Growing up I lived in Ohio and my grandfather lived in California. Sadly, this means we didn’t see each other a lot. Then one summer my parents surprised me with my first plane ride out to California. For a 10 year old kid this felt like winning the lottery. While there I ate massive amounts of fresh clam chowder, got locked in a cell at Alcatraz, walked over the Golden Gate Bridge (very scary if you are wondering), snuck a sip of beer from my dad on a brewery tour and walked till my feet ached.
However, the best part of being in California was spending time with my grandfather and his wife Joanne. He and I would wake up early in the morning to make homemade pancakes, stay up late at night to swim, take road trips to the Redwood forests (just so I could say I walked through a tree) and stay up each night playing cribbage. At 10 years old I may not have valued my time with my grandfather, but looking back it was perfect.
My grandfather was the type of man who could make you feel welcome even if you felt out of place. He would light up a room with his smile and always added a little gin to his morning orange juice. He also used to make a world famous bloody Mary. That summer he taught me how to make his famous drink and I immediately became the family bartender.
I like to think it’s luck that the taught me this secret recipe before he passed away. In fact, every time I visit my family in Ohio, I’m always asked to make a few rounds. Sometimes when I’m in the kitchen making drink after drink, I want to start chatting with him like he is still by my side. We had so much fun in that kitchen together. I’m sure it’s not politically correct to be making drinks at 10 years of age, but it was a blast. I was part of the grown up crowd. Plus this was our special thing. No one else was allowed in our Bloody Mary club.
Don’t worry though. I’m actually not a fan of Bloody Mary’s (or tomato juice) so I never even tried to sneak a sip. How sad is it that the drink you are famous for is the one drink you don’t like? Sad face.
Over the years I have given the drink a few twists, and lately my family has been craving the horseradish edition. It gives the drink a spicy twist that some find refreshing and zesty. Trust me. You’re going to love this cocktail.
We're so grateful to Brandy's granddad for making her an epic drink-maker. If tomato juice isn't your thing, don't miss her banana daiquiri recipe!