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TIP OF THE DAY: Tomato Juice Cocktail, a.k.a. Virgin Mary


Start dinner with a tomato juice cocktail,
a.k.a. Virgin Mary. Photo by Marlena
Zagajewski | Dreamstime.

When was the last time you had a glass of tomato juice (that wasn’t a Bloody Mary)?

Earlier this year we wrote about juice “cocktails,” and how the custom of starting lunch or dinner with a glass of tomato juice had disappeared. On restaurant menus, tomato juice would be listed with the appetizers.

A tomato juice cocktail is simply tomato juice seasoned with lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Some cooks would get more creative, adding cumin, dill, onion powder and other seasonings. Some even added chili powder, which, when traded for hot pepper sauce, makes the tomato juice cocktail a Virgin Mary. Some traded lemon juice for lime juice.

Think about reviving the appetizer custom new-style, as a Virgin Mary seasoned just the way you like it. Tomato juice is low-calorie, nutritious and filling; Virgin Marys are one of our favorite diet foods.

The Tomato Juice Brand Makes A Difference

Growing up, our mother, an impeccable palate, served only Sacramento tomato juice. But the juice category has evolved so much since then.


We decided to do a tasting of all the different brands we could find. The differences were stark: the best tomato juice needed no additional seasoning to be delicious; the bottom-ranked juice needed seasonings just to be enjoyable. (See the taste test results.)

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