Men are notoriously hard to shop for — at least the men in our lives. What’s on their wish lists? Oh, things like sailboats and Tesla sports cars and pricey power tools we know will get just one use (if we’re lucky) before collecting dust in the garage.
But mama always said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so until we win the lottery, we’ll be going the edible route when it comes to Father’s Day gifts — starting with a spicy Bloody Mary tricked out with savory garnishes. We have yet to meet a man who wouldn’t want to wake up to one of these.
Whatever you do, don’t buy store-bought Bloody Mary mix. There’s no point. They always taste dull, and you likely have all the ingredients you need anyway: tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, horseradish, a little celery salt. If you don’t have those versatile staples on hand already, you should.
Then just add a generous splash of good vodka, something smooth. Luckily in Portland, there’s a wide range of locally made options like New Deal, which is made with Oregon-grown wheat.
As for the garnishes, the sky truly is the limit. For once, it’s totally OK and even completely expected to go over the top. Pack that pint with salty, savory goodies like bacon (of course), olives, cocktail onions, pepperoncinis, a juicy prawn or two. Definitely add a celery stick, if only because it’s tradition. And we like to add hard-cooked quail eggs to our skewers, since it’s breakfast time, after all. Just hard-boil them like regular eggs but cut the time down to 4 minutes.
And one of our favorite new garnishes is this Bloody Mary Cocktail Salt from local producer Jacobsen Salt. The secret is they add fish sauce, so the salt packs a wallop of umami flavor. Wrap up the tin with a note promising to make more Bloody Marys and dad will feel truly loved.
Keith’s Spicy Bloody Mary
Makes 1 serving
Wendi’s husband, Keith, is known for his killer Bloody Marys, so instead of reinventing the wheel, we asked him for the recipe. Of course, he’s never written it down, but he graciously agreed to make me one so I could take notes. (It’s a hard job, right?) He mixes his Bloodys right in the glass, but a cocktail shaker makes it bit easier, especially if you’re making more than one. In fact, if you’re serving a crowd you can batch up a quadruple (or more) amount of the mixer ingredients and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to combine with vodka and ice. As for the garnishes, go wild. Get bamboo skewers and load them up with olives, cocktail onions, prawns and tiny hard-cooked quail eggs.
1 lime wedge
Jacobsen Salt Bloody Mary Cocktail Salt
7 ounces tomato juice
2 ounces vodka
10 shakes of Worcestershire
8 shakes Tabasco
2 pinches celery salt
1 to 1½ teaspoons extra-hot creamy horseradish
1 lime wedge
Freshly ground black pepper
Garnishes: celery stick (remove the tough outer fibers with a peeler. If the stick is wide, cut in half lengthwise), strip of crispy bacon, pearl cocktail onions, pepperoncinis, olives, cooked shrimp, hard-cooked quail eggs
Slice a slit in the lime wedge and run it around the rim of a pint glass. Turn the glass upside down and dip it into the cocktail salt to coat to the rim.
In a cocktail shaker, add the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire, Tabasco, celery salt, horseradish, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Add a handful of ice and shake for about 10 to 20 seconds, until the outside of the shaker gets frosty. Strain over the prepared pint glass filled halfway with ice. Squeeze the lime wedge over and drop it in. Add another grind of black pepper and any or all of the garnishes.