I won’t go so far as saying that I’ve become my father but I welcome the occasional sneaky reminders that I am, indeed, my father’s daughter.

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The Merry Mary: Let’s Fête

The Merry Mary

For as long as I can remember, my dad has always ordered the same drink from the airplane beverage cart: tomato juice, plain and simple. My dad, who hates flying and has always insisted we drive to all sorts of faraway destinations, has always enjoyed the thick, salty brew. But he didn’t just drink tomato juice on the plane; growing up, our fridge was always stocked with it, alongside cans of V8 he’d pop open on hot summer days the way you would a soda or bottle of Corona.

This was well before the glitz and glamour of juicing — before anyone, aside from a handful of Berkeley hippies, thought to juice things like celery, kale, and parsley, no less pour these juices into alcoholic beverages.

For as much as I love tomatoes, I’d always thought that juice made out of tomatoes was unappetizing — despite the numerous claims that tomatoes are *technically* fruit, not vegetables (I’m still on the fence about this one, guys).

The Merry Mary

At some point, I noticed that the one thing I craved on an airplane was the very thing I always found so ‘weird.’ When the drink cart would come by my seat, I found myself — without a second thought — ordering tomato juice, along with the can (always take the can), no ice, and maybe some black pepper. SFO to LAX, SFO to JFK, SFO to LHR. Always a can of tomato juice, maybe two, depending on how long the flight was. Some people do ginger ale, others apple-cran, but for me, the drink of choice has become tomato. It’s tart and filling, and loaded with salt so I’m guessing it’s probably the worst thing to drink on a flight. But habits die hard and this one I’m almost a little bit proud of.

The Merry Mary

I won’t go so far as saying that I’ve become my father but I welcome the occasional sneaky reminders that I am, indeed, my father’s daughter.

Most everyone I know who drinks tomato juice enjoys it spiked with vodka and topped with a glorious array of pickles vegetables. Here in San Francisco, I dream about the Bloody Marys at Zeitgeist (it is, for me, the main reason to go to Matt’s favorite bar). While flipping through Sweet Paul’s gorgeous new cookbook, I stumbled across a recipe that caught my eye: a fresher, lighter take on the Bloody Mary — a “Merry Mary.” Not only was I instantly smitten with the name, but I realized that for all the tomato juice I’ve drank in my life (mostly in airplanes, mostly from a can), I’d never thought to juice tomatoes at home. AND MAKE MY OWN BLOODY MARY! Only the one I’d end up making would be a merrier version — just my kind.

The Merry Mary

I planned to make a cake to celebrate my birthday but, lo and behold, Erin blew me away by making one for me (the recipe can be found on her site). We fêted my birthday at our favorite winery, surrounded by friends and family, and this Memorial Day weekend felt full and long and happy. It seems I’m still unwinding from an extended birthday month filled with travel and bike rides, cocktails and day trips. I can already tell, thirty-one is going to be MY year.

The Merry Mary

The Merry Mary
Adapted from Sweet Paul Eat & Make
*makes one

3 very ripe, very large heirloom tomatoes
1 ounce of lime juice
1 teaspoon of horseradish (bottled or freshly grated)
2 ounces of vodka
freshly grated pepper and salt, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
cucumber and lime slices, for garnish

1. To make the tomato juice by hand: slice the tomatoes in half, then crush them with your hands, squeezing out the juice into a small bowl. Strain out the solids. You can also use a juicer (what I did).
2. Pour the tomato juice into a tall glass. Add the horseradish, tabasco, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, taste and adjust seasonings, then chill for 1 hour.
3. Add ice cubes and vodka. Garnish with thin slices of cucumber and lime and a fresh grating of black pepper.

Print this recipe

Posted by Kasey

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Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • http://londonbakes.blogspot.com Kathryn

    My dad almost always orders tomato juice (with lots of ice) on a flight and is also quite partial to a Bloody Mary from time to time. This fresh version just sounds like a class apart though – what a brilliant idea!

  • chezus

    I am a tomato juice drinker on planes as well. No ice, and with the can. I think of it as a meal. I am slightly full or at least satisfied for a while, and it is refreshing. The funny thing is, I never buy it for the house.

    Happy belated birthday – hope the day was amazing! I keep meaning to drop a note – dying to find out the name of the place you stayed in Tulum. Thinking of trying to get there for someone’s birthday!

  • Nicole

    Yes to making this year YOUR year :) I must try this refreshing take on a bloody mary! It looks lovely!

  • emmabrown

    A) This looks AMAZING, I am instantly craving a bloody mary
    B) YES positive birthday vibes. One of the best feelings in the world!

  • http://www.easylittletiger.com amanda

    i love a bloody mary (well, a maria really as i’m partial to tequila over vodka) but waaaaiiittttt, what? fresh juiced tomatoes? mind officially blown. that sounds insanely good.

  • Kate Ramos

    Oh yes. I too enjoy tomato juice on the plane, as well as a good Bloody Mary. I have too many children to drink a Bloody Mary in the morning that often but I will take one down as a before dinner drink-I’m definitely giving this one a try! Beautiful pictures too!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Yes! It makes a world of difference!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you, Emma!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    “I have too many children to drink a Bloody Mary in the morning” — that just made my day, Kate.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    If I don’t call it, who will, right? :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Ohh I agree — part of the appeal is that it keeps you satisfied for a while, and keeps me from downing down a bunch of pretzels and cookies :) Thanks so much for the sweet bday wishes. We stayed at a place called The Beach in Tulum, and I highly recommend it. More soon. xo

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I think when I made this I immediately thought: I need more Bloody Marys in my life! Cheers, friend.

  • http://cookieandkate.com/ Cookie and Kate

    Kasey, happy belated birthday! And how fun to celebrate with Erin et al. I wish I could’ve been there to clink drinks with you. I can’t say I love tomato juice yet but I have developed a taste for very spicy bloody marys. This one looks phenomenal!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thank you, Kathryne! I wish you were here to celebrate with me, too :0) xo

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