Wednesday, May 18, 2011
What do you like to drink during happy hour? Are you the kind who camps out at the cantina, downing margaritas and mojitos all evening? Or do you fancy yourself a bit more sophisticated, opting for a sidecar or a Manhattan? Despite the myriad options for happy hour cocktails, I think there's one thing we can all agree on: happy hour is absolutely, positively necessary. There's nothing quite like settling down with a nice stiff drink come 5 o'clock on a Friday evening after a long week (err, more relaxing week in my case).
Bloody Marys are one of my favorite cocktails for a few reasons.
1. They're very, very delicious (if they're done right).
2. They are healthy. Sort of. It's like spicy gazpacho with vodka.
3. You can drink them first thing in the morning if you like.
4. So many drinks quickly become too sweet. Bloody Marys are not sweet at all, it's savory's answer to sweet's monopoly over alcohol.
5. They're, like, the best drink ever for garnishes. You can add whatever you want! Celery, asparagus, olives, you name it.
I was very surprised when I tried my very first Bloody Mary and loved it. Because I do NOT like vodka. I also generally do not like tomato juice. But some how, in a magical twist of fate, when vodka and tomato juice join together, they taste completely incredible. Stir in some spices and you've got a perfectly lovely concoction.
I love this recipe from Ina Garten. I really like that this creates a thick Bloody Mary -- this is no watery Bloody Mary mix we're talking about here. I also love the huge punch of flavor from the celery salt, lemon, and Tabasco. And, although you may chuckle, I also really like that this is a veggie packed drink. Pureed celery and onions give these Bloody Marys great flavor and texture but also provide a kind of nutritious punch.
I just barely changed Ina's recipe. I omitted the horseradish because my mom doesn't like it, and I replaced the lost heat with about double the Tabasco sauce. I served these on Mother's Day morning, but they were even better the following Friday with blue cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped dates as appetizers (dates not pictured, they were gone too fast). Just add the vodka as you serve them and the mix will keep in the fridge for about a week. If you're a Bloody Mary fan, or would like to become one, give this drink a try. As for the rest of you, at least be sure and enjoy happy hour in style. Cheers!