It’s funny how many recipes here start with a preamble regarding my utter distaste for a specific ingredient involved. I guess I was a far pickier child than I’d like to remember. This time the food in question is tomatoes. Tomatoes in all forms…
I remember my disgust, as a child, at the sliminess they lent to a sandwich or salad. The congealed, slightly viscous blend of seeds suspended in…I’m not sure what to call it…tomato membrane? And I can still recall the fateful day I took my first swig of V8—some adult left it unattended no doubt—how deceiving that can was! I’m not sure what I was expecting but it certainly wasn’t vegetable juice! The horror, for an unsuspecting, impressionable child. Pretty sure my exact thought was what the hell? Then there was tomato soup. Wouldn’t even touch the stuff. And on the day I deigned to revisit the matter around age eight, I made the mistake of trying a cherry tomato and I shot a stream of slimy seeds right out of my horrified mouth.
As a got older, I became more opened minded. My palate developed and I grew a slow and cautious appreciation for tomatoes in salad. Then I was able to tolerate them on my burgers. Eventually I permitted my father to put them on sandwiches for my school lunch, only if they were not touching the bread of course. I refused to eat soggy bread. I’m not sure when I braved tomato soup—but it soon became one of my favorites, topped with croutons and parmesan or served with the quintessential grilled cheese.
Yes I learned to appreciate the tomato in all its forms. All save one. I still couldn’t wrap my head around tomato juice. I knew people who drank it incessantly and I was mystified. I just couldn’t get on board. Until I had my first Blood Mary that is…then the world opened up and I was reborn.
I should probably briefly jump into the issues I had with bacon. Yes, bacon. I hated it. I remember loving the smell but despising the fatty strip that ran alongside the “good part”. I couldn’t be forced to eat it. I know. Breakfasts were always missing an indescribable something. That something was bacon, I just didn’t know it at the time.
I know, I sound like a soulless monster. But I had a thing with textures—I still do a bit—and as a kid I just couldn’t handle bacon. Thankfully, this dark period also passed and I’ll eat it by the handful if anyone is offering. Thank god too because the only thing better that a Bloody Mary garnished with bacon, is a Bloody Mary with BACON VODKA, garnished with bacon! I can imagine my younger self recoiling, but ladies and gentlemen of the jury I swear—I am a changed woman, full of remorse!
By chance (or fate) I recently came across Heritage Distilling Company (HDC) on Instagram. They are based out of Washington state and make a wide variety of naturally infused vodkas as well as other craft spirits. It’s a seriously impressive stock but I saw the bacon varietal it was love at first sight! I mean, are you kidding? The vodka on its own has a solid bacon flavor with a hint of sweetness (of course I took a long, contemplative sip…or two). It is absolute perfection in a Bloody Mary, but I’m also envisioning some sort of maple bacon Jello shot, or maybe some sort of breakfast-y bacon vodka quail egg shooter! Not to mention it would be great for a vodka pasta sauce. So don’t think such a unique flavor will limit versatility!
If you haven’t already you should visit HDC’s site HERE and check out what they are doing! I have quite a few other flavors I am going to be playing with in the weeks to come (Ginger, Lavender, Sweet Ghost Pepper, and Ruby Red Grapefruit). I made my sister a Bloody Mary with HDC’s Sweet Ghost Pepper vodka, it’s one of their many gluten free options, and she loved the extra heat it added to her drink!
I have never made a Bloody Mary before. I’ve always left it to the pros. I have to say, however, that I am very pleased with this first attempt. It may not have all the usual suspects, I just incorporated ingredients I already had to flavor it. Adding a little olive brine and pepperoncini juice from the jar was a nice touch! What resulted was a spicy, bacon infused libation with a nice bite that I’ll definitely be recreating for friends!
Let me know what you think or how you like to make yours! I’d love more ideas! Also let me know if you order any of Heritage’s other flavors! I”m dying to know what they are like.
- For the Drinks
- 24 Oz. V8 (or whatever you prefer)
- 2 Tbsp. Sriracha (I like it spicy, so add less and taste as you go if you want something more mild)
- 1 tsp. pepperoncini or pickle juice
- 2 tsp. green olive juice/brine
- Few drips of Worcestershire
- 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (this was just a spice blend I had, you could also use Old Bay)
- ¼ tsp. paprika
- ¼ tsp. chili powder
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- A little lemon juice
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (or omit this if you don’t want heat)
- ½ tsp. adobo sauce (optional, I just had some chipotle peppers in adobo so I thought I’d try it)
- Ice for serving
- Garnish Suggestions
- Bacon (this isn’t really a suggestion, unless you’re a vegetarian)
- Lemon juice and salt for rimming the glass (I used a smoked salt)
- Celery stalks
- Lemon wedges
- What I used to spice my drinks isn’t set in stone, play around with flavors to customize your drink to your liking. I love mine very spicy!
- Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and mix well to combine.
- Squeeze lemon juice in a shallow dish and salt in a separate dish.
- Dip glasses in lime then salt to rim.
- Fill two tall glasses 1/3 of the way with ice.
- Pour in vodka, I did about 2 oz.
- Pour tomato mixture over ice, stir, and garnish with whatever your heart desires!