Because the best things in life are simple

The Best Bloody Marys

Aaah. I love the smell of tomato juice in the morning.
Aaah. I love the smell of tomato juice in the morning.

People knew how to drink 35, 45, 50-years-ago. Case in point: “The Joy of Cooking” cookbook, that bible of English cookbooks, first published in 1931 (my version was published in 1975), recommends that cocktails be made with 60 percent alcohol, “never below half.”

However, I find most of my guests gagging if you put in that much booze. I tend to break that rule by making cocktails with less than 50 percent alcohol, usually filling up the glass about 1/3 of the way with spirits.

And that’s how I made these great Bloody Marys on Easter Sunday. I was inspired to create a pitcher of them after having a good Bloody at the Thirsty Whale in Newburyport, Mass. Theirs featured garnishes of jumbo shrimp, pepperoni, cheese, and an olive. I had some of these ingredients but improvised the rest. And you can too.

The result is a not too spicy garden of high-octane nutrients that is guaranteed to take the edge off even on one of your worst mornings. And because it’s loaded with vegetables, it fits in well with Spring Vegetable Week here at

Ingredients/Shopping List (To make a 10-cup pitcher):

  • Tomato Juice (About 2 quarts)
  • Vodka (About 3 cups; fill up the pitcher 1/3 to 1/2 of the way.)
  • Salt, pepper (to taste)
  • Horseradish (1 tbsp., more or less depending on how spicy you like it.)
  • Tabasco Sauce (About 8 dashes; more or less depending on how hot you like it.)
  • Garlic powder (just a pinch)
  • Worcestershire sauce (4 or 5 drops)
  • Ice cubes (plenty, to cover the bottom of the pitcher in several layers)

For the Garnish:

  • Jumbo shrimp (1 for each glass)
  • Celery stalk, trimmed and washed (1 for each glass)
  • Pepperoni and cheddar cheese, cut into thick blocks
  • Lemon, cut into round slices with a slash to fit on a glass (1 for each glass)
  • String beans (canned are fine; 1 for each glass)
  • Plastic spears to skew the garnish

What I did:

Fill bottom of pitcher with several layers of ice cubes.

Add salt, pepper, horseradish, tabasco sauce, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce. Shake it up.

Add vodka and tomato juice and stir well. Add more ice if needed.

Pour into glasses.Take each plastic spear and skew shrimp, pepperoni, cheese, and string bean and place in glass with a celery stalk. Attach a lemon slice to the rim of glass and serve.

Find more recipes from the Easter dinner menu.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

(Note: If you’d like to print this recipe, click here or on the headline on this post and then use the print button at the bottom of the post. In other words, print from the “permalink” not from the homepage.)