The Quest for a Perfect Bloody Mary {Guest Post}

This is a guest post from my friend, Jeffrey (you may recognize him from his sweet dance moves). He has been a loyal follower of teaspoon since day 1 and has always expressed interest in writing a guest post. One and a half years of brainstorming his potential post topics, he finally found something he is VERY passionate about; the Bloody Mary. I know this because I have been part of more Bloody Mary recipe conversations than I ever knew possible. Thanks, Jeff, for taking us through your Bloody Mary Journey!

Long ago, back in my college days, I mixed together cheap vodka (Popov, in all likelihood) with Albertson’s brand Bloody Mary mix and proceeded to drink myself silly. Unfortunately, after many of these altercations, I was unable to drink Bloody Mary’s for a good 2-3 years because every Bloody Mary reminded me of the disgusting drink I once made in college.

I have come a long way since that time, and I have grown to love a good, no no, a GREAT Bloody Mary once again. Before taking you on my Bloody Mary journey, you should know something about my taste in Bloody Marys. A) I love Spicy and B) I love a good punch to the face from the intensity of the flavors. If that is not your style, I suggest you move on to a different Bloody Mary blog post (although I believe my style is pure and the best).

A brief history of highlights in my life that have shaped by current Bloody Mary beliefs:

  1. In the small town of Bend, Oregon, where my wonderful girlfriend is from, lies a Victorian style cafe (appropriately named “Victorian Cafe”) which first introduced to me the use of Peppered Vodka. This is the Bloody Mary that brought me out of my 3 year Bloody Mary funk– that is how good it is. The spiciness will kick you in the face, but it is equally delicious.
  2. San Francisco based Zeitgeist – famously known for having the best Bloody Mary in SF – again transformed my Bloody Mary beliefs. It taught me that Bloody Mary’s are more than just spice. It is about flavor, and it is about a drink single-handedly bringing you out of hangover mode and putting you directly into “I want to live!!!” mode. I wondered what this yellow liquid the bartender poured into my Bloody Mary was that fateful hungover morning. Was it pee? No, it was not pee. Turns out it was pickle juice… who would have thought????
  3. San Luis Obispo, the home of my alma mater Cal Poly – SLO, is where I first discovered the sauce that would shape my college and adult life – Pepper Plant Hot Sauce: The Original California Style. Yes, it is from Gilroy, but I discovered it while living in SLO. This is the best hot sauce on the planet, and it symbolizes everything I want in life. It is hot, it is jammed full of flavor, and it is good on burgers, pastas, hot dogs, meats, soups, burritos, breakfast burritos, ANYTHING. And as I came to find out, it also is incredible in a Bloody Mary.

And so my journey begins:

I read probably close to 50 articles about the “perfect Bloody Mary”. My first recipe below takes into account many of my findings from these articles, although I have added my own personal flare. Moral of the story: I have done quite a bit of research on this.

Another preface, Bloody Mary’s are about personal preference, so measurements will vary. I have provided the key ingredients that I have used, but the amount of each ingredient is up to you – I go based on “what feels right” when I’m making my Bloody Mary concoction.

Round 1: 

A trip to Cabo a few months ago put me in a Bloody Mary mood, so I stowed away Pepper Plant, Tabasco, Worcestershire, Cayenne Pepper, and Horseradish into my suit case, and attempted a first try of Bloody Mary’s while in Mexican Paradise. This is what I did:

Start with a pint glass completely full of ice.

Add salt and black pepper…

and cayenne pepper.

Add Worcestershire and Tabasco (quite a lot of both, more so the Worcestershire).

Add a HIGH quality Vodka, 1-2 shots (do not error on the low side).

Fill glass up with Clamato until maybe only an inch or so remains.

Add Pepper Plant and Horse Radish (raw, not creamed) (quite a lot of both – DON’T BE AFRAID, both add more flavor than hotness).

Freshly squeeze quite a lot of lemon juice into the glass.

Grab a long spoon and start mixing until everything has been finely mixed together. Add a stick of olives.

The reception to these Bloody Mary’s in Cabo was quite good, although I KNEW I could refine to make them better.

Round 2: 

A lovely trip to Monterey, CA (not long after Cabo) for a friend’s wedding spawned another occasion for a delicious Bloody Mary to start our Saturday morning.

This time, I used my influence of Points 1 and 2 above, and included Crater Lake Peppered Vodka, and fresh pickle juice into my recipe. Only change the following steps:

Add a HIGH quality Vodka AND Crater Lake Peppered Vodka, 1 shot of each (do not error on the low side).

Add fresh pickle juice. 

The result, although still tasty, was too pickle-ly. So we immediately re-tried without pickle juice (we were feeling pretty good at this point), thus the recipe was as follows.

Round 3: Final recipe

Start with a pint glass completely full of ice.

Add salt and pepper and cayenne pepper.

Add Worcestershire and Tabasco (quite a lot of both, more so the Worcestershire)

Add a HIGH quality Vodka AND Crater Lake Peppered Vodka, 1 shot of each (do not error on the low side).

Fill glass up with Clamato until maybe only an inch or so remains.

Add Pepper Plant and Horse Radish (raw, not creamed) (quite a lot of both – DON’T BE AFRAID, both add more flavor than hotness).

Freshly squeeze quite a lot of lemon juice into the glass.

THIS WAS A HOME RUN. These ingredients are everything you could every want in a Bloody Mary. They wake you, they taste INCREDIBLE, they gear you up for a day of recreation, they slap you in the face. They lift you off of your hungover ass. All in one glass – that is awesome!

Is my journey over? No, no my friends. I will always look to perfect my recipe, although I will admit that this recipe is damn good. Please give this recipe a try and let me know your thoughts. I may try Hangar One Chipotle Vodka and report back my findings….

Lovely comments

  1. Diane says

    Looks great. My daughter-in-law puts in approx. a tsp of olive juice and uses lemon pepper along with all of your listed ingredients. Cheers!

  2. Eleanor says

    Really makes me want a bloody mary, thanks! Am a fan of spicy but also float quarter of a shot of really really dry sherry on the top.

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