Meet Steve's from-scratch Texas Bloody Mary
Sometimes the work of running a website overshadows the fact that cooking is fun and enjoyable. I know some people who find preparing a large meal for dinner to be therapeutic. Even the simply daily habit of cooking can create a much needed time to relax and spend time with friends and relatives, or even alone to enjoy the sincere pleasure of having created something.
This is the first of a series of Beverage and Bar columns about cocktails and party drinks where we discuss the finer points of mixing cocktails, all to show that taking a little extra time to add the correct touches makes a real difference.
First of all, if your particular county still exercises Prohibition, move on!
A great, flavorful drink to serve is the legendary Bloody Mary, which when served in the Texas Summer heat becomes all the more refreshing. Served with cool tomato juice and vodka, it makes a spicy, flavorful treat. Before we get to our Bloody Mary recipes, let's look at the cocktail's history.
Like many cocktails, the Bloody Mary has an allegedly complicated one. Fernand Petiot, an American bartender at Harry's New York Bar in Paris, first invented the drink in the 1920's. He mixed up equal parts of tomato juice and vodka. He had no idea that his concoction would become world famous when he agreed with the guy in the bar who suggested he call the drink "Bloody Mary." The patron said it reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, and a girl he knew there named Mary.
In 1934, Petiot moved to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, and brought the recipe with him. The hotel managers tried to change the name to Red Snapper, but it didn't stick.
Sophisticated New Yorkers weren't too impressed at first. They said the drink tasted a bit bland, and they asked Petiot to spice it up. At this time Petiot added black pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and a splash of Tabasco pepper sauce.
How to Make a Bloody Mary
For vodka, we use Austin's own Tito's Vodka. True vodka lovers may insist on Absolut or Stoli, or any of the plethora of high-end vodkas for sale now. The debate over the best vodka continues to rage in some circles. Whatever you settle upon, it is easy to serve up darn good Bloody Marys.
A proper Bloody Mary is also served with a stalk of celery inside the glass, and perhaps celery salt around the rim.
Another way to make Bloody Marys is to use a special mix, which is available at any grocery store or liquor store. These are fine, however if you want to really impress your friends and guests make your own bloody mary mix. Included below is the special mix recipe from Reata Restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. This recipe is from Cowboy Cocktails: Boot Scootin' Beverages and Tasty Vittles from the Wild West - which is an excellant book covering the subject of Texas-style bar drinks.
Make sure that you spice the drink to your taste. We like them spicy-flavorful, not necessarily spicy-hot.
Steve's Bloody Mary
- 2 oz. Premium Vodka
- 6 oz. Tomato Juice
- 1 tsp. Black pepper
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Squeeze of lemon
- 1 Dash of Tabasco pepper sauce (if desired)
Mix vodka and cold tomato juice in a glass. Add spices and Worcestershire Sauce. Squeeze slice of lemon, stir, and serve. You can get fancy, and beforehand push the empty glass rim in celery salt.
Makes 1 cocktail.
Reata's Famous Bloody Mary Mix
- 1 quart good-quality tomato juice
- 6 oz. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 T Tabasco sauce
- 1 T red pepper flakes
- 1 T cracked black pepper
- 1 t dried dill, or 2 t chopped fresh dill
- ¼ C grated fresh horseradish
In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend for 1 minute. Use as needed. The mix will last for up to 2 days, covered and refrigerated.
Makes 5 cups.