New Year’s Day Bloody Mary

Sorry for my recent, uncharacteristic absence from the blog. I’ve been submersed in friends, family, festivities and food for my past two weeks in Texas. My time here has been warm, sunny, and filled with horseback rides, celebratory meals, cocktails, long walks on the ranch, shopping with dollars and endless parties.

One of the most memorable celebrations was the fabulous New Year’s Day brunch that was held by some friends of my parents on a nearby ranch. We dragged ourselves there (directly from bed the morning after our late night New Year’s Eve celebrations) and were greeted with lox and bagels, a spinach and egg strata, freshly baked cheese bread, black-eyed peas (a Southern tradition dictates that black-eyed-peas bring good luck if eaten on the first of the year), and of course, Bloody Marys.

The Bloody Mary is famous for curing hangovers, and therefore a traditional brunch cocktail. While I’m not sure it actually helps a hangover (vodka and tomato juice are usually the last things I want so see if I’m suffering from over-drinking), it is a fun and flavorful drink that is perfect for sharing with friends on cold days… and depending how strong you make them (and how many you drink) they’ll certainly help you FORGET about your hangover!

I was charged with bringing the bloody mary makings to this particular brunch so I used a little trick I learned from a bar in Austin to give the drink and extra kick of flavor: I infused the vodka the night before with hot peppers, onion, celery and other bloody-mary seasonings. This gave the finished cocktails an extra spicy zing that was much appreciated by the crowd. And after a couple of these puppies, I guarantee that no-one was talking about their hangovers anymore!

Infused Vodka:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut in large chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 1 carrot, cut in large chunks
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled whole
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 hot pepper (jalapeno), sliced

Add all the vegetables to a jar and fill with vodka. Close tightly and allow to sit overnight, shaking vigorously occasionally.

Bloody Mary (as taught by the New York School of Bartending):

  • 1 oz. to 1½ oz. (30-45 ml) infused vodka in a highball glass filled with ice.
  • tomato juice to fill the rest of the glass
  • 1 dash celery salt (or salt mixed with finely diced celery leaves)
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. horseradish (pure, never creamed)
  • Dash of lemon or lime juice
  • Garnish with celery stalk.

May be shaken vigorously or stirred lazily, as desired. Garnish with a celery stalk; a skewer of olives, pickles, carrots, mushrooms, or other vegetables.

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