Birthday Bloody Mary

My parents, sister and I always went on vacation in August, and were usually away from home on Janet’s birthday. Those were glorious road trips, staying in funky little holiday cabins and touring local, rarely-visited historic sites. Stopping at a country farm stand in late afternoon, we would often make a meal of fresh sweet corn and ripe, red beefsteak tomatoes. Janet has always adored tomatoes in any form, and especially in this grown up birthday beverage made with homemade tomato juice that reminds her of those magical summer days.


Homemade Tomato Juice
2 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
1 celery stalk
½ shallot

Makes enough juice for 3 to 4 Bloody Marys.

Birthday Bloody Mary
2 ounces vodka
5 ounces homemade tomato juice
½ teaspoon horseradish
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
Splash of Tabasco sauce
Dash of celery seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1 celery stalk with leaves
1 lemon slice
1 small cherry tomato

Remove heels from tomatoes, coarsely chop and place in blender. Trim and coarsely chop celery stalk and add to blender. Chop shallot and add to blender. Blend mixture on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Run juice through a strainer, chinoise or food mill to remove tomato skin and seeds and set aside.

Put a few ice cubes in an 8-ounce glass. Pour 2 ounces of vodka over ice, then add tomato juice until glass is nearly full. Add horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, celery seeds, salt and pepper. Stir well and garnish with celery stalk, lemon and cherry tomato.

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