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Spicy Bloody Mary with Pickled Okra

Spicy Bloody Mary with Pickled Okra from "Southern from Scratch"

Serves: 1

Hands On Time: 

Total Time: 


Pickled Okra
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1/3 cup pickling salt
6 garlic cloves
6 teaspoons dill seeds
3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 pounds okra, stem ends trimmed

Bloody Mary
3 ounces vodka
6 ounces tomato juice or tomato-based veggie juice
1 tablespoon Pickled Okra brine (above)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Dash of hot sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
Several pinches of celery salt, for the drink and the rim
Lemon slice
Ice, for serving
Celery stalk, for stirring
Pickled Okra (above), for garnish


To make the pickled okra: Fill a canner or large stockpot with water, place six or seven pint jars inside, and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point.

Bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a full, rolling boil in a medium pot. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the brine to a pourable, spouted container, such as a heatproof measuring cup, if desired.

Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canner and place on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. Place 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon dill seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper flakes into each jar. With the help of a canning funnel, pack the okra into the jars, topped off by the brine, reserving 1/2 inch headspace.

Use a spatula or wooden chopstick to remove any trapped air bubbles around the interior circumference of the jars. Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Place on the lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.

Again using a jar lifter, slowly place the filled jars in the canner. Be sure that the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, and then process for 10 minutes, starting the timer once the water is at a full, rolling boil. Adjust for altitude as needed.

To make the Bloody Mary: Mix the vodka, tomato juice, brine, Worcestershire, lemon juice, horseradish, hot sauce, several grinds of pepper, and a pinch of celery salt in a small bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until cool. (If you start with cold tomato juice, the mixture will cool much faster.)

Rub the rim of a tall glass with the lemon slice, then dip the rim in a plate of celery salt. Add some ice, leaving plenty of room for the drink. Remove the chilled mixture from the refrigerator. Give it a stir and then pour over the ice. Garnish with a celery stalk and pickled okra, and serve immediately.

Photo: Johnny Autry

About the recipe

I didn’t think I liked Bloody Marys until I started making my own. What it needed was a bit of pickled okra brine, is all. This recipe makes one cocktail, so if you plan to serve a crowd, scale up accordingly. While this recipe calls for homemade pickled okra, you can substitue store-bought if you're in a pinch.

From "Southern from Scratch: Pantry Essentials and Down-Home Recipes" by Ashley English, © 2018 by Ashley English. Photographs by Johnny Autry, © 2018 by Johnny Autry. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.