This Bloody Mary recipe has been sponsored by Finlandia. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Must be 21 to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.
When it comes to food and cooking I have two goals: 1) make delicious food and 2) make meal times an experience beyond just satisfying hunger. It’s what I expect when I eat out, so why not have the same expectation at home? Even when I cook for myself, a little sprinkle of parsley or an extra minute or so to arrange a plate make cooking and eating more fun and memorable.
Embrace your inner creative chef, I say, and make edible art.
And there is one drink that I find inspiring for its potential to be a work of art: The Bloody Mary. At its most basic level, a Bloody Mary is a tomato juice based drink with vodka. In this case, Finlandia premium vodka is like a painter’s high-quality canvas, a blank slate from which so many delicious things can be made. From there, it’s all about the garnish that goes far beyond a simple rib of celery. A Bloody Mary is the poster child for kitchen art. You are only limited by your imagination.
For me, it started with the drink itself and achieving a nice balance of savory, brightness, and freshness, with a little kick at the end. I did a few experiments with a little more horseradish here and bit less lemon there until I ended up with a drink, without any bells and whistles, I’d be happy to serve to any discerning brunch guest. Because as much as the garnish is often the main show – and we’ll get that in just a minute – without a thoughtful base (i.e. the actual drink) the end result is not what it could be. It’d only be half of what it could be, as that’s how these things go.
So, if vodka is the canvas and the ingredients mixed with it with are the primer, the garnish, like the paint swooshes in a Monet painting, serves as the swath of color that brings it all to life. And because we have a thoughtful base our garnish can shine in its stolen spotlight and nestle into the happy memory slots of our guests’ minds.
Because it’s the garnish people tend to remember, I went beyond the stick-celery-in-it-and-call-it-good approach and embraced my love of all things Italian-inspired. I created what’s best described as a mini charcuterie plate on a stick. Tiny balls of mozzarella, salty bites of salami, briny olives stuffed with garlic, and a piece of prosciutto all weaved onto a skewer that rests on the salted rim of the glass. It’s a like a little gift that one eats with their eyes first before taking a bite. Perhaps the lucky recipient will dip it into the cool and savory drink before the first bite? Who knows? Once the drinks are served anything goes.
And so, we have a Bloody Mary recipe to serve at your next brunch. A drink that pulls double-duty as both a centerpiece and conversation starter in the art gallery otherwise known as your kitchen.
Although you can mix and serve this drink right away, I find giving the tomato mix time to chill in the refrigerator deepens the flavor. Making it up to a day in advance, along with the garnish, also makes life easier so when it’s time for brunch all you have to do is add the vodka, salt the glasses, and serve.
For the Drink Mix:
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
- 2 dashes of hot sauce (or more, to taste)
- 1 medium basil leaf, finely chopped
- 4 ounces premium vodka (recommended brand: Finlandia)
- Lemon wedges, (for the glasses)
- Kosher salt (for the glasses)
For the Garnish
- 4 (4-inch) thin wooden skewers
- 4 garlic stuffed olives
- 8 ciliegine mozzarella balls (see note)
- 1 ½ ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 4 ounces hard salami, cubed
- 4 thin ribs of celery, trimmed to fit the height of the glass
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley, trimmed to fit the height of the glass.
- Make the mix: Stir together the first 6 drink mix ingredients in a large (2-cup) measuring cup or similar container until combined. If making ahead, cover the container and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Make the garnishes: Thread one olive, 2 mozzarella balls, a cube of salami, and some prosciutto onto each skewer. If making ahead, place them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Make the drink: Moisten the rim of each glass with a lemon wedge. Salt each rim with kosher salt. Add about ¼ cup of ice cubes to each glass. Pour 1 ounce of vodka over the ice and then top with the tomato mix. Stir to combine.
- To serve: Place the garnish skewer on the rim of each glass. Place one rib of celery and a sprig of parsley in each glass.
Ciliegine mozzarella balls are little balls of cheese that are easy to skewer. Look for them in the deli section of the grocery store near the specialty cheeses. If you can’t find them, you can use a regular-sized ball of mozzarella and cut it into small cubes.
Nutrition estimate is for the drink only and does not include the garnish.
- Calories: 81
- Fat: .2g
- Carbohydrates: 3.6g
- Fiber: 0.3g
- Protein: 0.6g