Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best Ever Bloody Mary by Lucy Burdette

LUCY BURDETTE: In spite of my part-time status as a Key West resident, I'm not a big drinker these days--I need every one of my brain cells flickering! But sometimes when I'm out (or company's coming), I get the urge for one of my favorite cocktails, a bloody Mary. Some folks think this is only suitable for brunch, but I think it's the perfect pre-dinner cocktail--its tasty trimmings like celery and olives keep me from gobbling appetizers loaded with calories, or roaring through the bread basket.

But here's the key--I always ask the bartender or waiter, how's your bloody Mary

Now here's where your sleuthing skills come in handy.  If they say their version comes from a mix or they otherwise lack enthusiasm, I move on to something that can't be ruined, like a glass of wine or beer.  Bartenders sometimes get creative with the garnishes; the oddest I ever had was a shrimp skewered on a swizzle stick!

One of my favorite recipes comes from Michael's on Margaret Street. My husband and I visited the restaurant earlier this week to research their recipe. (See the lengths to which I will go in the service of this blog?) Tim, the bartender, reported on Chef Michael's ingredients--Sacramento tomato juice, vodka, celery, A-1 sauce, dash of Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, celery, and lemon. Before the drink is mixed, the rim of the glass is dipped in Old Bay Seasoning; at the end they top the cocktail off with olives. (Oh, and he recommended cucumber vodka to give the drink a gazpacho flavor, but I stuck to the house brand.)

My sweet husband John has developed an excellent recipe over the years too. In honor of the holidays and launching ourselves into 2013, we give it to you!

Best Bloody Mary Ever

Tomato juice
1 oz. vodka
1 tsp. horseradish, or more to taste
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
Lemon wedge, or lime or both
celery stick
Olives or pickled green beans or both
Celery salt for the rim

Start by sprinkling the celery salt on a small plate and dipping the rim of the glass into the salt. 

 Fill the glass with ice, add the vodka. Add the tomato juice, followed by horseradish, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and a good squeeze of lemon.  Stir well and garnish with celery, olives, and possibly, pickled green beans. (I happen to be crazy about the Mean Bean pickles from Rick's Pick's.)

And Happy New Year!


Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries including the May 2013 release, TOPPED CHEF (which can be pre-ordered now.) In this third book in the series, food critic Hayley Snow visits Michael's restaurant and enjoys both a bloody Mary and a chocolate lava cake. While you're waiting to read more, please like Lucy on Facebook and follow her on Twitter!  


  1. I like a bloody Mary made with gin. I like all your other ingredients--especially the horseradish. Give it a try with gin. There's great zing to it.

  2. The horseradish does make it! Hmmm, gin, will have to keep an open mind and give that a try:)

  3. It must be just about time to try one today!

  4. Oh, wow, this looks so good! Cheers, Lucy/Roberta! And thank you, John, for one of the best recipes I've seen for a bloody Mary. Joining Patricia with props for the horseradish. Great timing on trying it for New Year, too. May you both have a very happy one!

    ~ Cleo

  5. Sounds wonderful. In fact, it's making me re-think Mimosas for my company. Hmm. I love the Old Bay on the rim of the glass. Why didn't I think of that?

    ~ Krista

  6. thanks everyone--Krista, you're making me think of a bloody Mary bar we saw at a Sunday brunch last year. you could offer a choice of Old Bay or celery salt:). Happy New Year everyone!

  7. Lucy, love it and love the sleuthing at the bar.