I used the shower as the opportunity to validate my extravagant food processor purchase and prove to myself (and to my mother) that I was capable of making more than just pesto.
So when my friend Trish suggested we create a Bloody Mary bar for the party, I first said, out loud to myself, "Booooyaaaaaah." (Seriously, the best idea ever.)
Then I typed an email back to her, "I want to make a Bloody Mary mix. From scratch."
I imagine my super supportive friend Trish was probably on the other end of that email shaking her head at my need to always make things more difficult than they need to be. But she indulged my crazy and simply responded, "Sounds great."
Zing Zang makes a damn near perfect mix already, so my desire to mess with perfection was, and is, troubling. I recognize my own insanity in wanting to spend my entire day in the kitchen coming up with the most perfect recipe for Bloody Marys that also involved hand stuffing olives with blue cheese.
That Friday, I let Trish know, via text, that I had started to make the mix. She texted me back, kinda-jokingly-but-not-really, "Don't screw it up."
The pressure was palpable, but I went for it, juicing lemons and limes, chopping garlic and adding spices, blending away in my food processor. I let the mix incorporate overnight, as suggested, and was excited about how it had turned out. It was certainly different and far more fresh tasting than any other Bloody Mary I'd ever had, but there was a chance it might not go over with a crowd who was used to a pre-made mix.
When it came time to set up the bar, I retrieved the containers holding the Bloody Marys from my bag and nervously put them on the counter. Several of the other hosts looked at me inquisitively.
"It's the mix. I made it from scratch," I said.
I heard how crazy it sounded coming out of my mouth and I flushed with embarrassment when they looked at me and then looked at each other as if to say, "Seriously? Who does this girl think she is?"
But not until my friend Lisa, truly a Bloody Mary connoisseur, arrived and began surveying the scene did I really start to freak. If I did screw it up, I knew she'd be the first one to inform me (and likely everyone else) of her disappointment.
Why, oh why my need to be experimental?
The shower started and though we had other drink options, nearly everyone wanted to get in on the Bloody Mary bar. I held my breath as they all filled their glasses and smiled big when every single person came to tell me, "These. Are. Awesome."
Since I have unabashedly shared my kitchen mishaps on this blog (pumpkin pie, anyone?), nothing pleases me more than to be able to tell you these Bloody Marys were at hit. People could not get enough.
We did end up having to go into our stash of backup Zing Zang, but only because the fresh Bloody Mary mix (MY mix) ran out so quickly. Even the 50 and over crowd (ahem, Trish's mom Claire, who doesn't even drink) was clamoring for it. We were day drinking. Aggressively.
I considered keeping the recipe to myself in hopes of achieving worldwide cocktail fame, a la Bethenny Frankel, but seeing as how I mostly stuck to Emeril's Bloody Mary Mix Recipe (below), I guess that's probably out of the question. I did increase the amount of garlic and hot sauce and added celery salt for extra flavor. The mix was rather thick, even after we added the vodka, so we added in a cup of water as well.
- 3 cups tomato juice
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or to taste
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste (recommended: Tabasco)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
I'm all about shortcuts when it comes to throwing parties, but if you have the time to make Bloody Mary mix from scratch, I highly recommend it.
I also recommend throwing a shower that begins at 11am, takes a time out for an afternoon nap and then goes well into the next morning. There truly is no other way to party.