It doesn’t need to be brunch time for me to enjoy a delicious and spicy Bloody Mary. So when I heard that Astor Center was having a Create the Perfect Bloody Mary class, I immediately signed up. The class, taught by father-and-son team Jeffery and Jonathan Pogash, featured a whole host of bloody options to try while Jeffery (author of the forthcoming book entitled Bloody Mary, $40) took the class through the history of the iconic brunch drink, which more than one person over the years has claimed to have created. While we listened we sampled a Bloody Mary (vodka-based), a Bloody Maria (tequila-based) and a Bloody Scot (scotch-based).
In order to create the perfect Bloody Mary (which, I found out, is really based on personal preference and doesn’t require horseradish or clam juice), you must first choose your tomato element. Jeffery’s version uses both tomato juice and V-8, which I found to be the perfect combination.
Then, pick your add-ins and spices. Did you know that celery wasn’t even a part of the original Bloody Mary recipe? That garnish was added by The Ambassador Hotel in Chicago in the 1940’s.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a brunch cocktail without your favorite spirit. Step outside the vodka bottle and try tequila, mezcal, pisco or scotch.
It was a free-for-all to find ingredients. A few of the more off-beat options: freshly minced garlic, avocados, blackberries, pickles and mustard.
Concocting a perfect Bloody Mary is fun, especially since you need to keep tasting every step of the way. The best way to make your drink is in large batches of 48 oz or more and let the ingredients marinate in your refrigerator. Of course, if you need to whip one up on a Sunday morning, the cocktail shaker method works as well.
The Best Bloody Mary in the World, courtesy of Jeffrey Pogash
1 24 oz Can V-8 juice
1 24 oz Can tomato juice
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Ketchup
3/4 cup Sweet/Sour Bar Mix
1 tsp Tabasco or 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
Juice of two limes
Vodka, to taste
Mix all ingredients in a 1/2 gallon bottle and shake. Let macerate in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.