Bloody Marys in Big Bear

The Classic Bloody Mary

The Classic Bloody Mary

If you find yourself able to enjoy a Bloody Mary on a vacation or a weekend (or a snow day!), especially if you’re enjoying it with good friends, consider yourself extremely lucky. So much of our lives is taken up with all of our many obligations, so if you find the time to drink before noon with the people you love, you need to cherish those moments!

After my family and I moved from Southern California to Pennsylvania, we hoped we wouldn’t lose touch with the good friends that we knew we were going to miss. We never imagined that we would be able to make an annual pilgrimage back to the West Coast to reconnect with them and spend many memorable vacations together. Our kids are all close in age and to see them fall back into their friendships after 12 months apart is really heartwarming.

Trips like this wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have our super generous friends the Masons, who always offer up their guest house for us to stay in when we visit. Not only do they welcome us to their home just a few miles from the ocean, but we have also been able to join them for a few long weekends at their lake home in Big Bear.

View from the Masons' deck

View from the Masons’ deck

I sometimes wonder if we are included on their guest list because of my superior drink making skills (or my modesty). It’s not that they ASK me to make the cocktails when we’re together; I just naturally gravitate towards the bar, especially if anyone else tries to hone in. I guess I just feel at home behind, rather than sitting at, the bar. Either way, it’s so gratifying when I see the gang enjoying something I put together. I love being part of what makes the party happen.

Aboard the fireworks-watching vessel

Aboard the fireworks-watching vessel

Last summer over 4th of July weekend, all of us watched the spectacular Big Bear fireworks from the middle of the lake on the Masons’ boat. I won’t soon forget singing along to John Denver tunes as we waited for the sun to go down and the show to begin. That evening capped a fun-filled day of boating, tubing, grilling and drinking Margaritas. And laughing- lots of laughing.

And what better way to enjoy the morning after a fun filled holiday than with Bloody Marys? To paraphrase Penny on The Big Bang Theory, “They say that if you drink before noon on a weekday, you have a problem, but if you drink before noon on the weekend, it’s brunch!” See there? No problem!

Here’s how I prepare them-

2 oz vodka

3-4 oz V8 (I use the low sodium version)

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp horseradish

2-4 shakes Tabasco (to your liking)

Combine all ingredients, then squeeze a wedge of lime on top. Don’t forget the celery stalk!

There are obviously many variations on the Bloody Mary, but I haven’t come up with a simpler recipe that tastes this hearty. And as long as we continue to be welcome for holiday visits, I’d say I must be doing something right.

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