Entertaining? Shake Up Your Holiday With A Bloody Mary Bar

bmary openHow do you get an entire neighborhood to agree on having an egg hunt during the coldest of cold springs? Just include, “….and we will have a Bloody Mary bar.” Boom—–14 responses in 15 minutes. I set a Bloody Mary bar up for a small soiree to test out this hot, new trend in cocktailitis. Not only was it crazy-fun to throw together, but we learned some tasty new tricks while mixing this old 1920s favorite.

Take the basic ingredients for a Bloody Mary: tomato juice, vodka, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, Tabasco sauce, beef bouillon, celery salt and/or celery stalks and put your own spin on them. Using a base such as V-8 eliminates the need for most salty additives but a hint of bacon salt will prove once again that bacon = love. I dug through my fridge and pulled out loads of hot sauces, hit the Montclair Farmer’s Market (some vendors are still there every weekend) for some sausage from the kielbasa stand and some fantastic horseradish pickles from Picklelicious, picked up a giant horseradish root, celeriac (knobby celery root), olives and other produce from the 46 Farmer’s Market and started to throw it all together.

bmary2Set your bar up with wooden skewers and let your guests fill a skewer with their favorite nibbles to stick it in their drink. The result — a tasty cocktail/delicious snack without trying to balance a ridiculous little plate. I love progress.

bmary4Some ideas for setting up your bar:

  • Wooden skewers
  • Olives
  • Pickles (flavored spicy pickles or cornichons work well)
  • Sausage
  • Pepperoni ( I used the large deli slices and rolled them up tightly)
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Feta cheese
  • Grated horseradish
  • Grated celery root
  • Pearl onions
  • Dill
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Bacon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A variety of hot sauces
  • Tomato juice and or Clamato juice
  • Vodka
Fresh horseradish root and celeriac
Fresh horseradish root and celeriac

No need to purchase flavored vodkas as the flavors you offer will flavor the drink. The great thing? You don’t have to spend a small fortune creating this kind of bar. Just route through your crisper and condiment shelf, see what you have, then get wacky. Offer gin or tequila, if you want to really go-crazy-go-nuts.

How do you like your Bloody Marys? Hot and spicy  or with a little more bloody and not as much Mary?

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  1. That would get me to participate in an Easter egg hunt and I don’t have kids!

    I like mine preferably not from a mix, not too spicy, and not too much ice.

    Damn you, Holly, now I want one and I am at work.

  2. Holly that looks good – the thought of that horseradish is making my mouth water (in a good way). Never like mixes as generally they are too heavy on the celery salt. I like my bloody mary a bit feisty!

  3. Actually I just learned that using Clamato in your mixture makes it a Bloody Ceasar and originated in Canada where they still outsell that stuff there than any place else.

    I love to muddle some lime and horseradish, add ice, a generous pour of Tito’s vodka and a good Bloody Mary mix, throw a handful of spanish olives (with pimentos), skip the celery,stir and enjoy!

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