Recipe: Bloody Mary

I love Bloody Marys. Like, love them. As in, if it’s prior to noon on a weekend, I happen to be awake, and you spot me without one of these close by, contact the authorities at once, and make haste about it – something has gone terribly awry.

Being a lobbyist in Washington, DC involves attending many post-work receptions, fund raisers, dinners, and PAC events, which almost always consist of an open bar, or seven. Unfortunately, all of this “work” can lead to some very rough mornings. Fortunately, a properly crafted Bloody Mary can not only provide that much needed “hair of the dog,” it can also give you that spicy kick to jump start your morning.

At this point, an important public service must be made: all events past 4:00pm should have either an open bar or alcohol for purchase. If you don’t drink, great, but others do and past 4pm they should have that option. If not, you’re either cheap, or a dick. Either way, you’ll be remembered.

Now, if you’re not suffering from the 9am weekday shakes, a Saturday or Sunday “Bloody Mary Party” is a great way to pre-game before a sporting event, steeple chase, polo match, or cock-fight. Just make sure you have all of the necessary ingredients. It is never appropriate to be out of a staple ingredient, such as horseradish (or ice for that matter), or to serve bottom shelf Vodka. There are plenty of quality vodkas available that won’t wreak havoc on your central nervous system. However, if someone says, “I only drink DIVA Premium Vodka (Google if unsure of the reference), where’s yours?” is it completely appropriate to ignore them for 37 years and set fire to their favorite pet.

Now, the history of the Bloody Mary is pretty incomplete. A man by the name of Fernand Petiot claimed that he invented the cocktail in the 1920s while working at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France, a frequent hangout for Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriates. According to the Frenchman, the first two customers for whom he made the drink “were from Chicago, and they say there is a bar there named the Bucket of Blood. And there is a waitress there everybody calls Bloody Mary. One of the boys said that the drink reminds him of Bloody Mary, and the name stuck.” Post a move to the States, legend states Petiot first added salt, lemon, and hot sauce sauce — now considered essential ingredients — to the Bloody Mary in order to satisfy requests from American customers for a spicier drink (because everyone knows American’s can handle their spice, sorry Frenchie).

A second claim states comedian George Jessel, who frequented the 21 Club invented the drink. In 1939, Lucius Beebe printed in his gossip column This New York one of the earliest U.S. references to this drink, along with the original recipe: “George Jessel’s newest pick-me-up which is receiving attention from the town’s paragraphers is called a Bloody Mary: half tomato juice, half vodka.”

Apologies to those on “Team George,” but tomato juice and vodka is hardly a Bloody Mary.

When crafting your drink, regardless of who the hell invented it, it is important to note that one should never use store bought Bloody Mary mix. “But why? I love Uncle Jimmy’s Backyard Salty Tomato Juice and it’s only three cents and a piece of string!” is the typical response I receive. For starters, assuming you were over-served the prior evening, the last thing you want to do is to flood your system with an overly processed liquid sodium mixture. One serving of the average Bloody Mary mix offers about 40 to 70 calories, with 1 gram of fat, 9-13 grams of carbohydrates, 4-7 grams of sugar, and around 1500 grams of sodium. Even if your body is not currently in a state of decay, you deserve better, and you can do better with minimal effort.

the perfect bloody mary

And here’s what you’ll need to make this Hungry Lobbyist’s perfect Bloody Mary:

  • Clamato Juice (tomato juice with clam juice – trust me on this one)
  • Vodka (I prefer Kettle One for my bloodies)
  • Horseradish
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco
  • Celery Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Old Bay
  • Lemon juice (fresh, please)
  • Garnishes: olive, shrimp, celery stalk (or pickled green beans)

To prepare, start with one 12oz glass, wet the edge, and coat with Old Bay.

Next, add 8oz of Clamato Juice, a heaping teaspoon of Horseradish, 3-4 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, 5 dashes of Tabasco, a shake of celery salt, and a few rotations of the black pepper grinder. Stir until the horseradish is dissolved.

Then add 2-4 ounces of Vodka, depending on how many dead hookers you had to clean up this morning, and shake with ice. No one likes a warm Bloody Mary.

Finish by tossing in a green olive, jam a celery stick/pickled green bean to the bottom of the glass, and garnish with a cooked, cold shrimp (pealed, tail-on).

Now you can sit back and enjoy your cock-fight or other sporting match of choice like an adult. Just remember to put pants on before leaving the house and always enjoy responsibility.