Look, I’m calling this “The Best Bloody Mary” because it’s the best Bloody Mary for me, and I have terrific taste, especially when it comes to a good Bloody. But I need to be honest with you right at the get-go here: this isn’t going to be the best Bloody Mary for everyone. In fact, if you show this recipe to another Bloody aficionado, chances are good they’ll turn up their nose: “That’s a fine Bloody Mary,” they might say. “But it can’t hold a candle to mine. Let me tell you what goes into it—" and then get ready to just nod and smile for a while, because a true Bloody Mary lover has a precise recipe that they’ve got down pat, and they want to explain it to you in every nitty-gritty detail. This Bloody Mary, though, is an excellent version. It’s my favorite. And if you invite even the most selective of Bloody experts to brunch, you can serve this one knowing that they’ll enjoy their drink — although they will undoubtedly have some notes about how to “improve” the cocktail.
Some people are a huge fan of tons of horseradish in their bloodies; personally, I think tons of loose, swirly horseradish makes a drink gritty and unpleasant, like choking down a glass full of sandy water. Some people swear by certain hot sauce brand like Tabasco or Cholula or Crystal or some mouth-incinerating personal blend of ghost peppers. In my book, the brand of hot sauce matters (I’m partial to the Tabasco Chipotle myself, due to the nice smokiness), but I don’t think the brand of hot sauce matters nearly as much as the Worcestershire (pronounced, properly, “wuh-ster,” by the way): If it ain’t Lea and Perrins, don’t even bother making a bloody. Just sit in the dark and contemplate your life choices — choices that lead you to an existence in which you could contemplate a Worcestshire sauce made by someone other than Lea and Perrins — instead.
There are folks who are sure that a Bloody isn’t a Bloody unless it comes with a lime wedge or a lemon wedge or a celery stalk or celery salt or an elaborate garnish featuring a crab leg clutching an olive. To these people I say: I respect your pristine interest in the little things in life, and God may very well be in these precise details, but I reserve my passions for the stuff that packs flavor: give me Old Bay on the rim or give me, well, a Bloody I’ll still enjoy, just not as much.
This is a Baltimore-style Bloody Mary (complete with Old Bay rim) which is the best Bloody in my book, although I can certainly be tempted into trying – and appreciating – many a Bloody Mary variation: Wasabi Marys, Bloody Marias, Blackberry Marys, you name it.