Good for what ails you. Or so I tell myself.
I’ve been known to turn to spicy tomato based drinks whenever I start feeling under the weather. Bloody Caesars are my standby, their endless substitution and ability to take on big flavours so well means I never tire of them. But bloody marys? Eh. Never been all that excited about them. Plain old tomato juice, some worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and vodka… yawn. Nothing about them has ever stood out to me enough to order one off a menu.
That is, until I started making my own tomato juice base. This is where you can pump in some big, bold flavours to amp up the appeal of your bloody mary. Roasting the tomatoes until their juices are sweet and concentrated gives you a great base to start with. If you just pureed the roasted tomatoes, you’d have a pretty killer tomato juice. But I wanted to pump things up even more than that. And this juice is BIG. Lots of complex flavours, lots of spice and depth.
I’m dealing with a nasty bout of bronchitis right now and I can safely say that this did not cure it. But it did bring a smile to my face on an otherwise crappy day. I imagine this version of a Bloody Mary would be well-received at a mid-afternoon brunch (or a morning brunch… but I’m a lush so I understand if you’d like to push this to after 12pm). Drink it and be healthy…and drunk.
Roasted Tomato Vegetable Juice
makes approx. 6-8 cups
10 roma tomatoes (about 3 lbs)
2 jalapenos, cut in half + seeds and veins removed
3 stalks of celery, rough chopped
1/3 white or yellow onion, rough chopped
1 tbsp horseradish
1 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on spice tolerance)
fresh ground pepper
Juice from 1 lemon (2-3 tbsp)
1 1/2 cups water
Preheat oven to 300.
Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet cut-side up. Do the same with the jalapenos but removed the seeds and veins. Roast for 40 minutes or until they’ve shrunken down by about half. They should be slightly wrinkled and dry-looking around the edges.
Dump the tomatoes, celery, jalapenos, onion, horseradish, sugar, cayenne, a few pinches of salt and pepper and water to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. At this point you can drink it as is or pour through a mesh-strainer. I prefer a smooth juice so I always strain mine. If it’s too thick, add water to thin it out a bit. Chill and serve.
Spicy Bloody María
makes 2 cocktails
2 ounces white tequila
6 ice cubes, whole or crushed
Worcestershire sauce, 2-3 dashes per glass
Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of choice), as much as you like (I do 3 dashes)
4 cups roasted tomato vegetable juice
2 celery stalks, optional (garnish)
green pimento-stuffed olives, optional (garnish)
Put a few ice cubes in each glass and top each with 1 ounce of tequila. Add your worcestershire and Tabasco sauce and top with the tomato vegetable juice. Garnish with celery stalks and olives, if using.