Who can resist a BLT Bloody Mary, garnished with lettuce, tomato and a crisp bacon strip? This one is from Morton’s Grille.
If Dad’s drink is a Bloody Mary, try something exciting for Father’s Day. You can use different spirits and mixes, but the easiest way to wow everyone is with a Bloody Mary cart or table, that lets each guest customize the garnishes. You need a bartender, but with everything set up, a college student can be a cost-effective solution.
Vodka is traditional, but these days Bloody Marys are being crafted with spicy vodkas, botanical-forward gins, whiskey, tequila and even aquavit. Sochu, a neutral grain spirt like vodka, has half the proof of American spirits and is a great solution to keep the crowd sober, longer.
BLOODY MARY MIX
Everybody has a Bloody Mary mix solution, but could yours be better? For prepared mixes, we like Demetri’s and Master Of Mixes, Freshies, Mixerz and a few others. Look at the ingredients label and avoid anything with corn syrup or other sweetener.
Our own homemade mix has lots of horseradish, Worstershire sauce and fresh-squeezed lime juice; and for the hot sauce we use smoky chipotle from Cholula or Tabasco.
You can also add favorite and trending ingredients to a mix. Stonewall Kitchen has Cucumber Dill and Peppadew Sriracha.
We’d rather use the cucumber, dill and peppadew as a garnish.
The easiest way to make a Bloody Mary stand out with a memorable garnish. You may have seen photos of everything from charcuterie skewers and pepperoni straws to hot wings and an entire slice of pizza (hmmm). You don’t have to go that far, but you still need to do better than the venerable 20th century celery stick. You can use celery, but as of three garnish items.
Here’s a list of options for your Bloody Mary cart. Use at least two, and preferably three.
For skewers, get a supply of inexpensive picks like these four-inch bamboo knot picks.
START YOUR GARNISH LIST HERE!
Cheese cubes (we love blue cheese)
Salami or sausage slices
Asparagus spear, steamed or pickled
Beets (baby beets, beet cubes or slices, pickled beets)
Celery or fennel stalk (in combination with other garnishes)
Cucumber spear or wheel
Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, parsley
Grape or cherry tomato
Green onion (scallion)
Ramps and fiddleheads (spring season)
Sugar snap peas
Olives: try a pick with three different types
Pickles: dill spear, gherkin, sweet slices
Pickled vegetables: carrots, cherry peppers, dilly beans,
jalapeños, okra, peppadew (you can stuff it with cheese),
A Bloody Mary made with Aquavit and Swedish garnishes: beets, dill, cucumber. Photo courtesy Aquavit Restaurant | NYC.
Citrus: lemon or lime wedge or wheel
Seasoned salt rim: cracked pepper and sea salt, McCormick, Morton’s, homemade (try curry and garlic)
Here are some of the garnishes we’ve skewered together:
Beets, dill, cucumber
BLT (see top photo)
Cherry tomato, cucumber slice, cherry pepper
Cornichon, peppadew, pepperoncini, cocktail onion
Cucumber and pickle
Grape tomato, olive, cheese cube, cocktail onion
Ham, cheese, olive, pickle
Olive, pepperoncini, gherkin
Olive, cornichon, cocktail onion
Red and yellow grape tomatoes, sweet pickle slice
Shrimp, sausage cube, cocktail onion, gherkin
BLOODY MARY CART TIPS
Have your Bloody Mary mix pre-mixed with extra in the fridge. Keep it in a bucket of ice on the cart, and have lots of ice for drinks.
Consider offering two spirits, such as vodka and the lower-proof sochu, or vodka and gin. A Bloody Mary with gin is called a Red Snapper.
Place all the garnishes in bowls, grouped as we have above.
It’s a nice idea to rent highball glasses if you don’t have enough. Glass is so much nicer for this concept than plastic party tumblers. BUT check out these reusable plastic highball glasses.
Make it easy for the bartender and the guest by creating a large sign that lists the garnishes. It makes it quicker for guests to decide what they want from each group.
Enjoy the party!