When I was little, I used to spend every holiday with my grandparents. While they always hosted Christmas, on New Years Day we would usually go to a party held at the house of a family friend. I remember this tradition fondly and about 10 years ago, decided to recreate it, inviting friends over for a hangover-busting New Year’s Day brunch. The central theme of this brunch has always been “Bacon.”
As in, “come for the bacon, you know you want it.”
Yes, the uber-trendy ingredient of 2009 has been the most popular part of brunch at my house for the better part of a decade. Every year I cook at least 5 lbs of it and it disappears like sharks into the swirling chum. This is no fancy-schmancy bacon, nor it even my own homemade stuff, just plain old Farmer John, cooked to a crisp. It’s gone within minutes of hitting the chafing dish.
There’s no recipe for me to share here, just my recommendation for a successful brunch; cook bacon and they will come.
So, instead I’m going to share with you the other thing people always comment on; my homemade Bloody Mary mix which I’ve been told “kicks ass.” And that’s not about a generous pour of vodka either, it’s about the spicy/salty/umami taste of the mix itself.
Personally, I like to drink it plain because I don’t like vodka, though this time I’m thinking of sneaking some tequila into mine. It’s been a rough month.
A "kick ass" recipe for a spicy homemade Bloody Mary mix.
2Tbsphot saucelike Tabasco
2.5ozlemon juiceabout 2 lemons
1.5ozlime juiceabout 2 limes
2tspfresh ground black pepper
2tspkosher or sea salt
64oztomato vegetable juice
Mix all of the ingredients together except the tomato juice. It should yield about 1.25 cups of mix. Add as much or as little to the tomato juice as you prefer. I usually start with about 1/2 cup of mix for every quart of juice. Add your preferred alcohol, or drink it as a Virgin Mary.
Tomato Vegetable Juice; most Bloody Mary mixes use canned tomato juice, and that’s fine, but I prefer a tomato vegetable juice like V-8 or the one from Trader Joe’s which is what I usually use now. It has more flavor. If I had canned some of my fresh tomato juice this summer, I would certainly consider using that instead. But given that fresh tomatoes are not in season right now, I’ll stick with the tomato vegetable juice.Horseradish; The recipe calls for prepared horseradish (yes, the stuff in the jar), but if you can find fresh horseradish root, you could use that, just make sure it’s grated very fine, and adjust the amount to your personal taste.Olive brine; this is the stuff out of a jar of good green olives. I have a bottle of “dirty martini” olive brine so I used that rather than leave my olives dry in the jar.