Sundays usually bring to mind family time, relaxation, and tradition. For me, no matter where I am, Sunday mornings remind me of my oldest brother. He’s a bachelor living in this great two bedroom house that he fixed up with the best wooden floors and this fabulous front porch meant for drinking coffee and working on crossword puzzles, which is exactly what he does on Sunday mornings until the coffee pot runs dry. When the coffee pot is empty he announces that it is Bloody Mary time. It isn’t just any Bloody Mary. No. It is my brother’s Bloody Mary. It is an event. It is a meal to be savored and enjoyed.
The Bloody Mary had never been among my favorite drinks or even top twenty or hundred for that matter, until I tried one that my brother made. I liked tomato juice. I liked V8 juice. I like vodka. I like spicy. So I couldn’t figure out how combining all of those things never worked out in a drink. It didn’t make sense to me. This was a drink I tried over and over again, because I really wanted to like it. It seemed pretty basic with a shot of vodka, some pepper, Tabasco, celery salt and Bloody Mary mix. Basic was all wrong. Sometimes basic is just getting by. Just getting by is rarely ever fun.
The recipe I am sharing today is a blend of a vodka infusion I learned, my brother’s recipe, and some tweaks I added along the way.
Bloody Mary Vodka Infusion
For the vodka infusion you will need a jar with lid large enough to hold the contents of the following:
1 Bottle of Tito’s Vodka (or vodka of your choice)
1 Fresh Red Bell Pepper (seeded and sliced)
1 Fresh Jalapeño Pepper (seeded and sliced)
Whole Peeled Garlic Cloves (approximately 5 per liter of vodka)
Whole Black Peppercorns (1-2 per liter of vodka)
Funnel and cheesecloth for later use
Combine all of the above ingredients in a jar. Seal and place in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours. Ingredients may be left longer if desired, but this is not necessary. I recommend keeping the original liquor bottle for returning the infused vodka to later. After 48 hours, remove the infusion from the refrigerator. Double up cheesecloth over the funnel and place funnel inside the Tito’s vodka bottle. Strain infusion into the original bottle, throwing out the peppers, garlic and such. Place infused vodka in the refrigerator or freezer for storage. Do not keep infused vodka at room temperature as it may mold.
Bloody Mary Recipe
2 oz Tito’s Bloody Mary Infused Vodka
½ Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
6-8 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
4-6 Dashes Tabasco Sauce
2-3 Dashes Peychaud's Bitters
3 Dashes Celery Salt
2 Dashes White Pepper
2 Dashes Garlic Powder
2 Dashes Onion Powder
Coarse salt for rimming
Begin with a large Collins glass. Slide half of the fresh lime around the rim of the Collins glass. Dip the limed rim into a saucer of coarse salt. Fill the glass 2/3 with ice. Season the ice with the peppers, salts and powders first, the Worcestershire,Tabasco and Peychaud's next, and then the squeeze of lime. Shake the bottle of infused vodka before using as it has a tendency to settle at the bottom. Lastly, top off your drink with Clamato juice. Clamato is thinner in consistency than either tomato or V8, making for a smoother textured drink.
Garnishing is the key and there is so much more than the mere celery stick. I like to use a skewer of queen sized jalapeño stuffed olives in addition to the celery stick to stir with. A pickle spear does quite nicely as well. A few cocktail shrimps speared and dunked go rather nicely with this drink. Go wild! As I said, the Bloody Mary is not just a drink. It is an event, a meal even. If you can find a spicy course salt for the rim garnish that would give this drink extra punch as well.
Tito’s is a handmade vodka crafted in an old fashioned pot still by Texas’ first and oldest distillery. It is distilled six times, making for an incredibly clean finish. If you would like more information about Tito’s vodka go to www.titos-vodka.com