Don’t get me wrong. I love bloody mary bars, but I get distracted. Before you know it, I’m wrapping sardines in bacon, stuffing cocktail onions with roasted hatch chiles and there is no room left for tomato juice.
I have decided to simplify. What makes a great bloody mary? First, start with good vodka (obviously). Some options are Goat Artisan Vodka from Peach Street, or Spring 44. Even better, go with a barrel-aged gin- Roundhouse makes a fine example of this style. It’s brown. Don’t be scared. Or, a quality “tequila” will do just fine- Dagave Gold would be a good match with the spice & smoke. Secondly, you need tomato juice- that is pretty easy to find. The next couple of elements are the most important because it will distinguish a good bloody from a great one.
I find that pickles are essential. There is a great pickle company here in Denver called The Real Dill. They make seriously good fucking pickles, from classic to spicy.
For my purposes I am going to use the spicy variety: habenero-dill. What you want to add to your glass is about 1 oz. of the brine plus the spear. It goes a long way to bring some heat and delicious pickle flavor to your morning salad.
The next step is “mud”. I learned this trick in Boston at Legal Sea Foods, and it is fucking genius. Simply mix some shredded horseradish, finely minced garlic, and Worcestershire sauce until you get it to a paste, and dollop as much as you like in your drink. It will keep in the fridge for months.
There you go. Bloody marys simplified. Now go buy a jar of pickles and have one. Or three.