adds whisky on top of the already present vodka to give the drink an extra, smoky kick that really helps the spicy flavors mingle and meld together. “Just a half ounce of Ardbeg 10 Year Single Malt added to a bloody mary is a game changer. It deepens and enriches the cocktail with full flavors of smoke and peat, almost giving it a slight meaty quality. It is delicious.”
- 1 1/4 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce Ardbeg 10 Year single malt Scotch
- 3 - 4 ounces tomato juice
- 1/4 ounce lemon juice
- 2 dashes Worcestershire
- 2 - 3 dashes Tabasco or Sriracha
- 1 bar spoon horseradish
- 1 bar spoon B&O seasoning blend (salt, black pepper, old bay, smoked paprika)
Build all ingredients in a mixing tin. Quick shake with ice. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with pickled red onions, lemon wheel, and fresh ground pepper over top.
Blend of Pickling Brines
Why it works: When you have a spicy blend of ingredients that works seamlessly with the acidity of the tomato juice, you have the makings of a perfect bloody mary. “This is probably my oldest recipe,” says H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of Elixir in San Francisco. “I came up with this formula while working on the roof deck bar of Roxanne’s in Washington D.C., in the summer of 1992.” The recipe has won numerous awards, including Best Bloody Mary by Citysearch.com’s “Best of San Francisco” in 2005, 2006, and 2008. In June 2008, it was No. 4 in GQ magazine's “20 Best Cocktails in America.” “Everyone thinks their bloody mary is the best, and although I firmly believe the best way to make a cocktail is the way you like it, it appears a lot of people like mine.”
- 1 1/2 0unces of Square One Organic Rye Vodka
- 4 shakes each of dill, white pepper, and celery salt
- 2 shakes Worcestershire
- 2 shakes Tabasco
- 1 squeeze (approximately 1/2 ounce) of Elixir Juice (mixture of olive brine, dill pickle juice, and various other pickling juices)
- Squeeze of one piece of fresh lemon
- 2/3 bar spoon of horseradish
- Tomato juice
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients and fill with ice. Shake lightly enough to mix the ingredients but not so much as to melt all ice and over-dilute the drink. Leave the bloody mary in the large tin of a Boston shaker, allowing the last drops to drain from the glass into the tin. Rim the pint glass with Old Bay Seasoning and pour the drink back into the glass. Garnish with a slice of bacon and a dill pickle. Don’t use a straw, and drink from the rim in order to get a little of the rim with each sip.
Photo: Artemidovna (Getty Images)
Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice
Why it works: At L.A.’s Big Bar, Cari Hah mixes up her bloody mary with tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, homemade horseradish, soy sauce, house-made spice mix, Dirty Suce olive brine, celery bitters, house-made hot sauce, and fresh lemon juice. The olive juice is key, she says. It “brings a really lovely umami and savory character to the drink."
Keith McCarthy, bartender at Jones Hollywood, says, "I don’t think anyone would counter the argument that using better ingredients is better, but if you need a reason or two: the juice you pour out of a jar of olives is only there in the first place to keep the olives from drying out.” The juice has nothing to do with the actual flavor of the olives. The second reason is consistency. “The whole reason Dirty Sue exists is to be consumed as a cocktail ingredient and as such far more care is invested in the quality of the juice they use and the consistency of the recipe.”
Lastly, McCarthy lists the flavor as one of the main reasons. “Dirty Sue lends a rich, savory flavor to a bloody mary. We’ve been using it in our bloody mary for almost as long as I’ve been here, and it consistently gets voted among the best in L.A.”
While McCarthy won’t give us the recipe for his bar’s bloody mary, he did give us another one. “If I gave you the recipe for the Jones Bloody Mary, I’d be asked to retire. So here’s the way I make them at home.”
Bloody Mary Spice Mix
- 6 ounces Dirty Sue premium olive juice
- 3 ounces Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ounce Tabasco
- 1/2 ounce Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
- 1/2 ounce celery salt
1/2 ounce fine ground pepper
- 1 ounce Atomic brand horseradish
(“I keep it all in a glass jar or bottle and put it in the fridge until I make one, or two,” McCarthy says.)
In a glass, add 1/2 ounce Spice Mix (or to taste), 1 1/2 ounces quality vodka (“My new favorite is Hera The Dog - it tastes good and they give money to help dogs!”), and 3 ounces quality tomato juice. Add ice. Pour all contents into a pint glass and back into Collins glass to mix and repeat. Garnish with your favorites. McCarthy uses a lemon wedge, Dirty Sue blue cheese olives, and Dirty Sue jalapeño-stuffed onions. And celery when he has it in the fridge.
Photo: Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice
Onion Juice and Sherry Vinegar
Why it works: The combination of onion with vinegar enhances the savory aspect of this bloody mary. “A lot of people focus on the spicy (heat) component of their bloody mary, but there needs to be something more than just that,” says Jesse Cyr, bartender at Fog Room in Seattle. “Adding that umami flavor, I feel, helps tie everything together and makes it a more complete drink. In our hotel restaurant, Patagon, we focus on South American cuisine. I love adding mezcal to this bloody mary as that smoky element adds even more complexity to it.”
Bloody Mary Mix
- 46 ounces tomato juice
- 4 ounces lemon juice
- 3 ounces onion juice
- 2 ounces sherry vinegar
- 1 ounce Tapatio
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Mix ingredients together and refrigerate overnight before use to marry flavors. Feel free to lessen the spices for a milder version. Yield 42 ounces.
Bloody Mary Cocktail
- 2 ounces mezcal (we use Los Vecinos)
- 6 ounces bloody mary mix
Roll ingredients back and forth between two large tins with ice until chilled. Pour contents in to pint glass and garnish with a grilled sweet pepper.
Photo: Gary Ombler (Getty Images)