I have a super complicated relationship with tomatoes. I love anything tomato-based, especially ketchup and marinara sauce. Stewed tomatoes and tomato slices soaked in balsamic vinegar make me beam! Chunky tomato soup is a staple every winter. Fresh tomatoes in salads that are diced into tiny pieces and coated in a yummy dressing are acceptable. But big slices or wedges of fresh tomatoes? No. Just no. Can’t do it. I have always wanted to be one of those people who could go grab a tomato fresh from the garden, sprinkle on a little salt and pepper, and take a huge bite, like the kind that you would take from an apple.
About once a year, I try to take a big bite of a fresh tomato just to see if our relationship status has changed. To date, these attempts have always ended in the same manner. I nearly gag, make what I’m sure is a highly unattractive face, and spit that sucker out. My taste buds just can’t seem to get with my dreams of being a true tomato-lover.
Lucky for me, tomato juice is in the a-okay category, especially this clam-tomato juice, which is amazing! I know it might sound a little strange, maybe even gross, but it is so delicious and works perfectly in this drink! I’ve never been a Bloody Mary drinker. If I’m going to have a drink at brunch, I generally prefer for it to be a mimosa. But two Christmas vacations ago, our family friend Teresa talked me into getting one with her. She instructed the bartender how to make it her way (aka spicy!) and the result was so yummy! I haven’t had another since that trip and had kind of forgotten about them until I was flipping through my April edition of Food Network Magazine last week and saw these Bloody Caesars. These were a good idea indeed.
One of the best parts of this drink (aside from the maple bacon) was the fact that you totally could not taste the vodka. I am not a vodka lover at all, but last Valentine’s Day, Landon and I went to Buffalo Trace for their annual Buffalo Love dinner, a 7-course dinner and drink pairing, which included mostly bourbon, but had a tasting of this Rain vodka thrown into the mix. It’s the only vodka that I’ve ever tried that hasn’t made me gag. Rain really is the perfect name. It’s unlike any vodka that I’ve ever had and it mixes in drinks beautifully! (I’m totally not being paid to promote Rain or Buffalo Trace, by the way. I’m just trying to share some of my favorite products with you. :))
These would be the perfect addition to your Easter brunch (or any brunch). I made them a little more festive by making my bacon slices look like bunny ears. Want to make this drink for those of all ages? Simply leave out the vodka. I tried the recipe both ways and loved both drinks equally.
Happy Wednesday and beginning of April!
- 2-4 slices bacon
- ½ -1 tablespoons pure maple syrup (depending on how many bacon slices you choose)
- Juice of 1 lemon, plus an additional wedge for rimming the glasses
- 2 teaspoons celery salt (for rimming glasses), plus more to taste
- 2⅔ cups clam-tomato juice (such as Clamato)
- 3 ounces vodka (I love Rain)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I love this bourbon barrel variety)
- ½-1 teaspoon (depending on preference) hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lay the bacon on a wire rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush the bacon with maple syrup. Bake until crisp, approximately 20-25 minutes. Set aside.
- Run the lemon wedge around the rims of 2 glasses. Put the celery salt on a plate and dip the rims of the glasses in the salt to coat.
- Combine the clam-tomato juice, lemon juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper sauce in a large measuring cup and mix well. Season with celery salt and pepper.
- Fill the prepared glasses with ice, add the cocktail, and finish with slices of maple bacon.