I’m a big fan of the Small Batch column on Food52. Last summer I worked on this homemade tahini for them. So I reached out again to see if there was anything on their bucket list that I could take on. When I got an email reply that contained the words Bloody Mary Mix, I knew it was meant to be.
Like any good drinker, I’ve been known to been a tad particular about my Bloody Marys. That’s not to say snobby. One of the best I’ve ever had was in a super-sized to-go cup on Bourbon Street. On the other hand, one of the worst Bloody Marys I’ve ever consumed was from an organic restaurant that made their own tomato vodka. It was an incredibly anemic looking Mary. It also left me with a weeks worth of horseradish in my teeth, which is where my kale salad usually likes to live.
But I knew I could come up with my own version that satisfied the goldilocks in me. Luckily, I had a week of rain on the vineyard to facilitate my cooking projects, as it was just about the only productive thing I could bring myself to do. When you’re cooped up in a house with your parents for a week, rain can also be incredibly conducive to day drinking alone in the name of work. And when your cocktail is 50 percent vegetables, that means you can drink twice as many. Right, mom?
Stay tuned for my Spicy Basil Bloody Mary Mix write-up on Food52. In the meantime, I’ve come up with a variation for you guys that swaps out cilantro for basil and tequila for vodka. As anyone who’s ever come to one of my parents’ dinner parties knows, my dad likes his tequila. Even if it only takes a thimble full to get him drunk.
The last night of my stay, we had a joint dinner party and for cocktail hour I broke out the spicy tomato juice to make Bloody Marias. You can of course make these with store-bought tomato juice and just add the lime juice, siracha, and a little cilantro for garnish. But if you’re in the mood for a little project, and all the boozy rewards that await you at the end of all your hard work, give this guy (or gal?) a try.
In a food processor or blender, pulse the celery, shallot, and garlic, until finely chopped. Alternatively, you can do this by hand.
Add the celery mixture along with the tomatoes, cilantro, and salt to a large, non-reactive saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook until the tomatoes have begun releasing their juices, about 20 minutes.
Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher, fork, or ladle to break them apart. Cook for another 20 minutes, until very soft and soupy.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or food mill.
Stir in the lime juice and siracha. Taste for seasoning.
Chill in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.
To serve, dust the tops of 4 glasses with a little salt. Add 1/4 cup of tequila, followed by 1 cup of the spicy tomato juice, and stir to combine. Garnish with celery sticks, lemon slivers, and plenty of herbs.