Nearly five years ago this summer, I traveled to the alluring country of Italy~ ITALIA~ with my mother and younger sister. It was a graduation gift from my parents to my sister and I– I had just graduated high school and my sister, middle school. As this trip was somewhat long ago, my memory may be a bit blurred… but nothing is “forgotten,” per say. When we were in Italy, we spent time in Rome, Florence, Venice, and the ancient Pompeii. Each area was unique in its own right; Rome presented us with days full of exploration of early civilization; Florence enchanted us with the beautiful Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) over the Arno River; Venice brought us on gondola rides and further out to the islands of Burano and Murano (known for lace-making and glassmaking, respectively); and the archeological site of Pompeii invoked thoughts and memories of the ancient past– a past we may have not lived ourselves, but a past that can be recalled by those who step foot into the primeval locale. Not only were the sites astonishing, but the cuisine was as well.
Italy was always one country I wanted to visit badly because I am somewhat addicted to Italian food (even though I’m not Italian, three of my best friends are!) due to pasta nights growing up and a little neighborhood restaurant called ZaZa’s Tavola Italiana in Barrington, IL. So once we found ourselves in Italy, we were in heaven. I remember eating a lot of fresh fish from the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic Seas, delicate pasta dishes, authentic pizza, fresh gelato, and many bowls of “zuppe.” It was weird to have the real Italian deal, as I was used to Americanized versions of Italian dishes. I loved the antipasti dishes laden with prosciutto, mozzarella, olives, salami, capicola, and other vegetables and cheese. Ergo, I wanted to create the Italian Bloody Mary to bring me back to this trip– to an amazing and memorable time spent with my mother and sister. It was also one of my Italian best friend Lisa’s birthday yesterday and I thought I would create this Italian Bloody Mary for her (even though she’s far away in Illinois!) since we love drinking Bloodys together. For the mix, I ended up using a premade Tuscan spice mix (I was short on time and money– sorry 😉 — you can obviously use the individual spices if you would like) and included pesto sauce, along with the traditional Bloody Mary mix ingredients. I also incorporated many things you may find on an antipasto platter into the garnish, such as mozzarella, marinated vegetables, and olives, along with other Italian things, like tortellini and meatballs. Within my ingredients list, I have included other garnish ideas, as well (you can never have too many good thoughts!). To me, the Italian Bloody Mary brings me feelings of warmth, love, family, and friendship, and I hope it will bring you to your happy place as well.
- 1.5-2 oz. vodka
- 6 oz. tomato juice
- dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- dashes of hot sauce
- spoonful of pesto sauce (try Buitoni Pesto Basilico)
- dashes of roasted garlic
- dashes of dried bell peppers
- dashes of rosemary
- dashes of basil
- dashes of oregano
- dashes of dried lemon
- dashes of dried green onion
- dashes of black pepper
- dashes of salt
- mozzarella cheese
- marinated artichoke
- marinated cipollini onion
- Italian sausage
- marinated eggplant
- cherry tomato
- marinated pepper
- Fill a glass halfway with ice.
- Pour the vodka into the glass.
- Pour in the tomato juice.
- Squeeze the lemon into the glass.
- Toss in some dashes of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce.
- Scoop a spoonful of pesto sauce into the glass.
- Add all of the spices (roasted garlic, dried bell peppers, rosemary, basil, oregano, dried lemon, dried green onion, black pepper, and salt).
- Grab another pint glass.
- Transfer the materials from glass to glass aka “rolling” to mix all of the ingredients together nicely.
- Add a little more pesto to the surface of the Bloody Mary, for both taste and attractiveness.
- Place your chosen garnishes on a skewer (I used a meatball, marinated artichoke, cipollini onion, mozzarella, 2 olives, and tortellini).
- Place the skewer upright into the glass.
- Saluti a Italia!! Godere!!!