People claim to make “the best” Bloody Mary. I am convinced there are hundreds of decent variations across North America depending on personal and regional tastes. Yes, I count the Caesar (Canadian) and even Chevala (Mexican) aka Redeye. I make a darn good Bloody Mary. I would say “best” but that would be conceited.
My friends have famous Bloody Mary recipes, too. Portland fans look forward to Jody’s horseradish-hot Bloody Mary which she serves annually at her Super Bowl party, while Dallasites drive miles to the Gin Mill to savor Julie’s Bloody Mary cocktail. Each version is different, but share an important quality attribute: no mix is used.
A good Bloody Mary is the result of balancing the sweet acidity of tomato juice, the tang of lemon or lime, salty seasonings, spicy horseradish and hot pepper sauce, the umami of Worcestershire, and may include fresh or pickled vegetable garnishes. Each is created with a unique combination of mostly fresh ingredients and high quality vodka, versions taste tested by friends and family until someone stopped, looked up from their glass and said,
“this is the one.”
This is my Bloody Mary recipe. I don’t follow exact measurements but rather eyeball it.
- Fill 1 pint glass with ice cubes (4-5)
- Add 1-2 shots good vodka *I like Skip Rock, Dry Fly, Clear Creek or Tito’s
- 1 tsp fresh grated horseradish or prepared *not creamed
- 1 tablespoon pepper vinegar or spicy homemade pickle brine (usually have on hand a homemade jar of jalapeno rings, dilly beans, pickled okra, dill pickles, etc)
- 5 splashes Lea and Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce
- 7-9 splashes of Tabasco sauce
- Top with organic tomato juice (365 or Knudsen whatever’s on sale). I’ve also used juice from crushed fresh tomatoes, or leftover juice from canned tomatoes
- squeeze lemon juice from wedge
- celery salt (1-3 shakes to taste) and fresh black pepper to taste
- stir to combine
- garnish with pickled vegetables like beans, peppers, okra or garlic and a celery stalk if “THIS” is lunch
As of last week, I now have two darn good recipes, thanks to Britt’s Pickle brine (spicy). This new concoction is called a Briny Mary. Using Britt’s Spicy Pickle brine, the number of ingredients is reduced from eight to three.
Enjoy a Briny Mary in 3 Steps
1. Fill a highball glass or mug with ice
2. Add the following 3 ingredients, stir and garnish with a lemon slice:
- 3/4 cup organic tomato juice
- 3/4 cup of Britt’s Spicy Pickle Brine
- 1 shot top shelf vodka (I prefer Skip Rock potato vodka)
What’s the Big Deal About Britt’s Pickles?
Last summer, I met Britt Eustis at Puget Sound Food Network’s Seattle Wholesale Market, a weekly pop-up market we created for farmers and wholesale buyers to meet and conduct sales transactions. Britt came as a buyer to scout out local, organic pickling cucumbers at wholesale volumes and prices. I told him about my former life as pickle queen, and that I was still excited about pickles, and actively involved in home canning. Since my book came out in 2003, the nation has embraced a crazy love for pickles resulting in an explosion of independent pickle companies. When I heard about Britt’s plan to enter the pickle category, I secretly wondered how they could compete in an already saturated market. The company, Kansha Natural Foods, produces raw, fermented live cultured food products and sells under the brand “Britt’s Pickles”. Britt’s Spicy Pickles are reminiscent of a Latvian-style pickle that I learned about during my book research in New York.
Fast forward to today. The company has since grown and now sources organic cucumbers from Rents Due Ranch in Snohomish County. They started selling their products this year and have since gained chain wide distribution at PCC Natural Markets. In late August they are opening up a retail store at Pike Place Market exclusively featuring raw fermented live culture foods. PCC will soon carry two new varieties: Ginger & Pepper Pickles and Hot & Sour Pickles, which will be followed sometime this Fall by Seaweed & Wasabi Pickles and Red Wine & Garlic Pickles.