Garden Fresh Bloody Marys

A couple weekends ago we had brunch with a good friend in Boston. This friend is an excellent cook and hostess, so it is sometimes hard to know what to bring to the table. The solution? Our kit for home-grown Bloody Marys:

Turns out that this is the time of year that the ingredients for Bloody Marys are perfectly in season. Well, vodka is always in season, but tomatoes, celery, and horseradish are ready for harvest at the end of summer and into the fall.

To make our kit, we used a box from a set of mason jars, which still had its handy dividers intact. I suppose a more market-minded farmer would make nice wooden divided boxes, but we were mostly concerned with portability.

Anyway, the compartments are stuffed with a bottle of vodka, four quarts of fresh tomato juice (made by running newly-picked tomatoes through the food mill), a whole bunch of celery, some lemons, a bottle of Worcestershire sauce (from the store, but I have designs on making our own some day), a small jar of freshly prepared horseradish, and an even smaller jar of our homemade sriracha.

Here's how I mix up a Bloody Mary. Be warned that I like them flavorful, so you might want to dial back the spice. Or maybe not--if you substitute store-bought horseradish and tabasco, it might not be as spicy as all that anyway.

1. Start with an Old-fashioned glass. Add ice (I like cubes, because they melt more slowly than crushed ice), a tablespoon of horseradish, and about 1/4 teaspoon of sriracha:

I wouldn't recommend store-bought sriracha for this drink because it has a really distinctive flavor. Our homemade version is very spicy, so it's a good substitute for Tabasco, which is the traditional spice. If we didn't have the sriracha, I'd probably just toss in a little slice of raw jalapeño.

2. Add a shot of vodka, top off with fresh tomato juice, and stir well. Then two dashes of Worcestershire sauce, a squeeze of lemon wedge, a dash of ground pepper, and a pinch of salt:

If you have store-bought tomato juice, you can probably skip the salt. 

3. Give it another stir and garnish with a celery stalk:

I like to keep the leaves on, because they add a lot of aroma to your drinking experience. 

As I've mentioned before, if you're having a hankering for a Bloody Mary in the spring but don't have mature celery yet, you can make a Bloody Mary Magdalene by substituting lovage for the celery.

Bottoms up!


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