Make Ahead

A Pitcher of Bloodies

December 13, 2009
3 Ratings
  • Makes about 40 oz.
Author Notes

One of the traditions my husband and I started early on in our relationship is to kick off holiday mornings with a simple brunch of “bagels and bloodies.” We set up a spread of bagels, cream cheese, and smoked or cured fish with all the fixins, and pour ourselves a round of Bloody Marys to prime our livers for the revelry ahead. The fun thing about this tradition is that it’s easy to scale up the spread for company, and it’s a casual but festive way to entertain. My Bloody Mary was inspired in part by the ones served at The Noho Star in Manhattan – I always loved their addition of balsamic vinegar to the drink, and the way it rounds out the acidity of the other ingredients. I can’t stand when I order a Bloody Mary at a restaurant and get a thin, watery drink, so I use a bottled tomato passata instead of juice. Finally, as far as hot sauce goes, my favorite is a brand called Evil Hot, made by our good friend Ed Mathews. It’s thick and spoonable, with a clean, pure heat and without a strong vinegary taste. - lastnightsdinner —lastnightsdinner

Test Kitchen Notes

The perfect companion to a bagel spread -- or any brunch, really -- lastnightsdinner's well-written Bloody Mary formula adds a few thoughtful tweaks that make it stand out. Pulpy tomato passata makes each glass substantive without laying it on too thick, muddled celery leaves and garlic waft through, and balsamic sweetens and deepens the flavor (don't use any pricey, 50-year-old stuff -- but something high quality is a good idea). - kristen miglore —Kristen Miglore

What You'll Need
  • A Pitcher of Bloodies
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and gently crushed
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 12 ounces vodka
  • 24 ounces tomato passata, or best quality tomato juice
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish, or best quality prepared horseradish
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • The Garnish Bar
  1. A Pitcher of Bloodies
  2. Add the celery leaves, garlic, and a pinch of salt to a large measuring cup. Muddle gently, then add the vodka. Continue muddling until the celery leaves release their aroma. Strain, discarding the solids.
  3. Pour the passata (or juice, if using) into a pitcher. Pour the infused vodka into the empty bottle, shaking to loosen any passata that is clinging to the inside, then pour it into the pitcher. Add the lemon and lime juices, the balsamic vinegar, the hot sauce, and the horseradish. Stir well, and add another pinch of salt and plenty of fresh black pepper, stirring again to incorporate.
  4. Chill for at least 30 minutes, and serve over ice with your favorite garnish(es).
  1. The Garnish Bar
  2. I like to give my fellow revelers options, so I set out a variety of garnishes: lemon and lime wedges, fat green olives, tart cornichons, celery stalks, pickled green tomatoes, pickled green beans, cocktail onions, pickled green chile peppers, plus additional hot sauce for those who like a little extra kick in their drink.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Oui, Chef
    Oui, Chef
  • fiveandspice
  • shayma
  • Cara Eisenpress
    Cara Eisenpress
  • WinnieAb

12 Reviews

Oui, C. March 30, 2011
I'm afraid to make this for fear I'll want to start EVERY day with a bagel and a bloody. - S
fiveandspice March 27, 2011
Okay, I think we need to steal your tradition. How fun!
shayma January 12, 2010
i am with Cara on this, i like the tradition loads! and i like the way you use a passata rather than a watered-down tomato juice. balsamic vinegar seems to be a fascinating addition, i shall try it next time. gorgeous photo (not a surprise though, as we know how beautiful your photos always are).
lastnightsdinner January 13, 2010
Thank you! We really love the balsamic in it. :)
Cara E. December 14, 2009
I like this tradition very much! Not to mention this bloody mary recipe...
lastnightsdinner December 14, 2009
Thanks, Cara!
WinnieAb December 13, 2009
This looks soooo good and I LOVE the photo!
lastnightsdinner December 14, 2009
Thanks, Winnie!
eatboutique December 13, 2009
So like making these with passata. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing. :)
lastnightsdinner December 13, 2009
Thank you!
adashofbitters December 13, 2009
"Makes about 40 oz."

And, as I like to say, "...or two servings."
lastnightsdinner December 13, 2009
Go big or go home.