We enjoy a Bloody Mary on Ohio State Buckeyes football Saturdays. I spent many years as a bartender in Columbus and worked the Bloody Mary Bar at Hineygate during the 2002 National Championship season. I don’t exaggerate when I say I have poured thousands of Bloody Marys in my bartending career.
Through the years, I’ve developed a Bloody Mary recipe that offers a kick to start those football Saturdays. This year, we came across a great deal on a large quantity of tomatoes. The first thing that came to mind was canning our Bloody Mary mix. After some research, I found the proper method to process tomato juice in a water bath canner. It is necessary to add a half-teaspoon of citric acid to each quart jar due to the lower-acid tendencies of today’s hybrid tomatoes. Citric acid can be found with the canning supplies in most stores under the name “Fruit Fresh”.
This Bloody Mary mix makes 7 quarts and has a thicker consistency than the watery commercial mixes available in stores. The thickness comes from boiling the juice to reduce the volume. We are fortunate to own a food mill/juicer which will remove the skins and cores while squeezing the rest of the tomato into pulp. If you don’t have a food mill, my article How to Prepare Tomatoes for Canning and Freezing will explain how to easily peel tomatoes.
Bloody Mary Mix for Canning
Approximately 25 pounds of fresh tomatoes
5 Tablespoons ground black pepper
5 Tablespoons celery salt
10 Tablespoons ground horseradish (not cream-style)
5 Tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot sauce
After cleaning and peeling the tomatoes, turn them into juice. Working in small batches, process the tomatoes in a food processor or blender until smooth. The seeds will remain and won’t affect the taste of the Bloody Mary mix.
Pour the juice into a large stock pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. Once the juice has started to simmer, add the black pepper, celery salt, horseradish and Frank’s Red Hot. Simmer for another 15 minutes and then taste for seasoning. There should be a nice spiciness to the mixture.
Once the seasonings are correct, increase the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Stirring occasionally, boil the Bloody Mary mix until it has reduced by one-fourth, approximately 60-90 minutes. This will give the mix a nice body and texture when later mixed with ice and vodka.
While the Bloody Mary mix is reducing, prepare your quart jars and water bath canner. PickYourOwn.org provides wonderful step-by-step instructions with photos.
After the Bloody Mary mix has reduced, fill the prepared quart jars. Add one-half teaspoon of Fruit Fresh to the bottom of each jar before filling with the hot liquid. Wipe the rim with a damp cloth, then put the seal in place and tighten the ring.
Place the filled jars in the canner rack, and then carefully lower the filled rack into the canner. Once the water has returned to boiling, begin your timer. At my altitude, the processing time is 40 minutes. Once the processing time is complete, carefully remove the hot jars to a towel-lined surface to cool completely.
To serve this Bloody Mary mix, I suggest pint glasses. Add a jigger of vodka to an ice-filled pint glass and a quick squeeze of lime. Fill the glass with Bloody Mary mix, garnish with a celery stalk or lime wedge and enjoy!