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Impress your weekend guests with this refreshing, Texas-inspired twist on the traditional Bloody Mary.

Summer Recipe: Bloody Mariachi Cucumber Shots

This week we're proud to welcome guest contributor Katherine Hysmith of The Young Austinian to share with you this flavorful and creative summertime recipe. 

Article, recipes, and photos by Katherine Hysmith for No. 4 St. James. 

The origins of the Bloody Mary are as varied as a Tex-Mex combo plate. 

Several people claim to have invented the cocktail, including famous bartender Fernand Petiot who worked at Harry’s Bar in Paris (a popular Hemingway haunt), and American comedian George Jessel, who frequently ordered the drink at the 21 Club in New York during the 1930s. The cocktail’s name has its own slew of possible inspirations ranging from the name of a bartender’s ex-girlfriend to the horrible mispronunciation of Vladimir Smirnov of the famous Smirnoff family whose vodka typically spiked the drink. While completely unrelated to the American processed tomato juice widely available in the early 1930s or the Russian alcohol used in the drink, the name Bloody Mary is most often attributed to Mary Tudor, the mid-sixteenth century Catholic queen of England who held the same unfortunate nickname. 

Over the years, the origin stories have been embellished – likely during the consumption of a Bloody Mary or two – and additional ingredients, like lemon juice, spices, and sauces, were added. A popular morning-after tonic, the Bloody Mary is served at both bars and brunches alike, and is garnished with things like pickles, celery stalks, citrus wedges, and olives as well as more outlandish adornments such as miniature hamburgers, meat kebabs, and even whole slices of pizza. Essentially, the Bloody Mary has morphed into a Bloody Mess. 

That’s why I’d like to introduce you to the fresh tomato Bloody Mariachi (also known sometimes as the Bloody Maria). Much like the Bloody Mary, the Bloody Mariachi starts with a tomato base. Instead of the traditional heat-processed tomato juice, the Bloody Mariachi uses a bright puree of fresh, ripe tomatoes (but you can, of course, substitute a high quality flash-heated tomato juice instead). Other typical savory flavors – like Worcestershire sauce and celery salt – are swapped for more Mexican inspired notes like cumin and Texas hot sauce. And, of course, tequila replaces the bland, flavorless vodka. 

This cocktail begins and ends with the fresh produce: only the sweetest tomatoes will do. Additional flavors are kept to a minimum so that the subtle notes of the tequila and the grassy scent of fresh tomatoes can shine. The final kick of fresh comes in the form of hollowed out cucumber shot glasses and a tasteful garnish of Halo del Santo spiced rim salt and a single cilantro leaf (which you can omit if it seems too flashy). 

Like most cocktails, the Bloody Mariachi is also easy to enjoy sans spirit (try subbing in a bit of tonic water or seltzer instead), turning it into a sort of healthy warm-weather refresher perfect for long afternoons on a sun-soaked porch. And in the end, you get to eat the cucumber. 

Bloody Mariachi

Makes about a dozen cucumber shots 

1 lb fresh tomatoes

3/4 cup Texas tequila blanco (refer to No. 4 St. James' Build Your Texas Bar: The Agave Spirits article to learn about Texas-Based tequilas)

Juice of two limes

1-2 teaspoons hot sauce (such as Yellowbird Sauce from Austin, TX)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of cumin

3-4 large cucumbers, washed and peeled

Salt for garnish (such as Halo del Santo spiced margarita salt)

Cilantro for garnish

1. Puree tomatoes in a blender, press liquids through a sieve, discard solids, and reserve puree.

2. In a large pitcher, combine tomato puree, tequila, lime juice, hot sauce, pepper, salt, and cumin. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use or at least one hour. Be sure to stir again before stirring.

3. Slice a cucumber into 2-inch cylinders. Using a small paring knife, corer, or a small sharp spoon, start at one end of the cucumber cylinder and remove the core (leaving a bit at the very end) until the cucumber resembles a small cup. The walls of the cup should be thin, but not too thin, in order to hold more liquid. Dip the edges of each cup in spiced salt and fill with the chilled tomato mixture. 

- KH


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About Katherine Hysmith

Katherine Hysmith is a native Texan living in Massachusetts, and is the creator of the popular food site The Young Austinian. She is a food writer, photographer, and accomplished epicurean, boasting a Masters degree in gastronomy from Boston University and an impressive archives of beautifully photographed recipes, available at The Young Austinian

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