Friday, January 01, 2021

A Bloody (Mary) Kind of Year

The inaugural effort
I’m not really a holiday person. Our sole tradition is one we came up with ourselves: The Big Boozy New Year’s Breakfast. Get up and out early for a meal, and there must be cocktails. Your first act of January 1 should be to treat yourself right, establishing the tone for the year ahead.

We couldn’t ring in 2021 by going out for breakfast, obviously, but we weren’t about to abandon our only tradition. So we made adjustments. We laid in a spread for New Year’s Day. Fresh bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon, the works. All that remained were the cocktails. I had to fix a Bloody Mary or two.

Which, astoundingly, I had never done before. My default brunch cocktail—damn near everybody’s, really, although don’t sleep on the possibilities of the Blood and Sand as an eye-opener—and at no point had I even attempted to make one. When I’m in the mood for a Bloody Mary, I’m out and about, and consequently I let the professionals handle it. Not so in 2021.

Chalk up another modification to our tradition. This year, my first act of January 1 was to step just a little bit outside of my comfort zone. May that also help set the tone for the next twelve months.

As for the drink itself, I consulted experts before getting down to work. (In the interests of full disclosure, I did stage a trial run in the waning days of 2020 so I wouldn’t stagger into this project unprepared.) Everyone has their own preferences for the Bloody Mary; I opted for a variation on Jim Meehan’s excellent recipe from his Meehan’s Bartender Manual. I also rolled the cocktail, rather than building it in the glass or shaking it, which dilutes the tomato juice. To roll the drink, you assemble the ingredients in the shaker, which you then turn over twenty or so times.

The verdict? Rosemarie liked hers. I liked mine. And the year is off to a good start.

The Bloody Mary
apologies to Jim Meehan

4 oz. tomato juice
1 ½ oz. vodka
¼ oz. lemon juice
¼ oz. lime juice
¼ oz. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. horseradish
¼ tsp. celery salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. hot sauce

Combine ingredients. Roll in a shaker (see above). Strain over fresh ice into a tall chilled glass. Garnish with a celery stalk.