My mom’s parents, Grandpa Chuck and Grandma Sara, used to throw really swell parties. And, even though I’ve heard this from multiple sources and have seen the photographic evidence, it’s hard for me to get it in my head. My grandfather died when I was really young, and, as I’ve mentioned before, my grandma began battling Alzheimer’s when I was in middle school, so I never knew any of them as fun-loving party folk. I mean, they were grandparents, you know?
It doesn’t really surprise me, though. They were both lovely, kind people who went out of their way to make sure the people around them were happy and comfortable, and isn’t that the mark of a great party host? At least, that’s what I try to do when we host a soiree. Until I get to that second bottle of wine, anyway, at which point everyone should probably start fending for him- or herself.
I don’t think Grandma Sara probably ever got to the second bottle of wine. A study in moderation, that woman, with the figure to prove it.
Anyway, even though I didn’t get to know them well as an adult, I definitely feel a connection to them, and the weirdest things will make set that connection abuzz. When I was in Michigan this fall, my aunt and uncle were talking about my Grandpa Chuck’s Bloody Mary recipe, and how it was wonderful and perfect and practically famous. I checked with my mom, and, sure enough, she had it! I couldn’t wait to get home and make it myself.
And then I forgot. Until this weekend, anyway, when we were planning a big tailgate and I decided now was the time to bring it out.
Oh, you guys. It might be the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had. Spicy where it should hit you with some spice, a little sweet and sour in all the right places … delish. Maybe too delish, as I didn’t want to share with many people and ended up having three all to myself.
To make things even better, after I made (and drank) it, my mom scanned in the actual recipe card that my Grandma Sara wrote out, and, do you get all emotional about handwriting? I do. I probably could identify the handwriting of almost anyone I’ve ever spent a lot of time with, and seeing her cursive on these old cards got me a little choked up. But mostly, I smiled, because what a great memory is this?
Anyway, recipe is (on the cards above, and) typed out below for your gastronomic pleasure. For the record, I only let it sit overnight and it was totally fine, but next time, I’ll totally plan ahead and let it sit a week. Also! I couldn’t find dill sauce (let alone the specific brand that Grandma underlined), so I just used juice from some garlicky dill pickles.
Grandpa Chuck’s Bloody Marys
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp celery salt
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp dill sauce (Milani, if you can find it)
1 oz. lime juice
46 oz can Campbell’s tomato juice
Dill stick for garnish (or celery, like I did)
1/2 gallon jar
Mix all spices, then pour 1/2 the tomato juice and shake well. Then add rest of tomato juice and fill the rest with vodka. Let sit for a week.