Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to try several different Bloody Mary mixes, from BBQ varieties to one with ghost peppers. With 5 different bottles mix in my fridge as of now, I’ve gotten used to pouring myself a Mary on a Sunday afternoon.
My current fave is The Murph’s, particularly the Hot and Spicy variety. Available primarily in New York and New Jersey right now, The Murph’s is very much a traditional-tasting Bloody Mary. It’s very tomato-forward overall, which is exactly what you’d expect. The ingredient list is the same for both versions of Murph’s, though it seems Hot and Spicy just has a heavier dose of horseradish, cayenne, and black pepper (which I love).
There is unfortunately one drawback to The Murph’s: one pesky thing I found in the ingredient list, and that’s corn syrup. Now I’m no scientist or doctor, so I can’t give you a technical reason why, but I don’t like corn syrup. In fact, I avoid the high-fructose variety (HFCS) altogether. Now, the corn syrup in The Murph’s is one ingredient of one ingredient (the Worcestershire sauce), so I can forgive it to some extent, but I just wish it wasn’t in there.
I like The Murph’s and I like the traditional flavor of the mix. On the whole, it make for a tasty Bloody Mary, and it’s a valid choice when you see it on the shelf, I just wish they could dump that one pesky ingredient to perfect the recipe (in my eyes).
Bloody Marys are a strange cocktail for me to grapple with at Simple Cocktails. I’m big on pushing for natural, fresh cocktail ingredients, but a Bloody Mary is almost by nature not simple, and they often tip the scales at 10 ingredients or more. My personal solution to this is to find quality Bloody Mary mixes that I can keep in the fridge and mix with my favorite vodka come brunchtime.
I’ve reviewed Ubon’s Bloody Mary mix before, and now they have just released a Pitmaster’s Hot & Spicy version that I really wanted to try. So far, Ubon’s and Zing Zang have been my favorite mixes, and I preferred the thickness of Ubon’s, but the spiciness of Zing Zang. As you’d imagine, a thick Bloody Mary mix with extra spice would be a perfect recipe for me.
Pitmaster’s is the thickest and tastiest Bloody Mary mix I’ve had yet. The spiciness is pretty understated and not something to be nervous about. In fact, I used UV’s Sriracha Vodka in it, and it was the perfect level of heat for me (I like my Bloody Marys pretty spicy).
Ubon’s Pitmaster’s runs about $10 a bottle online, and if you’re closer to Mississippi or East Texas, you’re likely to find it at retail for about that price too.
Using Moonshine in the place of vodka when you serve up a Bloody Mary is one way to change up a classic recipe. Fortunately, Ole Smoky makes a Bloody Mary mix that you can buy alongside a jar of their moonshine.
To garnish this cocktail, I used some of Tillen Farms‘ pickled vegetables which, like their cherries, is made with cocktails in mind. Here’s the recipe:
Moonshine Bloody Mary
- build in a glass:
- 1 1/5 oz of moonshine
- 4 oz bloody mary mix
- garnish of choice, preferably pickled, like those shown above, olives, gherkins, or a lemon wedge
Ok time for a heart-to-heart here. As someone born in East Tennessee, I get the fascination with moonshine. As a practical element of a home bar, though, moonshine has yet to earn it’s place beyond novelty. In this cocktail, I found the corn-sweetness of the moonshine actually clashed with the savory Bloody Mary. If you want to stick with the Ole Smoky brand for a Bloody Mary, use White Lightnin’, which is more flavorless than their Moonshine.
Ole Smoky’s Bloody Mary mix is good. It’s nice and thick, it has quality, natural ingredients, but lacks the spiciness of Zing Zang or the thick-deliciousness of Ubon’s. I added some Tabasco to pick up the burn.
The Bloody Mary is THE drink for Sunday brunch. Up until now, I’ve avoided posting a Bloody Mary recipe for one primary reason: they’re not simple. The simplest recipe I’ve found was from The Cocktail Spirit, and it has 9 ingredients: vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, celery salt, worchestershire sauce, black pepper, horseradish sauce, ancho chili powder, and a celery stalk garnish.
When I want a Bloody Mary, I buy a mix and put vodka in it. I’m generally very cautious about using mixes, though, because many commercial mixes contain nasty goblins like high fructose corn syrup or MSG. Usually, Trader Joe’s mix is the one I go with.
I do think that if care is used in the mixture and it remains natural, a mix can make for the simplest cocktails of all. Which brings us to Ubon’s BBQ Bloody Mary Mix: an all-natural mix that’s made by award-winning Ubon’s (pronounced YOU-bons) of Yazoo, Mississippi. The mix itself is incredibly tasty and it makes a great Bloody Mary, the best one I’ve ever had. The recipe is simple (of course), but make sure to add the vodka first because Ubon’s is thick and it’s easier to mix this way:
Ubon’s Bloody Mary
- 1 oz of vodka (I used Cathead, also from Mississippi)
- 4 oz Ubon’s BBQ Bloody Mary Mix
- garnish with a celery stick, pickle, asparagus, olives, onion, lemon wedge, crab claw, etc.
I’m giving 3 lucky readers 2 bottles each of Ubon’s BBQ Bloody Mary Mix. Just leave a comment below telling me what you drank during the Super Bowl last night and you’ll be entered to win. Drawing will be held on or about February 18, 2013.