The Best Way to Make Your Bloody Mary Better is Also the Most Obvious

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The kitchen is nowhere if not a place to overthink. How good would this be if we just added a sauce? Or two sauces? What if, instead of pizza, we turn the thing into babka? We forget that making things a little better—and often, a little truer to themselves—can be right in front of us, so obvious that we missed it before.

Take getting the brightness of lemon into sorbet (or a tart, for that matter). Why not use the whole lemon? Or the bite of garlic into hummus: Infuse the lemon juice with it (and its skins!). And when we want to get the brininess of pickles into our Bloody Marys, we use a little brine—or just throw a garnish pickle, standing at attention, into the finished drink.

But what if we actually puréed dill pickles and stirred them into the mix? I overheard this madness at the SuckerPunch booth at the recent Good Food Mercantile in Chicago—and I asked for clarification. “Adding only pickle brine can make the whole drink taste a little sharp,” they explained, and this way nothing gets any more watered down than it needs to. Your Bloody Mary gets to keep its texture, and in turn, also its status as a meal in a glass.

To do it at home, purée a few spears (or many—the mixture has enough vinegar to keep in the fridge for at least a few days), and stir that into your bloody to taste, in place of the pickle brine. That’s it. It was so simple, wasn’t it?

A Very Good Bloody Mary

A Very Good Bloody Mary

Ali Slagle Ali Slagle
Serves 8
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) tomato juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons dill pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) vodka
  • Garnishes, including dill pickles, pickled okra, cornichon, celery, lemon, parsley, radish, bacon, or hard-boiled egg—or none of the above, or others.
  • Ice, to serve
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Tags: Cocktail, Brunch, Tips & Techniques