Spicy Bloody Mary with Pickled Okra from “Southern from Scratch”

Southern Kitchen
Spicy Bloody Mary with Pickled Okra from “Southern from Scratch”

About the recipe

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.

I didn’t think I liked Bloody Mary's 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 substitute store-bought if you’re in a pinch.

Serves: 1

Hands On Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


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.