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Sunday Bloody Sunday

I am not a fall/winter person. Usually when this time of year hits, I slowly slide into a mild depression. In my life, Autumn is the time of year that boats and patio furntiure get covered and stored. The flowers that I dropped a small fortune on in May are ready for the compost pile, to make way for the pumpkins and mums. I feel like the old lady on Game of Thrones who keeps repeating in the dread, "The Winta's Coming!!". I may be self medicating, but I tend to ramp up my weekend booze intake as the cooler temperatures infiltrate the area. I focus on football and comfort food to keep my spirits up. You can't beat scarfing down chili while watching other people physically exert themselves while planting your ass on the couch for a six hour stretch. I have noticed, coincidentally, that my hangovers are more prevalent in the colder months. It is probably a combination of not doing anything that requires sweating and ingesting large quantities of cabernet. I wake up Sunday morning with purple teeth and a pounding head. The next time you are out, ask your friends what their hangover cure is and you will be entertained. I have tried many, but the one surefire cure is to start drinking again! My mother told me that is a problem, but I have weighed the options, and the "bite the dog that bit you" philosophy works. So what is an acceptable drink for 10:00a.m. on a Sunday? A Bloody Mary of course, it's brunch in a glass!


The first time I ever had a Bloody Mary was on a flight back from Las Vegas in college. I sat in the middle coach seat on a crowded 9:00a.m. flight back to St. Louis. I was slumped over in my seat going over all the poor decisions I had made the night before while couting the different stamps on the back of my hands. The flight attendant took pity on my noticeable sad condition and asked if I would like a juice or water. I shook my head, knowing I was on the verge of throwing up at any minute. Fifteen minutes later, she discreetly put my tray table down and placed a 50 ml of Finlandia, a can of Mr. and Mrs. T's Bloody Mary mix and a plastic rocks glass of ice down in front of me. In her thick Southern drawl, she said "Good luck honey." I am not a fan of tomato juice or V-8 so I had my reservations about the cocktail. I motored forward and enjoyed the cure all concoction. I don't know if it's funny or sad that I place sentimental value on a brand of Bloody Mary mix. The Bloody Mary is a basic cocktail: Vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. The spices, garnishes and new infused vodkas that have hit the market in past years have taken this "hair of the dog" potion to anything but basic. Bloody Mary is the perfect gal. She takes care of you when you're sick, she is classic yet unpredictable, and she brings heat when you're in the mood.​

Flavored Vodkas
When I was a bartender in college, there were two vodkas we chose from when making a premium Bloody: Absolut or Absolut Peppar. I walked the aisles of my shops last week and noticed how many different savory vodka flavors that are available for a perfect Bloody. Ultra premium vodka isn't necessary for this cocktail. When anyone asks what vodka I prefer for Bloody Mary's, I always point them to Smirnoff. It is an excellent, wallet friendly vodka for mixed drinks. Smirnoff also has a citrus and lime flavored vodka that are excellent for Bloody's. Below are my favorite flavored​ vodkas that will enhance your Bloody Buddy!

Absolut Chicago
Flavor - Olive & Rosemary
Other than the cool ass bottle art, the vodka is the perfect balance of salty and savory...exactly what you want for a Bloody Mary. Pair an Absolut Chicago Bloody Mary with your favorite hot dog or brat, but please no ketchup. That pisses off the Sox and Cubs fans alike. 

Absolut Cilantro
Flavor - Cilantro & Lime
It seems like people either love or hate this particular herb. I love it. I would pair an Absolut Cilantro Bloody with tortilla chips to dip in fresh salsa and guacamole.

Absolut Texas
Flavor - Cucumber & Serrano Chili
Just like Texas, this vodka is big, bold and hot! Cruz Ortiz, a renowned contemporary artist from San Antonio, designed the bottle artwork which pays a tribute to Texas culture. I think you have to pair the Absolut Texas Bloody Mary with Texas chili, of course! No beans partner, no beans!

Pearl Cucumber
Flavor - Yep you guessed it...Cucumber!
This zen flavored vodka gives any Bloody Mary a refreshing kick. For your next tailgating adventure, contribute a pitcher of Pearl Cucumber Bloody Mary's. My favorite thing to grill over my Weber at a night game tailgate are pork steaks marinated in Andria's Steak Sauce. Enjoy!

UV Sriracha
Sriracha flavored vodka is a no brainer for anyone who likes spice and heat. Sriracha is a Thai chili sauce that has a cult like following. Lovers of Sriracha douce this condiment on everything from Pad Thai Chicken to waffles (I have seen it). Pair your UV Sriracha Bloody with some Sriracha Hot Wings. Make sure you load up on the Tums when you pick up your vodka.

Lighter Options...
Smirnoff Sorbet Lemon or Skinny Girl Cucumber Vodka are two lower calorie vodkas that mix well with a Bloody Mary. I use a lighter vodka to slow down the shame slide while main lining chili con queso all day. Hooray for Ro-tel and processed cheese!

The Mix
You can screw up perfectly good liquor by mixing it with shitty ingredients. Don't be that person! When my husband took my father's Gentleman Jack and poured it over ice, then proceeded to top it off with a can of Coke, I saw the vein on my Dad's high-blood-pressure-red forehead begin to pulse. If you invest in vodka, don't pour tomato juice over it and think you have a Bloody Mary. I have seen this happen and the person replies "Yuck, I don't get anyone who likes this." If you're a novice Bloody Mary connoisseur, give the drink a fighting chance and whip up a pitcher of your own or buy a decent storebought mix.

Basic Scratch Mix
3 Cups Tomato Juice
2 T Lime Juice
2 T Lemon Juice
1 T Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp Hot Sauce
1 tsp Celery Salt
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
Subs/Additions depending on your taste...
Substitue Clamato juice for tomato juice
Add 1 tsp brown sugar
Add 1 tsp horseradish

Mix together. Refrigerate overnight and serve 1 part vodka / 3 parts mix.

PreMixed Favs
Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix (Celery Salt Lovers)
Tabasco Mildly Seasoned Bloody Mary Mix (Traditional with a kick)
Taste of Florida Spicy Bloody Mary Mix (For those who like it HOT!)
Master of Mixes Classic Bloody Mary (Balanced Classic Flavor)
Mr. & Mrs. T's (Bold, Traditional or Spicy ... I love them all)

The Cellar in Carbondale, IL is known for it's amazing Bloody Mary's. I remember enjoying the actual drink, but the celery, pepperoni, olive and cheese cube made the drink more of a meal! Many bars add their signature to a Bloody by what they place on top of the drink rather than what they mix in it. A Bloody Mary Bar is a fun addition to any tailgate / brunch / day drinking get together. Bloody Mary Mix, 3 or 4 bottles of vodka, a shitload of garnishes, cups and ice...and Voila! You have a Bloody Mary bar!

Celery Stalks
Lemon Wedges
Lime Wedges
Cheddar Cheese Cubes
Tabasco Sauce
Salt & Pepper
Celery Salt
Worchestershire Sauce

Think Outside the Glass
Cherry Tomatoes
Dill Pickle Spears
Pickled Green Beans...or Carrots...or Asparagus (you get it!)
Cucumber Wedge
Crisp Strip of Bacon
Sprig of Cilantro
Sprig of Basil
Bleu Cheese Stuffed Olives
Red Onion
Banana Pepper
Jalapeno Pepper
White Castle Slider...if you can fit it on a toothpick, it constitutes as a garnish!

I hope your tailgate parties are sunny and dry and your team rewards your efforts with a W. I hope your chili is thick and heartburn free. I pray your mums are alive for more than four days (if they are, let me know your secret), and the neighbor kids don't murder your pumpkins before Halloween. And if you a have a hangover on Sunday, I hope Nurse B. Mary sets you straight. Happy Fall RollnUpers!