Bloody Marys are a no-brainer when it comes to weekend entertaining. It's so simple: Whip up a batch of Bloody Mary mix the night before; that extra time in the fridge gives the flavors time to properly marry, and it gives you one less thing to worry about on the day of entertaining. Before serving, combine the mix with your alcohol of choice -- vodka is classic, though I prefer tequila (Bloody Maria) -- in a big ice-filled pitcher, and you're good to go. That's it.
For a slight twist on a classic Bloody Mary, add some crumbled bacon to the mix. Just trust me -- try it once and you'll never make Bloody Marys any other way ever again. And for a little more depth and subtle heat, add a few chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Want a little sweetness? Add a touch of sweet barbecue sauce to the mix. The options are almost endless. Go crazy.
I recently visited the set of the Internet radio show "Forkin' Amazing," where I was happy to fix Bacon Bloody Marys. Memorial Day-inspired cocktails and Chicken McNuggets ruled on this episode of the TradioV show, hosted by Jenn Harris and Dominic Riley. (Watch the episode; the Bloody Mary is about 15 minutes into the show. Fair warning: The language on the show is sometimes as spicy as the Bloody Marys.)
On the show, we went crazy with the garnish too. You can always go the traditional route with a stick of celery. But that's so healthy and boring. Try pickled beans or blue-cheese-stuffed olives, or do what we did and throw in a barbecued rib. Always remember to have fun.
But back to that cocktail -- you can find the recipe below.
Bacon Bloody Mary ... With Ribs
6 cups bacon Bloody Mary mix (recipe below)
9 to 12 ounces vodka (or tequila if making Bloody Marias)
Barbecue sauce, for rimming the glasses
Coarse salt, for rimming the glasses
6 barbecued ribs, for garnish (or celery, pickled beans, fried chicken, or all of them; whatever makes you happy)
In a large pitcher, combine the Bloody Mary mix with the vodka, stirring to combine. Rim each of 6 glasses with barbecue sauce and coarse salt and fill halfway with ice. Divide the Bloody Mary mixture among the glasses, and garnish away. Serve immediately.
Bacon Bloody Mary Mix
5 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored and seeded (or 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes)
8 slices bacon, chopped, browned and drained of fat
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
6 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons hot sauce (preferably Tabasco for Bloody Marys, Tapatio for Bloody Marias)
4 to 6 teaspoons grated fresh horseradish
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6 martini olives and 2 tablespoons olive juice
In a blender, puree the tomatoes with the bacon, lemon juice, Worcestershire, chiles, garlic, Tabasco, horseradish, salt, pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper (if using), ginger, olives and juice (this may need to be done in batches). Adjust seasonings and flavorings to taste. Refrigerate until needed; the mix tastes best made 1 day before using. This makes a generous 6 cups Bacon Bloody Mary Mix.
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