In deciding what to bring to a brunch party, my first thought was bloody marys. I actually have a thing for bloody marys served with deviled eggs. I love those two things together, but when I mention that to other people, I always get a mixed response. Some people are in complete agreement about what a great combination that is, and the rest aren’t so sure. To play it safe, I instead brought bagels with these bloody marys to a potluck brunch party. This just happens to be my favorite way to make bloody marys, and I’ve been making them this way for about ten years. The original recipe is from Living magazine and it was also shown in a tv segment. The only change I’ve made from the original is that I add one half teaspoon of celery seed to the pitcher with the other seasonings. I also like pressing celery salt onto the rims of the glasses for these cocktails, but I skipped that this time. A celery stick garnish is a must, and I think the more the merrier when it comes to garnishing a bloody mary, so I add a lime wedge and a jalapeno-stuffed olive too.
Since this brunch was a baby shower, I made a pitcher of virgin marys and brought a bottle of vodka to be added to individual servings as desired. For one pitcher, four cups of tomato juice is combined with the juice of two lemons, Worcestershire sauce, prepared horseradish, fresh garlic passed through a press, freshly ground black pepper, pepper sauce like Tabasco or Crystal, and I add celery seed. I prefer to mix everything in a large measuring pitcher, and I whisk the ingredients together to be sure the horseradish and garlic are well mixed into the tomato juice. Then, you can either add vodka to taste before pouring the mixture into a serving pitcher, or leave the vodka bottle next to the pitcher as I did.
I think the secret ingredient here is the lemon juice. It really brightens the tomato flavor which sometimes seems dull on its own. The garlic and horseradish give it fresh, savory punch, and the hot pepper sauce can take it to whatever level of spiciness you prefer. These bloody marys were perfectly fine with onion bagels, but I’m also looking forward to the next occasion when I’ll have them with deviled eggs again. What do you think of that combination?