Julia’s Rather Pickled Bloody Mary

VeganMoFo Flashback! Here’s one I put together right before our hiatus that I’d like to share, because we’ve already made time for a pair of these during a bout of odd waking hours during the initial jet lag…

My dear J. Legume’s not normally one for a cocktail, but if there’s one that breaks the rule, it’s the Bloody Mary. She’s often the vegan ranting about the travesty of a brunch joint’s Bloody Mary containing anchovy* and if there is a vegan Bloody (which is becoming much more frequently spotted in Portland), she’s the gal who’s already finished her first, letting the ice melt for her so-called “second drink!” and seriously debating another while I’m glancing over, in awe, three sips into my grapefruit mimosa. I developed this Bloody Mary mix for her cravings around a forever missing ingredient: the horseradish. It’s simply never been something, fresh or jarred, that I’ve grabbed a bottle of, and while I’ve had many versions of the drink with it, we’re quite content with this spicy and sour home version we’ve come to know so well.

Julia’s Rather Pickled Bloody Mary…


…because if it’s pickled and in our fridge, it will adorn our drinks

I picked up the requisite bottle of vegetarian Worcestershire years ago for a vegan pancetta tofu recipe of all things, and since then, there’s only been one use for it in our kitchen: Julia’s Bloody Maria (which we decided to scribble down ratios for during VeganMoFo VII, of course). Once it runs out some time in the next decade, I plan on making my own, because even Martha Stewart offers a vegan recipe. Our version, featuring a 50/50 ratio of tomato juice to vodka, has a double dose of heat from the Serrano and jalapeño-infused vodka (or sometimes one or the other, or even Thai bird’s eye chilis) and some hot sauce. The spicy vodka, which I’ll explain a bit more about below the recipe, is evened out by another bottle that’s made a home in our fridge: homemade pickle brine.

Julia’s (Rather Pickled) Bloody Mary

Makes one pint glass. Double for two.

  • 3 oz chili pepper-infused vodka
  • 3 oz tomato juice > I like R.W. Knudsen Organic Tomato Juice
  • 1 – 1.5 oz pickle brine (aka pickle juice) > the leftover brine is a big plus of all the new dill pickles that rule my life in the summertime
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • splash of fresh lemon or lime juice
  • dash black pepper
  • minimum of 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce > I tend to use Secret Aardvark if we have it on hand

For the salted rim:

  • 2 tablespoon coarse sea or kosher salt
  • good pinch of powdered chipotle or cayenne or smoked paprika (or any combination)

Garnish suggestions:

  • pickled carrots, sliced cucumber and green beans
  • celery stalks
  • lime wedges
  • green olives

Directions: Chill a pint glass or mid-sized mason jar. If doing a salted rim, see below, and do right before pouring the cocktail mixture. Fill your desired glass(es) with as much ice as possible.

Add ice and the list of drink ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake, and pour into glass over ice. Leave a small amount of room for your garnishes — or simply take a sip before adding them. Brunch is served.

Salted rim: Mix equal parts coarse salt with smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne. Rub the chilled glass’ mouth with a lemon or lime, dip into the salt, fill with ice, and pour in the cocktail.

A small jar of serrnao and jalapeño-infused vodka in the making


I’m no stickler for fancypants, top shelf vodka when it comes to infusing (drinking is another matter, Ketel One or better if you must). If you’re going to be infusing it anyway, I think it’s quite fine to pick up a budget-friendly vodka. My recommendations would be something mid-shelf, in the $10-$13 range, with Monopolowa or Vikingfjord, both grain free spirits, being a widely recognized fit. You could buy a spicy vodka, but let’s be honest, when it comes to flavored vodkas, your own infusion, especially when you’re talking fruit-flavored concoctions, is no doubt going to be much tastier — as in, it will actually taste like what you’ve put in there, vs. buying a flavored vodka.

When it comes to infusing your own spicy vodka…take your 750 ml bottle of vodka, slice 5-10 fresh chili peppers, and add them into the bottle, seeds and all. If you’re using small chilis, you can simply score them and add them whole. You can also empty everything into large jars to make things easier. If you do that, you can also do half spicy, and half chai tea, or raspberry-infused, whatever you like.

Generally speaking, for fresh ingredients, you want to strain after a couple of days of infusing, and after a week for dried. You can also pick up loose leaf tea filter bags to put fresh ingredients into while infusing, if you’re worried about some ‘stuff’ floating around. I don’t.

It being Portland, I tend to reflect the style of the local brunch joints and serve Julia’s Bloody Mary in mason jars, adorned with a selection from the endless jars of pickled vegetables in our fridge, spicy green beans and carrots being two favorites.

Portland loves its mason jars

New dill pickles and spicy coconut vinegar-pickled green beans, awaiting their day on our cocktails & cheese plates

Spring experiments with Sriracha & green olives

Perfect alongside brunch, anytime of day

The latest, before our hiatus. Somehow not topped with pickled kohlrabi.

*And let me add, that it is possible to talk your way into a vegan Bloody Mary, even when the mix is not. Such was the case at Frolik’s Bloody Mary bar inside Seattle’s downtown Red Lion, where we scored a room on Priceline for Pride weekend. The mix was contained anchovy, but prompted by their legit spread of pickled toppings (avoiding the vile bacon skewer situation), a glass of tomato juice, ice and some Tabasco was all J. Legume needed before she headed in the direction of peperoncinis and pickled green beans.

As for our favorite, pickle-topped Bloody Marys outside of the house, Juniors takes the cake, recently blowing both of our minds with some fabulously tart, pickled celery.


  1. I need to come visit for bloody marys!! I haven’t had one at Junior’s before, but it sounds delicious. Pickled celery?! Sign me up!

  2. It just so happens I have a bumper crop of hot peppers this year; I’ll be infusing my vodka ASAP.

    I sincerely hope you’ve both idulged in the BM from Pine Box; my last one had a pickled Brussels sprout (among many other things).

  3. Not a fan of Bloody Marys but this is a great recipe, I’ll have to try it. I grow peppers and tomatoes in my garden and anything involved with “peppered infused vodka” has gotta be road tested.lol

    1. Oh, Dynise, you know what I bet you’d appreciate? There’s a restaurant in Portland (White Owl) that has a spicy, beet juice-based Bloody that is so interesting and drinkable. Let me know next time you’re in PDX! : )

  4. The only alcoholic drink I actually enjoy! Pickles are definitely the best part, so I’m all of your glorious bouquet of brined beauties. I’m seriously craving this right now, and wishing I had decent tomato juice on hand.

  5. An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I believe that you should publish more about this issue, it might not be a taboo matter but usually people don’t discuss these issues.
    To the next! All the best!!

Don't be shy...have something to share?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s