Category Archives: How to Make Cocktails

Tips for creating the best cocktail recipes

7 Ways to Ruin a Bloody Mary

The bloody Mary cocktail has seen a renewed popularity in 2013.  What began as a simple combination of gin or vodka and tomato juice has evolved into a national obsession.  It seems that every restaurant, bar, tailgater, and foodie across this great land is in a competition to craft the best bloody Mary.  Garnishes tower like monuments to false gods and seasonings and mixes pile up train wrecks. It’s as if a fourth year engineering student decided to take up chemistry as a hobby.
Before you start constructing a scaffolding for your morning cocktail, take a moment to reflect upon what is truly important to your inner alcoholic. Rather than instruct you in the best way to make a bloody Mary cocktail, let’s examine the pitfalls that have been the undoing of so many morning beverages. Consider these seven ways in which many have ruined this otherwise lovely icon of day drinking.

The Seven Deadly Bloody Mary Sins

Bloody Mary Tips
7 Roads to Hell
  1. Fail to thoroughly mix it. So you’re in a hurry- maybe just do a shot then. If you’re going to make a bloody Mary, take the time to mix it thoroughly.
  2. Don’t chill it. Come on, fill the glass with ice and let it do its job. A properly chilled drink retains its flavor and is more pleasing to the palate than one matching your body temperature.
  3. Over-engineer it.  You’ve probably experienced this.  Some ham-handed bartender gets ahold of a few too many ingredients and the next thing you know you’re drinking steak sauce and rose petals.  Keep it simple, and for god’s sake, don’t sh1t-pile it!
  4. Make a large batch days in advance.  Bars are usually the culprit on this one, but an over-anxious tailgater might do it too.  Mixing the ingredients long before consuming them allows the acids in tomato juice to start breaking down the flavors.  Make your drink fresh following the japanese production technique of just-in-time.
  5. Use a store-bought pre-mix.  Admittedly, there are times when the convenience of a mix is too hard to resist, but think of these like TV dinners.  They should not be your go-to solution.


6. Become so obsessed with constructing an amusement park on top of your drink that you forget the basics.  I don’t care how many exotic cuisines and movie tickets your bloody Mary boasts.  If the drink sucks, you’ve wasted time, energy, and money.  We call this practice garnouflage.

7. Withhold  or charge extra for a beer chaser.  If you  must build the added cost of a beer chaser into your price, do it.  To skip this valuable component of the experience is sloppy, and to charge extra for it is offensive.

So you like bloody Mary’s? Wouldn’t you like to see the quality of these drinks improve throughout this great land?  Share these tips with your friends, coworkers, bartenders, and lovers.

Rum Runner Drink Recipe

Memorable Rum Drink Recipes

The Rum Runner

Rum Runner Recipe
Rum Runner Drink

It was March. I had taken a week off from everything-checked out. I needed to shed the layers upon layers of habit and responsibility that kept me from writing that book. I booked a flight to the western coast of Florida with surprisingly little research into destinations. All I wanted was a beach and a quiet room with a balcony upon which to write. I did not set out to write about rum drink recipes. However if I am to write a book about the topic, the title will be, “the Rum Runner.”

Leaving the cold gray streets, still covered in the dirty sand and salt of another harsh upper Midwest winter, I boarded the plane pointing due south. I ordered my usual bloody Mary and prayed that my flight neighbors would leave me alone.

Stepping off the plane, I was welcomed by palm trees, blinding sun, and the smell of the ocean. Grinning like a kid, I felt twenty pounds lighter. I hopped into the rental car and drove to the beach. For a moment, it seemed like that pirate on the Captain Morgan’s billboard’s eye followed me…

Finding my way to the room after a walk to the waters edge, I went straight to work on the book. It went well, but I could hear the waves and smell the sea, and tanning lotion….

Rum Runner Drink Recipe

or: Why the book did not get written
I consider myself to be a person with good focus. I’ve learned to work through distractions. But, as Herman Melville observed,

Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets avenues—north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?

The pull of that great sea was too much distraction. I put down my pen and told myself that a short break would benefit my writing. I strolled down the beach and stopped at a grass-covered tiki bar. It was a hot sunny day and I was thirsty. “Got any good rum drink recipes? I’m feeling tropical,” I asked the barkeep.

“Rum Runner,” was his singular response.
“Excuse me?” I hadn’t shaved and wore the shorts I’d had on for a few days, but I didn’t think I looked like someone who ran illegal rum for a living.
“The Rum Runner -It’s our best rum drink. The locals love it and so do the tourists.”
“Hit me up!” He then proceeded to handle what seemed to be every bottle and variety of rum in the place. I thought I saw some juice go in the drink too.
“Be careful. These taste like fresh juice, but they’ll knock you on your butt.”

Oh my God.

This thing tasted like heaven. In that hot sun it was so quenching that I don’t think it even reached my stomach. Obviously I’d need another. He was quick to deliver. Obviously he knew his way around rum drink recipes. That brightly colored drink with its bouquet of orange slice and cherry- it seemed to say, “welcome to the beach. Your troubles are over now.”

The bartender looked a bit surprised as he turned to find another empty glass. “I don’t know why they call ’em rum runners- they sure don’t last long! One more please”
“You’re not driving are you?” Nope. And so the trip took a delicious turn.

Some have postulated that Hemingway’s greatest work was not what he wrote, but the life that he lived. I decided to go with that.

rum drink recipes
Rum Drink Recipes

After hounding the poor bastard for weeks, I finally got the bartender to give up the rum runner drink recipe. He shared it under the condition that I not disclose the famous bar where it is served, or who he was. For that reason, I have taken some artistic liberty in the telling of this story.


1 oz Parrot Bay orange flavored rum
1 oz each; pineapple, coconut, and mango flavored rums
1 oz each; orange, pineapple, and cranberry juices

Pour all ingredients over ice, shake vigorously, and serve in a tall glass. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry. Repeat as needed.

Rum is like a trojan horse disguised as fruit juice

Found a nice peanut butter banana smoothie recipe that might be good with rum…

How to make a smoothie
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Recipe


-Greg Tooke My short bio

Best Margarita Mix

In Search of the Best Margarita Mix

Best Margarita Recipe

People who love Margarita’s, (in other words, those who have ever had a good one), will travel miles, read volumes, and torture bartenders to find the best Margarita mix recipe.

It wasn’t until I traveled to Mexico several years ago that I developed a full appreciation for this wonderful cocktail. Spanish for daisy, Margarita can mean many things to different people. My early exposure, (and subsequent disinterest in the drink), was of a blended, overly sweet froo-froo drink at a chain restaurant. Not the best margarita recipe! It was a far cry from the potent tequila delivery system served in the Mexican border town I visited years later.

What I learned there was an important lesson in margarita mix creation: It’s all about the tequila! Bad tequila = bad Margarita!best margarita mix Maybe it’s just psychological, but I have always associated tequila with good times. Nothing starts the night off better for me than a nice blanco! So let’s get to the ingredients in the best margarita recipe;

Kosher Salt (for rimming the glass)
1 1/2 ounces good quality tequila (blanco is best)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Cointreau

*optional- TBSP agave nectar for added sweetness

Use the best quality tequila you can afford and NEVER use anything but fresh lime!

Now that you have the best ingredients for your cocktail, pick out a nice glass. Presentation matters. I like a nice wide rim with plenty of surface area to hold salt. The traditional margarita glass is tapered from top to bottom with a stem to help preserve its chill.

First fill the glass with ice water to chill it while mixing. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add all ingredients except salt. Shake vigorously. Empty the glass of ice water, rub lime around the rim, and plunge rim of glass into the kosher salt. Now strain the the drink into the chilled and rimmed glass. Done! The perfect Margarita!

Be careful! These things are delicious and surprisingly potent. Rookies often get in trouble by over-indulging.

To fully appreciate the best margarita recipe, put on some nice Mariachi music while preparing and drinking.

If you don’t want to make your own Margarita from scratch, we highly recommend Demitri’s all natural mix.  We reviewed both regular ans sugar-free recipes. We preferred the classic, but both were absolutely delicious.

Demitris Margarita
Demirtri’s Margarita Mix- Special offer!


What is in a Bloody Mary?

what is in a bloody MaryBloody Mary Recipe Guide

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what is in a bloody Mary, wait, why not a dime…?

I’ll never remember my first bloody Mary. It was many years ago and unremarkable. My readers know that for many years now, I’ve devoted a moronic amount of time and energy to the preparing, serving, and drinking of bloody Mary recipes. I’ve spent even more time researching and blogging about what is in a bloody Mary. Since my first bloody Mary recipe, I’ve diverged into the exploration of all the things that vodka, tomato juice, V-8, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, horseradish, peppers, and some pretty crazy other stuff can become.

What you see here is the culmination of all of these excursions into, well inebriation many times, but also my travels, conversations, experiences serving, writing about what is in a bloody Mary, or what SHOULD be, and how it should be mixed.

How Do You Make a Bloody Mary?

Every single page of this site is open to comments. Please take a moment to share your critique, or your own bloody Mary recipe. I can’t carry this huge load all by myself. And, would it kill you to like us on Face Book? Come on man! Speaking of Face Book- We have a persona there. I post photos of my latest cocktail, as well as the gorgeous women I’m enjoying them with. Send me a friend request- I’m not picky about the company I keep!  My Big Fat Bloody Face Book

I’ve also had a damned good time guest bar tending at a few places, promoting Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasonings, trying to improve people’s quality of life through better cocktails. I’ve created several ridiculous videos to promote these events, as well as the bloody Mary recipe site in general. Check out our Youtube channel:  My Big Fat You Tube Channel 

So grab your shaker, and all those wonderful ingredients that make the bloody Mary the queen of cocktails, pour an icy cold beer to chase it with, and peruse these pages. Unless you’re completely illiterate or very stubborn, you’re bound to come away with a chuckle, a mild buzz, and a better understanding of what is in a bloody Mary.

Cheers! -Greg

Infused Vodka | How to Infuse Vodka

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Infused Vodka

How to infuse vodka
How to infuse vodka

How to Infuse Vodka
Infused vodka was a turning point for me. I have come a long distance on my journey to the perfect bloody Mary recipe. As a student of the Hemingway school, I mixed them by the pitcher and believed, “anything less is worthless.” As I learned that one size does not always fit all, I began hand crafting my bloodies, one at a time, to the tastes of my guests. These guests have guided my hand as I explored various ratios of ingredients and new flavors.

I learned very early that most of the common ingredients in a bloody Mary contain salt. I like salt but, like Tylenol in a good pain-killer, it limits the amount of each ingredient one can safely add. (Thank God- there’s no salt in vodka!)

In order to take more control over my bloody Mary, I began buying fresh peppers, celery, garlic, onions, and horseradish root, and dehydrating them. I’d then grind them and sprinkle varying amounts into my bloody Marys, without fear of overdosing on sodium. It’s wonderful and I recommend trying it! Once I developed what I thought was a good ratio of each, I concocted an,”Ultimate Bloody Mary Seasoning Mix.” (I may sell it, but for now, I’m keeping it!)

Then I got thinking…That dehydrator kicks out heat all night long. Why spend all of that energy dehydrating my lovely vegetables, only to re-animate them later? Inspired by the cold press coffee movement, and my eco-frenzied sweetheart, I had an epiphany. I would eliminate the energy and flavor sucking middle man, and infuse these vegetables directly into my infused vodka!

I buy organic, and when possible, locally grown vegetables, cut them into quarters, pack them into a large glass decanter, and fill with vodka. In about ten days I feel like an alchemist with a gallon of gold. Here are a few things I’ve infused into my vodkas over the past year:

Infused vodka is not limited to the obvious. I’ve infused lemons, limes, peppercorns, horseradish root, radishes, habanero, jalapeno, bell, and banana peppers, onions, garlic, celery, even bacon. (Mmm) Next on my list are fresh dill weed and cucumbers.

Nothing beats the full fresh flavor that infused vodka creates. I still enjoy going back to a Hemingway from time to time, but most of my bloody’s these days spring from that lovely decanter.

A few things to keep in mind in regard to infused vodka;

Leafy vegetables and porous items infuse quickly. a few days is all that is needed. Peppers are a great choice for your infused vodka but be careful. If you leave them in the booze more than a week or two, the vodka will become bitter. Infusing with bacon is a delicious way to improve your bloody Mary but be sure the bacon is fully cooked before infusing!
Greg Tooke My short bio

Feel free to share your own infused vodka ideas by clicking on the COMMENTS link below. Cheers!

So you have your infused vodka-now what? Check out some of our bloody Mary recipes!

Bloody Mary Bar

Bloody Mary Bars

What Makes a Great Bloody Mary Bar?

bloody Mary bar
bloody Mary bar

Bloody Mary bars are a fun and practical way to deliver high quality, personalized bloody Mary cocktails to large numbers of people. If set up correctly, guests can take pride and ownership of their bloody. You’ll seldom get complaints and people will talk about the awesome cocktail they created at your bloody Mary bar.

As I’ve stated in various bloody Mary recipes, there are two very important factors affecting the quality of this drink: Freshness and temperature. Keep the bloody Mary ingredients as chilled as possible. Filling a salad bar or large tub or cooler with crushed ice is a good start.

Keeping the individual ingredients properly chilled will ensure that they retain their flavor and taste their best. It will also allow you to keep the unused portions longer. It’s also important to keep ingredients separate to the greatest extent possible. While it is handy to prepare the best bloody Mary mix in advance, remember: as soon as tomato juice is mixed with other ingredients, the acids in it begin to break them down. The other advantage to keeping the ingredients separated is that unused portions can easily be put back into cold storage for use in your next bloody Mary bar.

It’s best to give your guest an ice filled glass with vodka poured from the bar and let them run from there. Rim salt is also a nice touch. Demitri’s makes a phenomenal bacon rim salt. There is real excitement as he or she carries that vessel of potential to your bloody Mary bar.

So what ingredients should a good bloody Mary bar be stocked with? Let’s start from left to right, and let’s arrange the ingredients of the bloody Mary bar this way too. It will allow for a smooth flow of traffic. On a side note, try to place the bloody Mary bar in a fairly open, accessible area. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting in a line behind some tight little alcove while Aunt Verna considers the pro’s and cons of garlic stuffed olives.

Start with good quality tomato juice and V-8 juice. If you must, offer your famous Uncle Freddie’s secret xxx bloody mix. Label each clearly. Moving right, and still in the chilled portion of the serving area, place as many hot sauces as possible. At a minimum, offer regular and green chili Tabasco, siracha, and one other. In the same area place the Worcestershire. (A must!) As you move further right, get a little creative: pickle juice? fresh horseradish? Place two bowls of cut citrus: one lemon, the other lime.

Now the fun part. This is what people remember, talk about, take pictures of, and post to social media. The garnish! Cover the basics. -of course. Pickles, celery, olives, cheese cubes all should be present. Don’t stop there. Make your bloody Mary bar something to talk about. Consider adding items like pickled onions, okra, cherry peppers, peperoncini, garlic stuffed olives.  Bacon is very hot right now. Other meats like beef jerky, pepperoni, and summer sausage are great too. Because they’re salted, they hold up well too. Be sure to provide skewers large enough to accommodate a good sampling of these bloody Mary bar garnishes.

Finally, at the far right, and out of the ice, stock a black pepper grinder, ground cayenne pepper, and fresh ground celery salt. (Another must!) When it’s all set up, call me. It sounds great!

Cheers! -Greg Tooke My short bio

***Have you been to a really good bloody Mary bar?  Tell the world about it.  Think you have a good one?  Here’s your chance to brag! Enter comments below.  Thanks!