Thursday, December 1, 2011
Spicy Tomato Juice and a Great Bloody Mary
By Nancy Brabbit-Davis
I’ve got a real problem with people who drink alcohol and then go hunting or shooting. It’s stupid, an invitation to disaster, and I don’t do it, or tolerate anyone around me who does. Alcohol and firearms do not mix, period.
However, I understand how many people enjoy a drink after the guns have been cased, or other times when it’s appropriate. I like bloody Marys, but ordering a bloody Mary is like ordering chili, you never know what you are going to get.
Years ago a friend wrangled the secret recipe for the best bloody Mary mix I’ve ever found from a restaurant where she worked. It took a lot of work to convert the formula for making 64 gallons of the stuff to a quantity suitable for a small group. At the risk of dating myself – this was before calculators.
My Dad and I painstakingly cut the mix down from 64 gallons to 32, to 16, to 8, to 4, and finally 2 gallons – an amount that we felt was a reasonable batch. It has been modified and improved over the years. We get the base ingredients in plastic jugs, mix it up and then just put it back in the original containers for dispensing.
Properly refrigerated it will easily keep for a week or more, and with us most of it is consumed without any alcohol, just as a spicy drink anytime.
If you’re serving friends or family, use your imagination with the garnish. The standard celery stalk or kosher pickle spear are fine, but you’ll get a lot of smiles when your guests see their drink with garlic or blue cheese stuffed olives, pickled onions, asparagus, green beans or okra, or my favorite, a skewer of cooked shrimp or crawdad tails. We’ve recently discovered that a strip of beef jerky, a slim sausage stick, or skinny string cheese also make great garnishes.
There are a huge number of variations, so try it out, make some adjustments, and come up with your own favorite mix.
Northwoods Bloody Mary Mix
1 bottle (32-ounce) Clamato Tomato Cocktail Juice
1 bottle (64-ounce) Tomato juice
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons Celery salt
2 tablespoons Black pepper
1/2 cup Lemon juice
1/2 cup Horseradish