First created at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, during the roaring ’20s, the bloody mary was meant to be an elegant hair-of-the-dog, pre-lunch drink. It was originally served in a martini glass, shaken not stirred, and made with fresh tomato juice.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll find the now ubiquitous cocktail made with a myriad of just-add-vodka mixes, with varying levels of spice. I prefer my bloody marys made from scratch and simple, with tomato juice, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice, salt and pepper, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce. I like generous additions of lemon and lime, so you can really taste both, but you can halve the amounts if you prefer. Horseradish, Tabasco, flavored salts, and even clam juice are other seasonings to play with.
A bloody mary bar is a fun and festive solution for weekend pre-lunch drinks. When entertaining a crowd, I make pitchers of the seasoned tomato juice, arrange garnishes in bowls, and set out the vodka and hot sauce to add to individual glasses as needed. Then I sit back and let my guests mix their own drinks.
Makes 1 (scale up for a crowd as needed)
- 10 ounces tomato juice
- Juice of 2 limes
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 ounces vodka
- Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Garnishes: cooked shrimp, olives, pickles, salami, celery, jalapeños, etc.
In a martini shaker filled with ice, combine the tomato juice, lemon and lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and vodka. Season with salt and pepper. Shake briefly and pour into a glass, and garnish as desired.