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How to Improve a Classic Bloody Mary -- With Pickles

August  7, 2014

All week long, we're highlighting some of our favorite New York-based makers, whose goods you can find in our I Heart NYC collection on Provisions. Follow along for a taste of New York -- without stepping foot on a subway. 

Today: Rick Field of Rick's Picks gives a nuanced boost to the classic Bloody Mary for a drink to relish on hot summer days. 

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The premise of my version of the classic Bloody Mary is to deliver a cocktail-like consistency where many versions are as thick as clam chowder, and to produce a sublime depth of flavor where others are simply a salt bomb. Life is salty enough, I say.

More: Cocktail sauce equally salty? Make your own, seasoned to taste. 

As we sit around my living room on Sundays watching football, my friends and I enjoy “dragging it through the garden” as we call it: We add a large variety of Rick’s Picks pickles to the drink, which adds to both the taste experience and the drink's visual appeal. The initial straining step essentially clarifies the tomato juice; the secondary ingredients provide a nuanced boost, so the net effect is a cocktail that is simultaneously clarified and fortified. The smaller 8-ounce glass is important -- you will find the first sip as delicious as the last, whereas with larger glasses there is an unsatisfyingly watery endgame.

Rick's Picks Bloody Mary Mix

Serves 8

64 ounces tomato juice (preferably low-sodium)
2 tablespoons hot sauce, or more to taste (I like A&B American Style)
2 tablespoons freshly ground horseradish root
1 tablespoon coarsely ground fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (preferably low-sodium)
Zest and juice of one large and attractive lemon
1 cup strong beef bouillon (optional)
2 cloves garlic (optional)
Rick’s Picks Mean Beans, Smokra, and Hotties

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.


Jason July 9, 2016
That is how Wisconsin has been building Bloodys forever. It isn't a bloody mary without a pickle. You really want to give it a boost of flavor, add a shot or two of pickle juice! That is what takes a bloody from blah to wow !!!!
Joe July 8, 2016
Add a half of a shot of Merlot. Yes I said Merlot. It is amazing how it kills the acidity of the tomato juice and adds a hole new flavor to a Bloody Mary.
Bonno August 19, 2014
I use spring onions (scallions, green onions) as a straw. Pick large firm stalks. The ice cold drinks keeps the "straws" firm for use with at least two drinks.
Mike D. August 8, 2014
That's Clamato for tomato, rather.
Mike D. August 8, 2014
Sounds very close to a Ceasar. Substitute tomato juice for Clamato juice.