While both Emily and I are more than content to enjoy a tasty brunch sans a refreshing alcoholic counterpart, it would be blasphemous to ignore the role that hair of the dog plays in a brunch menu.
Given our differing opinions on the brunch drink of choice (though we both recommend the Blueberry Crush), I’ll let Emily give you her run-down of the perfect mimosa while I focus on the crisp spiciness of the true brunch beverage–the Bloody Mary.
The Bloody Mary was actually a fairly recent discovery of mine. Before a few years back, the idea of drinking a glass of tomato juice in the morning (or at any time of day, for that matter) sounded almost as appealing as taking a shot of tequila with my waffles. But, just as I developed a taste for broccoli and brussel sprouts with age, so too did I discover a love for a good Bloody Mary.
While there seems to be near-universal consensus on the makings of a traditional mimosa (champagne/orange juice), there is much more debate about how the make the perfect Bloody Mary–particularly in regards to the level of spice.
I, for one, tend to avoid anything that is going to cripple my taste buds. Give me Worcestershire, lemon juice, vodka, and tomato juice–but go easy on the pepper, horseradish and hot sauce. My boyfriend, on the other hand, likes the burn. If he can still taste his meal after enjoying his drink, that means the Bloody Mary wasn’t spicy enough. If you’re of his mindset, check out “Birth of Pain” Bloody Mary mix from Toigo Farms available at the Penn Quarter Farmers’ Market every Thursday from 3-7.
There are plenty of places in DC to find a good Bloody Mary (Brunch and the City has a great list of places that serve bottomless drinks), but I have a soft spot for The Heights in my old Columbia Heights stomping grounds and their lengthy list of customizable Bloody Mary options. When a restaurant has an entire Bloody Mary Menu, you know they’re doing something right.
A few quick Blood Mary tips and tricks, followed by a Bobby Flay Bloody Mary Recipe:
– Sometimes, all you have is Bloody Mary mix. As I mentioned above, I saw this awesome super spicy mix at the farmers’ market and couldn’t resist buying it for my boyfriend. But, when you can, try to do the “mix” part from scratch. This way, you can figure out your own proportions and what works best for you. And let’s be honest–home-made recipes always taste better than store-bought.
– It’s okay to be creative. As the menu at The Heights shows us, there is no wrong way to make a Bloody Mary (within certain limits, of course). Grab what you have in your fridge and see what works.
– Make sure you have something crunchy to nosh on as you drink. There’s a reason most Bloody Mary recipes call for a celery stalk or other crispy goodness. Celery:Bloody Mary as Peanuts:Beer. Don’t ask, just do it.
For those who like a spicy cocktail, try Bobby Flay’s Spicy Citrus Bloody Mary with jalapeno and horseradish (via Food Network):
- 2 to 3 cups ice
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon horseradish, drained
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups vodka
- 3 cups tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Muddle ice, lemon wedges, lime wedges, horseradish, jalapeno, and salt in the bottom of a pitcher. Add vodka, tomato juice, and Worcestershire and stir to combine. Refrigerate if not serving immediately, or pour into glassesover ice and serve.
Keep your eye out for many more Bloody Mary recipes, and a Bloody Mary Brunch post, in the coming weeks. Feel free to post your own Bloody Mary recipe in the comments and we’ll try to re-create it one brunch!