I’ve never been a big fan of the Bloody Mary. The classic brunch cocktail, in the sad guises I’ve had it, was often full of gloppy tomato juice and mix, seasoned and garnished with an everybody in the pool, XTREME!!! flavor overload.
This all changed when I took a class at Astor Center in New York City. (A Christmas gift from my girlfriend for both of us to enjoy.) The Brunch Cocktails class, taught by the fantastic Jenn Smith, changed me from a Bloody Mary-averse bruncher to an enthusiastic fan. Of course, the key is to make them yourself. Here’s the basic recipe:
- 2oz of any spirit
- 4oz tomato juice
- salt/pepper/spices/citrus to taste
A few things made my Bloody Mary memorably delicious. One was using a beet-infused gin. Two was adding a lot of citrus. I went with the juice of half a lemon. I also took it easy on the seasoning, settling on a very modest amount of horseradish and Sriracha.
But the real secret, thanks to Jenn, was topping off my Bloody Mary with sparkling wine.* It, along with the lemon juice, really lightened up my Bloody Mary, and made it very, very easy to drink. And who doesn’t love bubbles?
Other memorable cocktails were a riff on a mimosa (a Moonwalk) with grapefruit juice, sparkling wine, rose water, and Grand Mariner. Plus a Irish Coffee served chilled with cold brew coffee. And a take on an Old Fashioned with orange bitters, bacon fat-washed bourbon (meh), and maple syrup (yum).
What’s your favorite brunch cocktail?