Why you should care

Because you have to get your vegetables somehow this holiday season.

From our family to yours, OZY staff share their favorite time-honored holiday recipes to keep you warm, stuffed and slightly buzzed all season.

Some families kick off the holidays with eggnog. At the Mayol household, we toast vodka and clink celery sticks. My dad has been perfecting his bloody mary recipe for more than 40 years and the made-from-scratch concoctions have reached legendary status among friends and family. For those of you used to the watery, premade versions served at brunch, these can’t even be put in the same category. There’s no cutting corners; no pepper-flavored vodka or spicy tomato juice. From start to finish, it’s a labor of love.

The way some families pass recipes from one generation to the next, my dad is handing down mixing duties to my brother — or as they call the arrangement, it’s an apprenticeship. So far, an eight-year apprenticeship. When my younger brother, Trent, talks about the cocktails, he uses descriptors like “pure” and “simple,” while our dad likes to say his bloody marys have just the right amount of “robustness”: the blend of horseradish and a specific brand of hot sauce complement instead of overpower; the citrus brings out the sweet flavor of the tomato; and the salami-wrapped peppers, well, they’re just damn tasty (this coming from a vegetarian).

Mayol Family Bloody Mary

Mayol Family Bloody Marys

Source Sean Culligan/OZY

It’s not a drink you make for just anyone. “A lot of work goes into it,” Trent says. “It has to be for people you care about more than yourself.” Next time you want to show your loved ones the way you feel (or need to reboot after a night with said loved ones), I suggest the Mayol Family “Deconstructed” Bloody Mary. Cheers to that!

Ingredients
Original V8 juice (enough to fill glass)
2 to 3 ounces quality vodka (the Mayols favor Grey Goose)
3 dashes Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Beaver Extra Hot Horseradish, grated
3 dashes Crystal Hot Sauce
sprinkling of cracked pepper
1 dash lemon pepper
1 dash celery salt
lime wedge, squeezed (quarter, Dad; half, Brother)

Fill a shaker with ice. Add vodka and other ingredients and give a good shake, getting those elbows up. Rim glass with lime juice and coat in celery salt. Fill with fresh ice and strain concoction over it. Garnish with a single stalk of celery.

And, of course, any savory bloody mary needs a companion snack. For us, it’s Bruno’s Wax Peppers (“Nippy” strength), sliced in half lengthwise, slathered with cream cheese, wrapped in dry salami and skewered with a toothpick. Eat just one, I dare you.

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