Happy Birthday

Oscar with a Bloody Mary made by his owner, Kevin Barrett.

by Kevin Barrett, cocktail director at Foundation

photographs by Juli Leonard

It’s my favorite time of year. I love Christmas. I love New Year’s Day. I love my Sparkling Snow scented Yankee Candle. And I love a chance to make one of my favorite drinks, the Bloody Mary, to celebrate the winter birthday of my most trusted and truest of friends.

Oh please, Bloody Marys? How pedestrian! you might say. To which I would say, What are you? Some kind of mixologist or something?

It’s OK. Be an elitist.

I believe, however, that the Bloody Mary and its derivatives have a very specific place in drink culture. That place is not at midnight on a Saturday night at a busy bar. With few exceptions, Bloody Marys and the like should never be consumed after the sun goes down. There you go. There’s my elitism.

Here are the exceptions to the sun-up rule: your birthday; your honeymoon; zombie apocalypse; an airport layover; a themed party. The first three are your days. Do whatever you want. The zombies can’t stop you. At the airport, all time-related bets are off. And the last one is because you’re a good guest, and you do what your host wants you to do.

My own Bloody Mary moment rolls around this time every year when I throw a birthday party for my dog, Oscar. He’s turning 56 (dog years). On one Sunday shortly before or after his big day, we’ll set up an extensive Bloody Mary bar and invite his friends over. Oscar is straight edge. He doesn’t drink. I don’t know why he chose a Bloody Mary themed party, but I suspect it’s because his party is always in the early afternoon on a Sunday, and he’s a stickler for etiquette.


Bloody Mary


Lemon or lime wedges

Old Bay seasoning

1½ –2 ounces vodka (I like to substitute tequila, but you can safely use any white liquor. There are endless variations to this drink.)

Tomato juice or V8

2 dashes celery salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2–4 dashes hot sauce

1–2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Garnish options

Lemon and lime wedges; olives (a must); pickled okra; pickled green bean; pickled carrot; pickled garlic;
cornichon; celery stalk (if you must).


Run a lemon or lime wedge around the rim of a pint glass.

Roll the outside rim in Old Bay. Next, fill the glass with ice, pour in liquor, and top off with tomato juice/V8. Add celery salt, pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Pour it from one glass into another and then back again to mix. Garnish
as desired.

I like an olive, something pickled, and a lemon or lime wedge. I once had a lobster claw as a garnish. It was a little ostentatious for me. This is a very traditional Bloody Mary. If you want to start adding garlic and horseradish, you’re on your own.

Bloody Caesar

Same as above, but rim the glass with kosher salt and cracked black pepper instead of Old Bay, and pour an ounce of clam juice in your drink. Whatever you may be thinking right now, when you have it you’ll be saying, yes, please.

Gordan’s Breakfast


2 ounces gin

¾ ounce simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water)

½ lime, cut into fourths

2-4 slices cucumber, preferably peeled

1-2 dashes hot sauce

1 dash Worcestershire

salt and pepper

cracked ice


Muddle the cucumber and lime in a double rocks glass. Add cracked ice. Add gin, simple syrup, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. You can go a little heavier on the hot sauce if you like, but this drink is a bit more fragile when it comes to the Worcestershire – only 1 dash allowed. Pour the drink into another glass and back again,or give it a few good stirs to mix it up. You want it cold and mixed, but not diluted too much.

This one will surprise you. It’s savory, fragrant and light. If you don’t like a Bloody Mary because of the heaviness of the tomato juice, then try this. Happy Holidays and beyond.