Learning to love a Bloody Mary has been a ten-year journey for me. To be honest, I wanted to love a Bloody Mary because it meant I could drink vodka in the morning without being construed as a complete alcoholic. And Bloody Marys just look fun. You’ve got that long stalk of celery that appears to have wild hair swimming in a pool of booze and tomatoes, and the toothpicks sporting olives and tomatoes that make you wonder if you’re looking at a cocktail or a snack. But I think what I love most about the Bloody Mary is the social engagements you can trick people into just by offering them up. Feeling lonely on a Saturday morning? Just tell your friends you are making a pitcher of Bloodys and you’ll have a crowd by noon.
The problem with me and a Bloody Mary has always been the tomato juice. And that is a deal breaker—no tomato juice, no Bloody Mary, no mid-morning vodka. For years I tried over and over again, begging my taste buds to love the tomato juice, but each time I failed. That is, until about a month ago, when I met a Blood Mary I loved thanks to my longtime friend Jeremy.
Jeremy’s recipe comes from his father, Bob, who was known for throwing the most fantastic 4th of July parties at his vacation home in Ogunquit, Maine. It turns out the reason I love Bob’s Bloody Mary is because the base is Clamato juice, which is tomato juice mixed with spices and clam broth. Now hear me out: Clamato may not sound appetizing, but there is nothing overly clammy about this cocktail. The harsh acidity of the tomato is simply replaced by a refreshing hint of brine.
Below is my take on the recipe. Jeremy left some room for interpretation, and I may have gone too heavy on the horseradish for some. So tweak this recipe to your liking. You will notice I don’t list vodka in the recipe. I found it easier to create the mix, put it in a pitcher, and leave the desired amount of vodka up to the consumer. For my own cocktail, I like to measure one shot of vodka, top it with the Bloody Mary Mix, stir, and garnish with celery and radishes.
Bob’s Bloody Mary
Serves 6-8 people
2 32 oz bottles of Clamato juice
1 tbs celery salt
3 tbs of worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbs horseradish
Pepper and Tabasco to taste