A little treat for you today, our loyal readers, because we're about to give away a real trade secret: our formula for the perfect Bloody Mary. There's nothing too weird here, nothing too unusual. Just a damn good Bloody mix for whenever you need it most.
A few cardinal rules here: This must be made the night before you plan to drink it, so it can sit overnight. Otherwise, the flavors just don't come together. And while it looks like a long ingredient list, odds are half of them are in your fridge or spice cabinet already.
The good news? Once the mix is made, it'll last a while in the fridge and pretty much forever in the freezer, so making a Bloody is as easy as adding vodka and celery.
Now, the recipe: In a quart-sized container, pour 23 ounces of tomato juice—the canned kind is just fine here. Add 6 tablespoons of jarred grated horseradish, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 6 big dashes of Tabasco, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon celery salt, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1 ounce fresh lemon juice, 1 ounce olive brine (just the liquid from whatever green olive jar you have on hand), plus 1 full teaspoon of coarse-ground black pepper.
Stir that all up, let sit overnight and in the morning, get mixing with one of these three recipes.
Easy: The Classic
Plenty of drinks benefit from a spirit a little more, well, interesting than vodka. But it slides so nicely into a Bloody Mary, sometimes there's just no need to switch it up.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, stir together 4 ounces Bloody mix and 1 1/2 ounces vodka. Garnish with a celery stalk, lemon slice and a few olives.
Intermediate: Rye Bloody
The bacon-in-cocktails trend of a few years ago is, we think, pretty played out. But when it comes to a brunch drink like the Bloody—an already savory cocktail designed to go with bacon and eggswe’ll make an exception. It's a great match for the Knob Creek Rye we're using in here, too. A chile-salt rim is the perfect addition.
Instructions: For the spicy rim: Mix together 4 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons chile powder. Spread it out in a thin layer on a plate. Dip the rim of a tall glass in water and carefully roll around the chile-salt until the rim is even all the way around.
Add ice to the glass along with 4 ounces Bloody mix and 1 ounce rye (we're using Knob Creek's 100-proof small-batch rye). Garnish with a celery stalk and a strip of bacon. Because you know you want to.
Advance: Maria Sangrienta
Tequila and its smokier cousin, mezcal, are both perfect for Bloodies. And if you want to get really fancy, there's no better accompaniment to mezcal than sal de gusano—the worm salt (yes, really) that's the traditional sidekick to the spirit. Here, we're rimming the glass with it. Normal salt works here, too, for those of you who aren't cocktail-nerdy enough to have any worm salt on hand.
Instructions: On a plate, spread out sal de gusano (or regular salt) in a thin layer. Dip the rim of a tall glass in water and carefully roll around the salt until the rim is even all the way around.
Add ice to the glass along with 4 ounces Bloody mix and 1 1/2 ounces mezcal (we like Fidencio Mezcal). Garnish with a celery stalk and a pickled jalapeño.