Recipe: Bloody Marys by the Gallon

Published on: February 6th, 2020

Day drinking occasions, like Mardi Gras parades and music festivals, seem to call for bloody marys. For your next such event, forgo the manufactured bloody mary mix and express yourself! There's a a lot of room for culinary inspiration in bloody mary recipes. For your main veggie juice base, you could juice-your-own or choose between tomato juice, V8, Clamato, etc., perhaps in some combination; the active ingredient could be traditional vodka or (surprisingly sassy) gin; for heat sources, there's horseradish, all manner of hot sauces, a pinch of cayenne or Tony's; for citrusy infusions, lemon or lime. You're making it, so make it taste good.

And then there's the strange, fantastical world of bloody mary garnishes. At some local venues, they're like brunch stacked up on skewers, hovering above your drink. Some of more "out there" garnishes: fried softshell crabs, pizzas, sliders, mini tacos, bacon-wrapped scallops, etc.

Here, since we're making a big batch for a large group, it's better to go with simple garnishes: pickled okra pods, spicy pickled green beans, pepperocini, green olives, lime wedges, and celery stalks are all good choices.

Be sure to heed the advice below on "tasting as you go" when adding the hot ingredients and salty ingredients. Everything else is pretty straightforward.

3 quarts of tomato juice, V8, clamato, or a mixture.
Juice of 2 lemons (or subst 2 limes)
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons of horseradish, prepared or fresh-grated
1-2 teaspoons Tabasco or favorite hot sauce, plus more as needed

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon celery salt
More kosher salt, to taste

1 fifth of vodka. Or gin. Make a stronger batch by using a liter, and a few ounces less of vegetable juice.

Ingredients prepared for the simple garnish of your choice; see above.

In a gallon jug, mix the vegetable juices, lemon juice and black pepper, then and 1 tablespoon horseradish and 1 teaspoon hot sauce. Mix thoroughly and taste for heat level. If you like, add more horseradish and/or hot sauce to get a heat level you want.

Add 1 tablespoon each of Worcestershire and soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of celery salt. Mix thoroughly and taste for saltiness.  Depending on what kinds of vegetable juice you used, you may need more or less salt. Add up to a second tablespoon of each ingredient, until you get the level of salt you want. If you think it needs even more, add some kosher salt.

Remember that we'll be adding a fifth of alcohol to our gallon jug, which will have two effects: 1) it will dilute the saltiness and heat; and 2) alcohol can dull the sense of taste. Both of which mean you should err on the side of just a little too salty/hot at this stage.

Add the bottle of the vodka (or gin), mix thoroughly, then chill until it's nice and cold. Then you're ready to garnish & serve, over ice if you've got it.


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For a more traditional carnival libation, you might like:

Bill Deturk's King Cake Cocktail



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