From S., 12 May 2010, the perfect Bloody Mary?
Q: I love Bloody Marys. I hate celery stalks and olives. I was at the George in Vancouver and had a spectacular drink. It was spicy, had lots of celery salt and Worcestershire, a decent amount of horseradish, and most importantly had spicy pickled beans and asparagus. Can you tell me how to make the best homemade bloody mary with an appropriate vegetable sidekick?
A: Thanks for your question. There must be something going around, because I got two questions involving pickles in one day.
I’m not an expert drink mixer. The closest I ever get is following a bourbon with a glass of wine. So I consulted Jason Strich, mixologist at DC’s Rasika, who makes a mean drink. I should know – Rasika is one of my favorite places for a cocktail, and I’ve sampled many off the menu, with handfuls of the delicious sweet-spicy popcorn and crispy fried curry leaves set out at the bar. If you live in DC, you already know what I mean. If you don’t, be sure to stop by Rasika on your next trip to DC. Have a cocktail – the Cucumber Vesper, or Jason’s take on the Negroni, or just ask him to make you something – and follow it up with dinner. My favorites? The black cod, glazed with honey, star anise, and dill, the tawa baignan – tender eggplant with spicy potato, and the palak chaat – crispy spinach made tart and sweet with yoghurt and tamarind.
Anyway, here’s Jason’s Bloody Mary. Spicy and tart, it’s delicious with eggs. Have one on Saturday and forget about everything that went wrong during the week. Garnish it with the pickled green beans from the recipe below, or try Rick’s Picks if you aren’t feeling up to making your own pickles. Rick’s Mean Beans (green beans hot with chili pepper and heavy on the dill) or Smokra (pickled okra with pimenton, not slimy at all) might be right up your alley. You can buy them at WholeFoods in the pickle aisle.
Bloody Good Bloody, courtesy Jason Strich of Rasika, Washington, DC
4 oz tomato juice
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp fresh chopped dill
1/2 oz pickle juice (from whatever pickle garnish you use)
1/2 oz lemon juice
2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
2 shakes Tabasco
1 tsp grated horseradish
2 oz vodka (can use straight, citrus, or Jason’s preference, house-infused with roasted peppers like poblano. You could substitute a pepper vodka)
Combine all ingredients into shaker and shake well. Pour into a pint glass rimmed with a blend of salt (smoked salt is always good), pepper, and chili flakes.
Garnish with pickled veggies. The Smokra from Rick’s Picks would be delicious and its smoked paprika-flavored juice would be an awesome addition to the drink. Jason says “I like beef jerky as well.”
Spicy Dill Beans
Once green beans become available in the summer, you can use up any bumper crop surplus by pickling. These are good with everything. I like them with a cheese plate, with summer sausage, with cocktails, with beer, with roast pork on a sandwich.
1 lb green beans, washed well
1 c distilled white vinegar
1 1/4 c water
2 tsp kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp dill seed
Sterilize 2 pint jars with lids. Trim the beans if necessary so they are about 1/4″ shorter than the top of the jar (if they are shorter, no need to trim).
Bring all the ingredients but the beans and dill to a boil. Meanwhile, pack the beans vertically into the jars and add a couple of sprigs of dill to each jar. Ladle the liquid and an equal quantity of the solids (dill seed, crushed pepper, garlic) into the jars.
Seal tightly and process in a boiling water bath, covered with water, for 10 minutes. Be sure the lid is sealed appropriately. Pickle on the shelf for a couple of weeks before eating.