Texas-flavored Bloody Mary recipes for your Sunday Funday

The perfect Bloody MaryThere are billions of reasons for day drinking on a Sunday: you need a little hair of the dog, your NFL team is winning, you’re thirsty in church, it’s the holidays and you have a house full of family drama, to name a few. And there is no better concoction for a Sunday Funday than a Bloody Mary. Brunch says to it, “You complete me.”

We owe a debt of gratitude to the French for our pervasive Sunday elixir. Legend has it that the Bloody Mary was created by Fernand “Pete” Petiot at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in the early 1920s and after the end of that ghastly period known as Prohibition, he imported his basic recipe to the King Cole Bar in New York.

Over the years the Bloody Mary has taken on a myriad of styles while staying true to its core ingredients. The basic backbone of a bloody — vodka and tomato juice — gives it an ideal frame for an immeasurable variety of spices and garnishes to customize it to suit your mood.

Recently I stumbled across a wonderful book by Judy Bennett, Bloody Marys: Sanguine Solutions for a Slew of Situations, that has dozens of scrumptious recipes to fit any reason you have for drinking a cocktail. In her book, Bennett mixes wit and wisdom as deftly as she mixes booze and bitters. It’s full of clever anecdotes to accompany each recipe.

As a food and drink writer, I felt it was my duty to work my way through the book, finding the recipes I like best for conjuring a mid-day haze on a lazy afternoon. We are fortunate to have several excellent hand-crafted vodkas made right here in Texas like newcomers 1876 Vodka and Starlite Vodka from Treaty Oak Distilling Co.; and stalwarts like Deep Eddy VodkaDripping Springs VodkaSavvy Vodka and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. I substituted all of the recommended vodkas in Bennett’s book Texas vodka to give them a local flair. Give these a try.

Bloody Mary made with Texas Vodka

Go Packers
This is the official tailgate recipe of the Green Bay Packers, but you can make it suitable for a Longhorns, Cowboys or Texans game by mixing it with local Deep Eddy Vodka.

  • Generous amounts of Worcestershire sauce, 4-5 dashes
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • 3 dashes celery salt
  • Juice from 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 fingers Deep Eddy Vodka
  • 2-3 fingers tomato juice
  • Dill pickle spear, to serve (optional)
  • Garlic-stuffed green olives, to serve (optional)
  • Pepperoncini, to serve (optional)

Add ice to a 12-ounce plastic cup and set aside. Put the first four ingredients in a second plastic cup and add the vodka and tomato juice. Pour the mixture into the first cup, then pour everything back into the second cup. Keep pouring back and forth until it is well blended. Squeeze a little lemon, garnish and serve.

My Kids Found My “Private Drawer”
For those times you just want to forget what just happened, try this tangy and spicy Mary.

  • 1 shot Dripping Springs Texas Orange Vodka
  • 1 shot sake
  • 1 tsp. wasabi
  • 6 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 tsp. dried ginger powder
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • Fresh cilantro to serve

Shake and strain all the ingredients (except the cilantro) into a Collins glass with ice. Garnish with cilantro and drink way the memory of what just happened.

This is My First Really Healthy Relationship
When your heart is going pitter patter for someone special, here is a classic recipe for two.

  •  Several dashes salt and black pepper
  • 1 jigger Starlite Vodka
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp. horseradish
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 ounces high-quality tomato juice
  • 1 fresh lemon, cut in wedges, to serve
  • Several pickled asparagus spears, to serve

Rim two Old Fashioned glasses with the salt and pepper in equal measure. Combine the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Strain and pour over ice in the prepared glasses and garnish with lemon wedges and asparagus.

The Way to a Man’s Heart is Through His Stomach, But That’s Not Where I’m Headed
When you’ve conquered the early phases of romance and are ready for the power of time tested aphrodisiacs for a real Sunday Funday, this recipe is for you.

  • 46 ounce bottle of tomato juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  •  ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. steak sauce
  • 2 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp. celery salt
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. horseradish
  • 1 750ml bottle of 1876 Vodka

Excluding the vodka and garnishes, whirl the ingredients together in a blender. Fill pint glasses with ice and 2 shots of vodka each. Top with the tomato mixture, then garnish with an asparagus spear and a stalk of celery.

Whether you are looking for a Bloody suitable for Queen Mary or for something appropriate for a Roman circus, there is a recipe for you in Bennett’s Bloody Mary bible. I know which one I’m mixing next.

Samples were provided by 1876, Deep Eddy Vodka, Savvy Vodka, Starlite Vodka and Tito’s. I still have some left if you want to come over and mix up a few more batches with me. Cheers!

This story was originally published on CultureMap

What are you drinking? 

Dress Up, Dress Down: Savvy Vodka and Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka

Austin, Texas knows how to live graciously with refined, yet unpretentious style. It also knows how to live easy in shorts and flip flops poolside or by the lakes. Austinites feel right at home lounging on a rough-hewn dock and mingling in cocktail attire at an art opening in the same day. Fortunately we have home-grown vodkas that suite both of those moods: Savvy Vodka and Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka.

For those nights when you feel sophisticated and want a drink to match, Savvy Vodka fits the bill. When you’re feeling down home, Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka is as comfortable as a worn pair of cut-offs.

To learn a little bit more about both of these spirits I visited an unassuming building in North Austin which houses the distillery of both vodkas. Chad Auler, founder and CEO, gave me the low-down on the operations. Like Auler, a sixth-generation Texan, both vodkas are Texan through-and-through.

Savvy Vodka

The Savvy Vodka recipe calls for local ingredients, including high quality corn from south Texas and water from central Texas. In developing the recipe, the Savvy team tested multiple ingredients. You might think that the son of the founders of one of Texas’ oldest wineries, Fall Creek Vineyards, would go with grapes. Nope. Auler finds grape vodka to be a little more astringent and potato a little thicker than he prefers. He chose corn because it imparts a hint of sweetness on the nose. The Savvy team was shooting for a flavor profile that was balanced, smooth, slightly sweet and creamy.

According to Auler, there are three things that make great vodka:

  1. The distillation process
  2. Proper filtration
  3. Quality water

There are two types of distillation – column and pot. Vodka goes through multiple rounds of distillation and each round removes more impurities. Pot distillation is the original method, used for hundreds of years and is still used by boutique distilleries and large operations alike. With pot distillation, the distillate has to go in and out for one distillation and then repeated. In a column, the distillate is circulated continually. The column holds an exact temperature to keep it right at boiling point of ethyl alcohol which allows the bad alcohols to cook off while preserving the good stuff.

Auler found a renowned still maker out of Kentucky who steered him toward a custom designed column still to get the best quality. The continuous distillation allows for the vodka to be distilled the equivalent of 20 times or more in a single run. It’s not only efficient in distillation, but it’s also environmentally efficient. To cool the vodka as it vaporizes, keeping the cycle going, Savvy continually cycles 2,000 gallons of cold water. The recirculating water is used for up to a year, saving thousands and thousands of gallons. Not only that, but the still itself uses a fraction of the energy of a pot still. Savvy and conscientious.

Next comes the filtration. Savvy Vodka is filtered six times over activated charcoal to remove any remaining impurities. The aim is to produce the smoothest vodka possible.

Water is essential to vodka, because the multiple distillations give it higher alcohol content than desired. In fact, the Savvy Vodka comes off the still at an eye watering 190 proof. They diluted that hooch to a palatable 80 proof using, what Auler describes, the best water in Texas. The water comes from aquifer on the Fall Creek property owned by his family. They have run independent tests conducted by the Lower Colorado River Authority and the University of Texas to validate its purity.

Here is Chad describing the water’s source.  

 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9o3KWY9Phs[/youtube]

Auler is typically a martini drinker, but on hot summer days when friends invade his back yard he makes what he calls a Daryl Royal.  He mixes Savvy Vodka with Topo Chico and a splash of grape juice and a squeeze of fresh lime. It’s a refreshing outdoor drink with a touch of sweetness without being over bearing. His drink recipes and job in the beverage business obviously make him a magnet for visitors. He claims he hasn’t run out of vodka at home yet, despite his friends’ consumption. That’s because he hasn’t invited me over yet. Yet.

I gave it a try, and I would make a run on his stock. I tasted this straight, slightly chilled in a chilled martini glass to release the aromas. 

Look Crystal clear like fresh water melting from a million year-old iceberg, flowing at its own pace, viscous and silky.
Smell Delicate floral scent, light and clean. 
Taste Silky smooth hint of sweet almond, dough and pepper. It has a smooth lingering finish with a mild bitterness on the end. 
Price $21

 

I gave Beautiful Wife a blind taste of Savvy next to another premium vodka. She winced at the strong taste and heat of the first vodka, describing it as harsh and overly peppery. She smiled slightly at the second one and described it as smooth, thicker, less peppery and even kinda sweet. She preferred the second glass, the Savvy vodka. There’s more to her than beauty.

Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka

Sweet iced tea is ridiculously popular in Texas. It’s not a stretch for it to be mixed with alcohol to make a fun libation. Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka was born a bit more than a year ago when Auler decided to formalize a joint marketing relationship Savvy had with Sweat Leaf Tea, mixing a fun cocktail known as the Sweet and Savvy. Auler met with Clayton Christopher, the founder of Sweat Leaf Tea, realized they have the same strict outlook on making a quality product. The two decided to partner and launch a new product named for a favorite spring-fed swimming pool.

Like Savvy, Deep Eddy uses local corn, water and local honey from Good Flow Honey. It’s not completely local, but it’s all natural 100% pure cane sugar. The black tea is brewed from whole Indonesian tea leaves. Chad and Clayton tested hundreds of tea leaves and made a selection of a very classic tea that had exactly the taste profile they were looking for. 

I think they hit the mark. I tasted this over a few cubes of ice in a rocks glass. Just the way I’d drink it on a hot summer day.

Look Deep caramel brown with a weighty viscosity forming long tears on the side of the glass.
Smell It smells exactly like Grandma’s fresh brewed tea with a hint of honey. Perfect for sipping pool side on a hot summer day.
Taste The approach is all black tea and honey. The mineral backbone of the vodka sneaks in with a hint of heat that lingers with the sweet honey finish. It’s as bracing as the first dive into the cold spring fed waters of Deep Eddy pool in Austin. 
Price $16

 

Between Savvy and Deep Eddy, the still is cranking out around 35,000 to 40,000 cases this year. Right now the two brands are available only in Texas, but that could change in the future. You can find both at your favorite bars, restaurants and shops throughout the state.

My friends who live outside of Texas, keep your eyes peeled for these vodkas to creep over the border. Friends in Texas, you know what I’m talkin about. Whether you are ready to dress up or dress down, you’re covered. Go get ya some.

What are you drinking?

AUSTIN IS THE 4TH DRUNKEST CITY

The Daily Beast ranked the 40 drunkest cities in the U.S. and my lovely city, Austin, ranks #4. I’ll drink to that! Austinites drink 13.77 alcoholic drinks per month, which is actually more than the top three cities. I guess its not hard to imagine that this is a boozy city with the large population of college students, the abundance of good bars and the fine distillers like Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Deep Eddy Vodka, Republic Tequila, Dripping Springs Vodka, Treaty Oak Rum, Savvy Vodka and Graham’s Texas Tea. Who did I miss?

How many drinks do you drink in a month?