Leave your Bloody Marys to the overly ambitious, wannabe mixologist at your next brunch, and you could end up with either a crazy-thick throat-coater of a cocktail or a thin, insipid glass of blah. The rather simple brunch beverage can lose all depth if made from just a bottled mix (read: sodium bomb) and booze or become a muddied blend of too many ingredients. And garnishes? We’ve seen them all, from shrimp kebabs to salads and cheeseburgers. The best garnish is really none at all, except perhaps a thin stalk of celery for stirring and a wedge of lemon for a last squeeze before you sip.
Our ultimate Bloody Mary uses just six ingredients and is a perfect balance of acid, umami, heat, and (of course) alcohol. Low-sodium tomato sauce lets the other elements play a more balanced role, and you won’t need a chaser afterward to slake your thirst. Pickled okra has a great flavor and snappy bite that rivals any cucumber, and the juice is a perfect briny addition here. As for hot sauce, we’re sold on Cholula. It bursts with round flavor and balanced heat from pequin and arbol chiles. The thickness and tang will win you over. Cheers to the weekend!