Recipe: Tomato Water Bloody Mary

The 10-Minute Happy Hour

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I've never met a Bloody Mary I didn't like, but thick tomato juice in the dead of summer isn't exactly something I crave. Take a quick trip to farmers market, and you can have this fresh Bloody Mary makeover instead, perfect for summer sipping. The secret? Tomato water.

Savory and cool, tomato water is a far more refreshing base for a breakfast cocktail. What's tomato water, you say? You really should find out.

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If you like the idea of a Bloody Mary but have never been a huge fan of thick tomato juice or V8, then this is the Bloody Mary for you. It's made with tomato water, which is actually not made from the tomatoes themselves, but rather the water left over in the ice water bath after blanching and peeling tomatoes for preserving, sauce-making, or any other tomato-preserving project you're doing. Don't throw it away — it's sweet and light and perfect for cocktails!

If you're not ready to can tomatoes or make tomato sauce, simply make your blanched tomatoes into a salsa fresco, serve with some chips, and you've got a seasonally inspired happy hour in less than 10 minutes.

How to Make Tomato Water

Here's the basic rundown for how I make tomato water: After blanching tomatoes (any amount will do!), slip them into a bowl of ice water. Once cool enough to handle, slip off their skins under the water and discard the skins. Remove the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and continue with your preserving recipe; the light-red liquid left behind is tomato water. The most flavorful water is at the bottom, where the tomato sediment has settled. Scoop the clearest water from the top and discard, saving only the most concentrated tomato water.

→ See a step-by-step tutorial of the tomato blanching process here: How To Make Fresh Tomato Sauce

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Tomato Water and Basil Bloody Mary

Serves 4

6 ounces vodka
2 cups tomato water
Fresh basil for muddling and garnish
Hot sauce
Ripe yellow and red cherry tomatoes for garnish.

In a pitcher filled with ice, add the vodka and tomato water. Stir to combine. Add one large leaf of basil to 4 glasses. Add a couple dashes of hot sauce and muddle. Fill the glasses with ice and strain the vodka tomato water mixture into each glass.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Recipe Notes

  • Like any Bloody Mary, feel free to add fresh horseradish or pickled peppers for spice.
  • Garnishes can also include the standard celery stick, pickled vegetables, and rims of salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

(Image credits: Maureen Petrosky)