As graduate students at the University of Wisconsin, Bob and I had to watch every penny. A couple of quarters wasted on lettuce or potatoes at the regular price meant fewer beers at Glenn and Ann’s.
However, we did entertain friends from time to time, and some of them liked Bloody Marys. As is the case today, Bloody Mary mix was expensive when compared to ordinary tomato juice. Thus, we learned how to turn canned tomato juice into something that our guests liked when mixed with inexpensive vodka and decorated with a pickle and couple of olives.
We scanned the grocery ads in the newspaper every week. We watched for sale prices on everything. When jars of olives or pickles were on sale, we bought a couple if we were running short. Celery, since it was a fresh vegetable, was more of a problem but we used it in soups, casseroles and even—gasp—ate it fresh. In this way we were able to maintain our reputation as good hosts without tanking the bank account.
One morning we poured glasses of Bloody Mary mix instead of orange juice, which had been consumed by some other guests who enjoyed a sweeter beverage. The enhanced tomato juice was a bit spicy but tasted pretty darned good, and we began making a milder version for breakfast.
The recipe below is the result of over forty-five years of experience in turning ordinary tomato juice into a perfect breakfast drink that is low in carbohydrates but high in flavor. Actually, it will only be perfect when you adjust the recipe to your personal taste, but here is how you start.
1 can (about a quart and a half) cheap tomato juice
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. lime juice
Mix everything together and chill.
NOTES: If you want to make a pretty good Bloody Mary mix, double or even triple the hot sauce, celery salt and lime juice. Stir in a couple teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, and a little cayenne pepper.