My Favorite Summer Cocktail: Not-Your-Grandmother’s Bloody Mary

It feels like summer is officially here! It’s the perfect time for camping and an ice cold Bloody Mary. This past Memorial Day weekend, I went camping with my boyfriend and a group of friends. In the morning, we would prepare a feast of oatmeal, brown beans, coffee, and ice cold Bloody Marys. We carefully mixed, measured, and poured the delicious red concoction in an attempt to hit all the right flavor notes: sweet, salty, sour and savory. Although this classic cocktail seems simple, it can be extremely complex to prepare because it uses a wide variety of different ingredients in a number of ways. Once mixed, this beverage should be served immediately over ice. This helps keep the acids stable and prevents the drinker from fainting in the record-breaking heat.

Some examples of garnishes one might use.

Some examples of garnishes one might use.

The key to a great Bloody Mary rests more in the mixers and garnishes than in the quality of the liquor. Traditional recipes date back to the 1920s. Starting with the most well-known Bloody Mary ingredients, tomato juice and vodka, then adding Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt & pepper, and lemon or lime juice. Over the years, unique Bloody Mary recipes have been created by adding numerous other ingredients, such as olive brine, pickles, celery salt, Sriracha, horseradish, brown sugar, clam juice, tequila or gin, and much more. The garnish of a Bloody Mary is just as important. A classic garnish is usually a lemon wedge and celery stick. However, modern Bloody Marys are often given extra flair with garnishes like pickle spears, bacon strips, long skewers of olives, cheese cubes, fruit, steak tips, shrimp, and even mini sliders. The art of making the perfect Bloody Mary has no rules and really comes down to a matter of personal taste.

My favorite version of the Bloody Mary starts with the basics: vodka, tomato juice, salt & pepper, Worcestershire Sauce, and freshly squeezed lemons. I add my own flare with a splash of Sriracha, a healthy dosing of horseradish, a dill pickle spear, and the perfect garnish, a skewer of cocktail shrimp.

The Monadnock Region offers a variety of venues where you can experience different and delicious versions of this refreshing cocktail. Some of the places I have frequented include:

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