The problem with Saturday night is Sunday morning. Yes, I'm talking about the hangover. I'm talking about fuzz in your mouth and ringing in your ears. I'm talking about that "did I really say that?" feeling and that "OMFG, I did" reaction. The solution to Sunday morning (or at least those Sunday mornings that start like this) is the perfect Bloody Mary. Photo by cote.
The Cup of Ice Part
First, get a large cup. A silo cup will suffice. Something tall. Give me 12 ounces or give me death.
Second, fill the glass with ice. You don't have to go all the way. 3/4 full is fine. Ice is a good thing. It soothes. It cures dragon breath. Photo by Brooks Elliott.
The Vodka Part
Third, fill your cup one-third of the way full with vodka. Any vodka will do. Allow me to elaborate. Vodka, like any fine liquor, has its connoisseurs. There is a time and a place for Kettle One and Belvedere. This is neither the time nor the place. Your vodka is about to mixed with all kinds of crazy stuff. You wouldn't want to waste the good stuff on a Bloody. Good vodka does not make a good Bloody. That said, there is an art to Bloody Mary vodka. Making homemade peppered vodka starts with Vitamin Water.
The Homemade Peppered Vodka Part
Fill an empty plastic container with Skyy or Monopolawa or any sub-standard imported vodka you can find.
Dump in a handful of whole peppercorns. Then seal the container and stick it in the freezer for two weeks. The vodka will become infused with the peppercorn and the result is an alarmingly drinkable spicy beverage. Alone, this concoction makes for good late night sipping vodka.
Early in the morning, self-peppered vodka simple serves as a reminder that you can spoil your vices. It's never a bad idea to class-up your morning routine. Photo by pgoyette.
The Tomato Part
Now that you've got the vodka, you need the tomato juice. Here I'm strict. Never use Bloody Mary mix. Never. A mix will suffice if your mother-in-law gets too demanding. But only in a pinch. For people you care about, presumably you, never use a mix. Instead walk on down to the supermarket and pick up a can or two of V8. Some people use spicy V8. I think that's fine too. I prefer V8 to regular tomato juice because it has a nicer, more drinkable flavor. As a last resort (if you can't find tomato juice or V8) then open up a can of whole peeled tomatoes and strain it for the juice. You don't need to blend the tomatoes. Chop them up for some salsa later in the day. Photo by xamesm.
Fill the cup nearly full with your tomato juice of choice.
The Tabasco Part
For a 12-oz. cup I'll do about 10-15 shakes of the tabasco bottle. Yes, even with the peppered-vodka. The thing is, peppered vodka gets in you in the back of the throat. It's more subtle and takes a while to have the heat show up. Tabasco, on the other hand, hits you right up front and clears those sinuses on contact. The sign of a good Bloody Mary is how it turns your clammy, hangover sweats into heat sweats on the first sip. We want to clear your pores with this stuff. Sweat is good.
The Black Stuff
Traditionally, you want Worcestershire sauce. Alternatively, soy sauce. I like the former because it's a bit tangier. Soy sauce is good in its own right but adds a little more salt content to the drink if you ask me. Salt ain't all bad though, so I'll leave that one up to you. (Incidentally, this is the step I leave out when I'm making Bloody's for my wife. She hates both.)
The Something to Chew On Part
Add a spoonful of horseradish. Take the creamy horseradish that's in the fridge and put it to use more than once a year. Drop a teaspoon in after the black stuff. Then, mix vigorously. Shake it, if you want, but there's no need to dirty a shaker. Instead, take that horseradish spoon and stir.
The Spices Part
Last, you want to top you drink with spices. I generally top mine with garlic salt and ground pepper. That's it. I don't mix those in usually either. I find that sipping "through" the spices lends a certain weight to the spices you don't get when you just mix them all together. Leave those guys resting on top and you'll see what I mean.
Celery stalk. Great if you have one. (I never do.)
Lime. Big fan of lime in my Mexican beers. Love limes over fish tacos. Lime up some seltzer water, please. Gin and tonic, with lime only. But, please, please, please do not put a lime anywhere near my Bloody. It's a dealbreaker. Photo by flm.
Instead of horseradish, try Dijon mustard. You read that correctly. Dijon is the new hotness. Use a teaspoon or tablespoon since it's a little lighter than horseradish. Dijon has a smoother texture too, but some people aren't mustard people, which I understand completely. Ask before serving. Photo by wordridden.
Spicy pickle, spicy green bean, spicy okra, spicy asparagus. All of these are welcome Bloody Mary garnishes. If it can be pickled chances are it will be fine in your Bloody Mary. Unless it's pickled lime. Yuck.
The Sunday Morning Part
When you've got your drink set, open up the curtains, let a breeze flow through the place. Take your place on the couch, put on some Velvet Underground and let Sunday work its magic. Think about last night, but with a Bloody Mary in hand, don't regret it.
Now, go ahead and share your own variations on the perfect Bloody Mary in the comments.