Manly Bloody Mary

Manly Kitchen Manly Bloody MaryI know a lot of guys who could go through their entire life without ever having any alcoholic beverages except beer. And whiskey. I also know a lot of guys who thank any mixed drink is for girls. I’m here to prove you wrong.

Now, I’m not asking you to quaff a Piña Colada or anything else that comes with a little umbrella in it. You can bypass the Shirley Temple, too. But just because there’s some flavor in the glass doesn’t mean it’s a Girly Drink. I mean, have ever had my Margarita?

The origin of the Bloody Mary is in dispute. It appears that comedian George Jessel first got the idea to combine equal measures of tomato juice and vodka as a morning pick-me-up. But Fernand Petiot who came up with the basic spices we use today while working at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France.

It also seems plausible that the drink was named after Queen Mary I of England, who earned the infamous nickname when she tried to reintroduce the Catholic church to England. And while most people think of the Bloody Mary as a cure for a hangover – having the “hair of the dog” that bit you, as it were – it doesnt’ really cure a hangover. All it does is numb the pain.

I’ve been a Bloody Mary fan (and Bloody Maria) for many a year. I’ve sampled them all over the country, in dives and top restaurants. And I’ve got to say, this is a Bloody Mary beyond all others. It’s fresh, hand-made and amazingly tasty. If James Bond drank Bloody Marys, he’d drink this one.

Manly Kitchen Manly Bloody MaryFor the tomato juice:

Ice cubes
Red chili peppers (small)

For each drink:

Celery salt (for rim of glass, optional)
2 lime wedges
Vodka (chilled)
1 tablespoon horseradish
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch celery salt
1 pinch Smoked paprika
minced red chili pepper, cayenne, Tabasco sauce or black pepper


Lime wedge
Small celery stalks(with leaves)
Seedless cucumber spears
Pico de Gallo
Skewered olives
Chopped cilantro
Chilis (above)

Manly Kitchen Manly Bloody MaryInstructions:

Put a few ice cubes in your blender.

Roughly chop tomatoes and add them to the blender. I usually get several pounds of tomatoes, and do a blender-full at a time. Call it a big pound to a pound and a half per round.

Cut the stem off one or two red peppers, then split them. Get rid of the seeds and the ribs (the white part). Slice each half into strips, then finely mince them. Add them to the blender. If this is your first time, start with half a pepper (unless you’re really brave!).

Massacre the tomatoes until smooth. Depending on your blender, you may have to start at a slower speed and work your way up.

Taste, then decide if you want to add more peppers. Don’t forget you’ll be adding horseradish when you make the drinks, and you can add more pepper at that point for your braver friends. For the tomato juice, you want a tang to it, but not an eye-watering tang. That comes later.

Also check for viscosity, or how thick it is. You want it thick, but not like a Wendy’s shake, and not overly chunky. When combined with vodka over ice, your guest shouldn’t have to spoon it out of the glass. Once you’re satisfied with the taste and viscosity, you’re ready to make your drinks.

To make drinks, per 16 oz. glass:

Get enough glasses to cover each guest, and place them on a counter such that you can do an assembly line, finishing each step for all glasses before going to the next step of assembly.

Manly Kitchen Manly Bloody MaryPour celery salt onto a small plate, a little wider than the rim of your glasses.

Rub the top of the glass with a lime wedge to wet the rim. Invert glass and press the rim onto the celery salt. If you want to leave part of the rim open, roll the rim instead of pressing straight down. Return glass to counter. Repeat with all glasses.

Juice a lime wedge into each glass. If you’re using larger glasses (24 oz., say) squeeze another one in there, too.

Pour 2 oz. chilled, good vodka into each glass. I prefer Grey Goose.

Add remaining ingredients to each, then stir everything together before moving to next glass. This is an important step. This lets all those spices get to know the vodka, and everybody gets really happy before you add the tomato juice.

Fill glass to about 2/3 – no more than 3/4 full of tomato juice. Stir to combine everything one last time. Then add enough ice to fill the glass.

Add your garnishes and serve to your hungover friends.

Manly Kitchen Manly Bloody MaryNotes:

If you’re not into making your own tomato juice, let me suggest that you get one that isn’t already spiced. Sure, if you’re a totally lazy Couch Blob, you can get the pre-spiced version and just add vodka but that isn’t anywhere near Manly. Do yourself and friends a favor and put the spices in yourself. You’ll thank me. Seriously.

I have a few friends that really go for the gusto when they make Bloody Marys. They put a bunch of different peppers – everything from red and yellow bell peppers to Habaneros in an over-size brandy snifter. Then they pour their vodka into the snifter and cover it to marinate overnight before the party. Use a 2 oz. scoop to measure your vodka into glasses. This is absolutely the way to go when serving a lot of people.

Vodka is like music. Your taste may well be different from mine. So pick your favorite vodka and make it a good one. It is not at all Manly to get the WalMart brand to save a few dollars.

There are also many other varieties of alcohol you can substitute for the vodka – perhaps the most popular one being tequila, in which case you’ve made a Bloody Maria. But you can use whiskey, bourbon, Irish Whiskey, Scotch – I’ve even seen it done with red wine. (Yuck! But they must have liked it, because they ordered another one.)

I can’t even begin to give you a list of every garnish I’ve ever seen with a Bloody Mary. But perhaps the most filling are cocktail shrimp (think of the drink as a really thin cocktail sauce) and bacon. Yes, bacon! Like that glass right over there. See? Bacon AND shrimp! How could you not love that on a Sunday morning?

I have adjusted the spices a little as compared to the classic version. I encourage you to do the same with my recipe. Feel free to tinker with it until you’ve got it right where you want it. However, if you make yours really hot, you may also want to know how to do a milder version for those who don’t like blisters on their lips. But above all, have some fun with it, and don’t forget to:

Play with your food!


Try my other Beverage Recipes here.

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About Lane

Lane Baldwin is a an internationally-acclaimed singer, songwriter, author and food lover. He wasn't trained in France, and he doesn't have his own TV show. He just loves to cook, and loves sharing what he's learned over the years. In his "real life," Lane has toured the world, bringing his special brand of Blues-infused Americana to millions of fans. At home he leads a quiet life filled with good books, good food and good friends.