To me, a bloody mary is right up there with a margarita—a super simple drink, but a total go-to. I love that you can tinker with it based on what you’re in the mood for (olives? lemon? lime? spicy? mild?). For this take on the cocktail, I wanted to use harissa to add spiciness, rather than my usual tabasco. If you’re not familiar with harissa, don’t worry—I wasn’t either. It’s only recently been added to my kitchen, as I saw it incorporated in more recipes I wanted to make. It’s a chili pepper paste that originated in North Africa, but is probably most often associated with Middle Eastern cuisine. You can find it at most specialty markets in the international aisle—and it keeps well too, since you’ll be using it sparingly.
For the kebabs, use whatever you love! I built mine with a mixture of my favorites: spicy dill pickles, sweet cherry peppers, balls of mozzarella and an assortment of charcuterie. This would be great for a bloody mary bar at a party—guests could show off their kebab creations! Who doesn’t love a bite with each sip?
One other note: I used a store-bought mix for the base of this. I KNOW. Blasphemy, right? Not so fast. There are so many great bloody mary mixes out in the market these days, to slave over the exact spice additions to tomato juice sounds a little silly to me. Plus, you can totally jazz up a store-bought mix, too. In addition to the harissa, I added celery bitters, a squeeze of lime juice, a dollop of horseradish, and a dash of chipotle chili powder. So good.
Harissa Bloody Mary with Antipasti Kebabs
makes 2 cocktails
- 2 cups bloody mary mix, of your choosing
- 4 oz vodka – I used Humboldt Distillery Organic Vodka
- 2 teaspoons harissa
- 1 tbsp horseradish (more or less to your liking!)
- 4 dashes Fee Brothers celery bitters
- 2 wedges of lime, squeezed
- pinch of chipotle chili powder
- For the rim: combine equal parts old bay and salt.
Rim two highball glasses with lime, then dip into the Old Bay/salt mixture. Combine all other ingredients in a shaker with ice, including the lime wedges. Shake until very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into the rimmed glasses filled with fresh ice. Top with an antipasti kebab!