Culinary-minded Taylor Ellingson kicks off one of Simple, Good & Tasty's new sections, Make It Local, in which our writers attempt everyday dishes and drinks with the challenge of creating an all-local recipe. With spring and summer brunches just ahead, it seemed only fitting to start with a drink that features food on a stick.
Let's be honest — it's just not brunch without a little somethin' somethin' to take the edge off from last night. Whether it's a mimosa, a Summit Saga, or a Bloody Mary, the proper drink turns breakfast into brunch. So in preparation for your next stretch of mid-morning lounge time, challenge yourself: can you make a Bloody out of only local ingredients? Here's my attempt.
Step one: the drink
While I'm all about the garnishes when it comes to a good Bloody Mary it's also important that the actual drink is tasty. I'm not a huge fan of spice, but definitely like a little bit of a kick in my Bloodys.
I discovered Minnesota Mule Bloody Mary mix, made in McGregor, and couldn't pass up buying a jar of the spice blend. You simply combine 1/2 teaspoon per drink with tomato juice, 2 ounces of vodka (I used locally made Prairie Vodka), and voila! A Bloody Mary in mere seconds, with the perfect blend of spice and flavor. They also have varying levels of spiciness to cater to your taste buds. I especially love the flecks of spice floating in my drink.
For another local alternative, check out Minnesota Nice Spice, a company that creates organic seasonings and has some pretty kickin' blends. Their Pub Blend is the go-to for a great Bloody.
At this time of year, local tomato juice can be a tough find. But stop in at the St. Paul Farmers Market — held every Saturday, year-round — and you may still find an industrious farmer who canned enough tomato juice last season to get you supplied.
Step two: the stuff on a stick
Now that we have the perfectly spiced drink, it's time to move onto the garnishes. You can put almost anything on a skewer and stick it in a Bloody Mary, but my favorite garnishes are olives, celery, pickles, beef, and cheese. To find the best local garnishes, I stopped in at The Golden Fig in Saint Paul. This is what I found:
Bleu-cheese-stuffed olives from Lehman Farms in Lakeville, Minnesota. Olives are my absolute favorite Bloody Mary garnish and if I had it my way, I would put at least 5 olives in each one. Without a doubt, I love them even more when they're stuffed with cheese and these bleu-cheese-stuffed olives were no different. Salty, tangy, stinky, and delicious.
Horseradish Havarti cheese from Roth Cheese in Monroe, Wisconsin. When the women at The Golden Fig mentioned this cheese to me, I knew it was perfect for a Bloody Mary. Horseradish is a classic ingredient in a homemade Bloody Mary mix, so this cheese went splendidly, cubed on the stick.
Uncured beef sticks from Thousand Hills Cattle Company in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. Many times, a Bloody Mary is a meal in itself, so let's add some protein. These beef sticks are seriously delicious, and I'd recommend eating one right away and letting a second one soak in the liquid while you're drinking it. Bonus: they are a wonderful way to stir your drink.
Hot green tomato pickles from Talmadge Farms in Duluth, Minnesota. This is my favorite new-to-me garnish in my local ingredient Bloody Mary. I never would have chosen to buy these, but my helper at The Golden Fig insisted they would be perfect. Was she ever right. These tomato pickles are pretty spicy and also packed with a ton of flavor. They were a fun alternative to a regular pickle.
So now that I've shared my "perfect" local ingredient Bloody Mary tell me — what would you add to yours?
Taylor Ellingson is a Minnesota girl who's loving life with her husband Marc and their Golden Retriever Maddie. She loves cooking healthy meals, but it's essential that she has her dessert. All after a hot yoga class or a run, though! It's all about moderation.