Last week, Williams-Sonoma emailed to ask if I would post a Bloody Mary recipe on my blog. Those of you who read my Mango Raspberry Kombucha Mocktail post will know I don’t drink very often, but I was beyond flattered that one of my favourite kitchen stores reached out to me. Of course I was going to share a recipe for a Bloody Mary! I’ll be honest: up until today, I had never tried a Bloody Mary, and had no idea what the cocktail was supposed to taste like. I browsed through the Internet and consulted friends who are huge fans of the drink, and although preferences varied regarding how thick, spicy, or classic a Bloody Mary should be, I got a general idea of what the drink was supposed to taste like. My boyfriend’s mama described it as “spicy. Like peppery and salty and celery-ish. And a little Tabasco-ish.” Tasked with making the perfect Bloody Mary, I set off to the farmer’s market at Toronto’s famed St. Lawrence Market and bought the nicest, ripest heirloom tomatoes I could get my hands on. What I love about farmer’s markets is being able to talk to the people who dedicate their time to growing the food you are about to eat. There is a joy that comes with purchasing food that was lovingly and painstakingly grown, and didn’t have to travel very far to reach you.
Since I had never tasted or made a Bloody Mary before, I decided to adapt a recipe so as to have the right ratios, and changed only the method recommended. Bon Appétit Magazine claims that their recipe is one for the best Bloody Mary, but I’m going to say with confidence that my updated version of their recipe is just a teensy bit better. Rather than bringing the tomatoes and the other ingredients to a boil, I decided to roast the tomatoes, carrots, and garlic in the oven for an hour with some salt and pepper to bring out the flavours of my gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. I don’t have a juicer, but my cousin Sam generously lent me her Vitamix. I’m not a huge fan of store-bought anything if it can be made at home, and I wasn’t going to use store-prepared Bloody Mary mixture- go fresh or go home! You can find a great selection of blenders and juicers in store or online at Williams-Sonoma, including the Vitamix I used.
After roasting and allowing the tomatoes and carrots to cool slightly, I blended the vegetables with the roast garlic cloves. I then simmered the mixture with the other ingredients for another 30 to 45 minutes. Since the popular vote among my friends was for a thin Bloody Mary, I strained the tomato mixture through a mesh strainer afterwards to get rid of the pulp. I then refrigerated the mix for six hours to allow all the flavours to intensify. If you don’t have a huge affinity for alcoholic beverages, feel free to skip on the vodka for a virgin Bloody Mary. It’s just as good!
Although my garnish was a simple stalk of celery and lemon wedge, feel free to go all out. My boyfriend suggested adding pancetta, and I have a feeling that using crispy pancetta or bacon as a swizzle stick would be delicious if you aren’t vegetarian like me. He also suggested adding basil to the tomato mixture and placing a mozzarella wedge on the side of the glass. On his recommendation, I added some aged balsamic vinegar for a tiny kick of sweetness. Other awesome variations on the Bloody Mary I found include an Asian inspired Bloody Mary made with wasabi and sriracha, a Blackberry infused Bloody Mary, or simply using jalapenos to spice things up. Horseradish is a part of the classic Bloody Mary, however, I could not find any and as a result left it out.
The Best Bloody Mary, Ever
*yields 12 servings
1 1/2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
2 small-medium heirloom carrots
2 large garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar (Please don’t use the watery salad dressing most people have come to know as balsamic vinegar. Use the good stuff!)
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon tabasco
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seeds
3 cups vodka
12 lemon wedges
12 celery stalks
sea salt for the rim
coconut oil, for roasting.
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line your baking tray with foil, and grease with coconut oil.
2. Place the tomatoes and the garlic on the baking tray. Season with sea salt and pepper, and roast for an hour, flipping occasionally. Once the tomatoes are blistering and soft, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for ten minutes.
3. Once the tomatoes have cooled, blend the tomatoes, carrots, and garlic in a food processor or blender.
4. Pour the tomato mixture into a pot, and add six cups of water. Add the chopped fennel bulb, the bay leaves, and the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil, before reducing the heat to medium.
5. Simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes.
6. Remove from the heat, and pour the mixture through a strainer into a large pitcher or container. If the mixture measures to less than eight cups, add enough water until it measures eight cups. Allow the mixture to cool for ten minutes.
7. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, add the sea salt and lemon juice.
8. Refrigerate the mixture for at least six hours or overnight.
9. Once the mixture has completely chilled, add the celery seeds, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and vodka.
10. Wet the rim of each glass with a lemon wedge. Fill a bowl with sea salt, and dip and turn the glass to rim it with sea salt.
11. Garnish each glass with a celery stalk or with your garnish of choice.
Sip and enjoy!
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,