Stalking The Duchess-Worthy Bloody Mary (Hold The Octopus)

Since I announced my abdication of Cohencentric, I’ve received many inquiries about my future plans. It can now be revealed that I have undertaken the ultimate humanitarian task: creating a Bloody Mary that pleases The Duchess aka Penny Showalter aka Mrs DrHGuy.

Over the years I’ve identified many of Penny’s preferred potables, such as her favored coffee (Kona) and edibles, such as her popcorn, and cracker of choice (Orville Redenbacher’s Natural Simply Salted and Triscuit Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil, respectively). Determining her desired Bloody Mary, however, is no simple matter. Testing recipes is itself complicated by the fact that The Duchess doesn’t often heft a highball. Her alcohol consumption rarely exceeds a couple of drinks a month. And given that the notion of intentionally imbibing tomato juice – even tomato juice ameliorated with vodka – is enough to make me take the pledge, I’m no help as a taster.

On the other hand, we do know a palate-pleasing Bloody Mary exists. One benefit of our flight from Hurricane Florence was our fortuitous discovery, in Asheville, NC, of the best of this genre at Isa’s Bistro. And, our Very Maui Christmas was enhanced by a delectable, close second best of show Bloody Mary at the Lahaina Grill (which also serves a downright miraculous G&T). As one might imagine, journeys to Maui or Asheville are not always convenient or timely options. Thus the need for a version of this potable that can be constructed at home.

A consideration of Bloody Mary candidates will follow at a future date, but first, my preliminary research on The Bloody Mary has revealed a number of attributes worth contemplating. Today, we focus on

Bloody Mary – The Drink Of Many Garnishes

While the Bloody Mary versions described in quasi-official sources are conservative re embellishments, limiting garnishes to either a solo celery stalk12 or a celery stalk accompanied by a lime wedge,3 there may be no other cocktail that serves as host to so many adornments.

OK, the Bloody Mary sporting an entire second Bloody Mary as part of the garnish in this photo on Reddit, is a hoax, but “common garnishes,” according to Wikipedia, include olives, cheese cubes, a dill pickle spear, lemon wedges, dried sausage, and/or shrimp. And that’s just a start. The Ultimate List of Bloody Mary Garnishes follows:

  • Baby Corn
  • Bacon (the more slices the better)
  • Basil Sprig
  • Beef Jerky (we’ve seen these used as straws too)
  • Carrot Stick
  • Pickled Carrot Stick
  • Celery
  • Cheese Chunks (cheddar squares are our favorite)
  • Chili Peppers
  • Cilantro Sprig
  • Cocktail Onions
  • Cucumber Spear
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cherry peppers
  • Dill Sprig
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Pickled Green Beans
  • Green Pepper Ring
  • Hearts of Palm
  • Horseradish – freshly-grated pinch
  • Jalapenos
  • Pickled Jalapenos
  • Jalapeno Poppers
  • Jicama
  • Kimchi
  • Lemon wedge
  • Lime wedge
  • Orange wedge
  • Grapefruit wedge
  • Olives (increase the flavor with olives stuffed with blue cheese)
  • Onion Rings
  • Onion Straws
  • Parsley Sprig
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pepperonis
  • Pepperoni Stick
  • Peppers (green, red, yellow or orange)
  • Pickle Spears
  • Pickled Asparagus
  • Pickled okra
  • Pickled Beets
  • Pickled Asparagus
  • Radishes
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Rosemary Sprig
  • Scallions (green onions)
  • Shrimp
  • Smoked Oysters or Mussels
  • Steak Bites
  • Zucchini

In the A Meal In A Drink category, Sobelman’s Pub-n-Grill in Milwaukee serves up an entire fried-chicken as the spotlighted element of a Bloody Mary garnish, along with a supporting cast which includes brussels sprouts, celery, onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, lemon, pickles, shrimp, sausage, cheese, olives, green onions, asparagus, and baconadoes (bacon-wrapped jalapeño cheese balls).4


Sobelman’s latest Bloody Mary creation is the Chicken & Waffle Bloody Mary.

And, of course, there is the Bloody Mary “made in an enormous plastic jug and topped with an entire Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s worth of seafood, enough bacon to make an IHOP cry, and a generally weird assortment of large vegetables and cooked poultry. It was interesting.” That concoction includes octopus, Cornish hens, turkey legs, vegetables: peppers, olives, shrimp, a couple of crayfish, and snow crabs. (Check out this undeniably impressive photo)5

So, how does this survey of garnishes impact the search for Penny’s Perfect Bloody Mary? Well, probably not at all, but I’m not the type of chap to keep such essential information to myself. Stay tuned for more Bloody Mary specialties.

Update: The Duchess-Worthy Bloody Mary Investigation: She Likes It Hot

Credit Due Department: Photo atop post by TheCulinaryGeek. Second Bloody Mary photo by goblinbox_(queen_of_ad_hoc_bento) from Minneapolis, MN, US – Fuck yeah bloody mary, CC BY 2.0, Link


  1. King Cole Bar’s method, from bartender Louis Rodopoulos, who learned from the drink originator, Petiot []
  2. Why celery?,It’s meant to be munched on between sips, and permits a “reset” – the cocktail will be fresh upon the tongue the sip after the bite, permitting you to enjoy its flavor and consistency without being oppressed by the cumulative effect of unctuous, spice and salt that is the hallmark of the beverage. Celery is an astringent and an aromatic – it will cut through the palate-coating tomato juice can leave behind, cool the intensity of the salt and heat, and will interrupt the soup-like consistency with a firm crunch. It’s often included in tuna and chicken salad and served with hot wings for the same reason. Other vegetables that tickle our sense of “bitter” in a pleasing way may be similarly substituted – but celery also acts as a handy swizzle stick. Source: Seasoned Advice []
  3. Mr Boston Drinks and International Bartenders Association (IBA) []
  4. Source: ENews []
  5. Munchies []

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