Like cilantro, George W. Bush, and Oxford commas, Bloody Marys are polarizing—you either love them or hate them. I love them.
And I love this recipe, which was brought to my family by my grandparents many years ago from friends of theirs in Swainsboro. These Bloody Marys are perfect at tailgates, brunches, and, in my family, as a precursor to Thanksgiving dinner. As guests are arriving and the rolls and sweet potato soufflé are warming in the oven, a few cheese straws and a Bloody Mary are just about the perfect thing to get folks mingling before the meal. (At least that’s how it happened when I hosted Thanksgiving last month.)
You can get fancy with the garnishes if you’d like; I stuck to celery stalks, but I love restaurants that serve their Bloody Marys in a glass rimmed with seasoned salt and garnished with a green olive and a spear of pickled okra. One note: these Bloody Marys are best when you mix them up a day ahead of time, and they’ll keep for over a week in the refrigerator (but I doubt you’ll have much left over!).
recipe created by an old friend (whose name I have forgotten) of Ralph and Mary Helen Smith. Makes just over a gallon; can be halved (I made half a batch).
1 quart vodka (that’s four cups for all of y’all who don’t know your measurements)
2 large (46-oz) cans V8 juice
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
7 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. Tabasco (I added more, just ’cause)
garnishes (celery, olives, pickled okra, lemon or lime wedge…I’ve seen asparagus spears and green beans, too)
Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least 12 hours. Serve over ice.
Because it doesn’t seem entirely appropriate to serve Bloody Marys at Christmas (in our family, Christmas Eve is a champagne affair), I suggest making these ahead of time to enjoy on New Year’s Day…perfect as a hair of the dog to sip on while watching bowl games.
Here are a few snapshots from the last month: