During summer days filled with lounging in camping chairs at music festivals, attending baseball and pre-season football tailgating parties, and hanging out in parking lots prior to a concert, why not capitalize on your free time? And by this I mean capitalize on thirsty people looking for a tasty beverage… like a BLOODY MARY!
In 2011, I attended Phish’s Super Ball Festival in Watkins Glen, New York with a group of my best friends. We journeyed by car from the suburbs of Chicago to upstate New York in the beginning of July, ready for one of the best weekends of our lives with our favorite band. Unlike most other musical festivals, Super Ball did not have bands playing throughout the day– the only band playing the entire weekend was PHISH, so we had plenty of daytime hours to kill before their sets. And what would be a better use of our free time than crafting up some delicious Bloodies for festival patrons and making a lil’ extra spending money? Therefore, we came up with the grandiose plan to sell Bloody Marys and grilled cheeses until we ran out of supplies (we didn’t end up selling any grilled cheeses due to a grill malfunction). It went swimmingly and we were deemed the “Pickle Juice Girls” forever (because we added pickle brine to each of them bangin’ Marys). So, if you are about to sell some savory Bloody Marys this summer whether it be in a parking lot or a patch of grass, here are a few tidbits to break down business for ya.
It was years ago that we sold the Bloodys at the Phish fest, but from what I recall we purchased 2 handles of gin (not sure if a Bloody made with gin is called a Bloody Mary, Ruddy Mary, Red Snapper, or what.. anyone know?), 4 64 oz. bottles of Campbell’s Tomato Juice, a 32 oz. bottle of lemon juice, a huge jar of pickles (Costco size/gallon), bottle of Worcestershire sauce, bottle of hot sauce, salt shaker, pepper shaker, celery stalks (enough for ~40 drinks), ice (lots), and Solo cups.
Other good, easy, and cheap things to bring: olives, beef straws or sticks, more eclectic spices (cayenne, BBQ rub, granulated garlic), horseradish, lime juice, string cheese sticks.
RECIPE (for 1 Bloody in a Solo cup)
- 3 oz gin or vodka (2 shots a drink- get your customers drunk!)
- 5 oz tomato juice
- dashes of lemon juice
- dashes of pickle juice
- dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- dashes of hot sauce
- dashes of salt
- dashes of pepper
- stalk of celery
- half pickle
- Fill a solo cup halfway with ice
- Pour in the alcohol
- Pour in the tomato juice, lemon juice, pickle juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce
- Toss in the salt and pepper
- Transfer to another cup aka “rolling” (do this 2-3 times so the ingredients mix)
- Garnish with half a pickle (or a whole pickle of you have a lot) and a stalk of celery (or whatever garnishes you may have)
- 2 handles of cheap gin or vodka (Bloodys mask the taste of alcohol, so keep your cost low for the alcohol portion): $30 total (at $15 a bottle)
- 4 bottles of 64 oz. Campbell’s tomato juice: $12 total (at $3 a bottle)
- Bottle of lemon juice: $3
- Huge jar of pickles: $5-8
- Bottle of Worcestershire sauce: $3
- Bottle of hot sauce: $3
- Salt: $2
- Pepper: $2
- Celery: anywhere from $5-10 (depending on how long the stalks are, if you cut them in half, etc.)
- Ice: $5-10
- Solo cups: $7 for a 50 ct.
Total Cost: $90 at the most (I used the highest prices, for example $8 for a big jar of pickles, in the calculation)
With the supply list and recipe I provided, you would be able to make roughly 40 Bloodies. You’re obviously going to drink one or two and you will probably give your tight friends one too (unless you’re a weirdo who doesn’t drink your own Bloodies or you don’t like to share). So, let’s say you sell 35 Bloodies at a price of $5— you will make $150 total. Once you subtract that $90 for the cost of supplies, you have made a nice $60!! I think this is what we made at Super Ball. I remember being super stoked to have an extra $30 to spend on a T-shirt at the festival. And hey, the more the merrier! Maybe you’re one of those people who will go the extra mile on garnish ingredients and up your price to $6 a pop. Makin’ money, honey.
Although we weren’t the most creative Bloody Mary makers, we did use an ingredient in our Bloodies that the others at the festival seemed to not be using… pickle brine! Whether you use pickle brine or not, if you are selling Bloodies at a big gathering, make sure to add your individual touch so you stand out from the others. Whether that be some crazy garnishes, a homemade recipe you bottled prior to the event, or the addition of a sidecar, mark your territory and make your name be heard loud and clear. No one likes a basic bartender 😉