Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Bars & Spirits

DIY Bloody Marys for cocktails as unique as the drinker

Everyone thinks they know where to get the best Bloody Mary. But, while any spot serving brunch usually has a bloody or two on the menu — right next to the mimosas— the surefire way to sip one you like is to mix it at home. � Some people are crazy for horseradish and others just want a vehicle for garnishes. You can let your friends have their drinks the way they want them by setting up a DIY Bloody Mary bar. Put out glasses, a large pitcher of homemade Bloody Mary mix, straws and cubed ice and let your friends decide on their vodka and garnishes. This allows you to prep the ingredients before everyone shows up so you don't have to play bartender all day. � You might want to try making fresh tomato juice but I found it easier and just as tasty to use high-quality tomato juice I bought at the store. Blending fresh tomatoes to make your own juice base will yield a thicker juice than what we're used to buying. I included a Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary, which uses fresh tomatoes and offers a striking option at the bloody bar. This fresh tomato juice will also have a more robust flavor. Feel free to thin out the juice to the texture you like using water or, the obvious choice, more vodka.

Choose your vodka

Don't break the bank with top-shelf vodka for such a highly flavored drink. Instead, if you really want to impress your friends, add some infused vodkas at the bloody bar. Figure on 2 ounces of vodka per drink. You'll probably find that most people stop at 1 since the added garnishes can make them feel like a meal unto themselves. Vodka clearly wins most-popular at this party, but you might consider having gin on hand, too. Some people prefer this spirit for the added flavor it brings to a Bloody Mary.

Infused vodkas

Infusing vodka with flavors is easier than you think and most infusions require a lot less time than you'd expect.

I made small batches in pint-sized mason jars so I could make several flavors from one 750-milliliter bottle of vodka. With 2 cups vodka per infusion and the standard 2 ounces per drink, you'll get enough infused vodka for 8 drinks from each jar. The accompanying infusions were all done in one day, except the pickle, which needed another day to pick up more flavor.

My advice is to sample your infusion each day and decide for yourself when it's done to your liking. Keep in mind that ingredients with strong flavors — citrus, hot peppers, horseradish — require less time to infuse than others. And make sure to shake the jars a couple of times throughout the day.

If the infusion gets too strong for your taste, just dilute it slightly by adding more vodka. More vodka is always the answer.

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