It’s rivalry season and no cocktail will be more hotly contested on game day than the Bloody Mary. Old school proponents believe classic renditions are hallowed ground with exacting proportions of tomato juice, vodka, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. New schoolers herald complex variations employing spice blends and topiaries of vertical garnish.
It’s a battle worth debating since we can all agree: No one loses when there’s something delicious to cheer for. (Or cheer about!)
Old School Bloody Mary
Fernand “Pete” Periot takes credit for inventing the Bloody Mary as we know it at Harry’s American Bar in Paris in 1921. Periot went on to front the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York and made the popular “restorative” using this recipe.
2 oz. vodka
2 oz. thick tomato juice
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
2-4 dashes of salt
2 dashes of fresh ground pepper
2 dashes of cayenne pepper
3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, 2 dashes of black pepper, 2 dashes of cayenne pepper, and a layer of Worcestershire sauce. Add a dash of lemon juice and some cracked ice. Add 2 ounces of vodka and 2 ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour.
The celery stick became the ubiquitous Bloody Mary garnish around 1960 when it is believed to have replaced the swizzle stick.
New School Bloody Mary
Many a gourmand mix can be purchased to pour a stellar Bloody Mary, but nothing beats one made from scratch. The classic cocktail is updated with the addition of briny aromatics resulting in a complex palate.
Mix (makes 6 ounces)
½ c. tomato juice
½ tsp prepared horseradish
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
Splash of high-quality balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp Sriracha, or more to taste
½ small lime, squeezed
½ small lemon, squeezed
¼ tsp celery salt, or more to taste
To make mix:
Shake until incorporated. Add 1 tablespoon of vodka as a stabilizer and place in a glass jar in the refrigerator. It will last up to a week.
To make pickle juice ice cubes:
Pour Fire and Ice pickle liquid into a square ice cube tray and freeze for at least 10 hours.
Add 2 ounces of vodka in a tall glass with 6 ounces of mix. Stir well and pour into a fresh glass filled halfway with fire and ice pickle cubes.
Garnish with a skewer of pickled okra, cherry tomato and a garlic stuffed olive. Add a baton of well-cooked brown sugar bacon.