When it comes to classic cocktails that have experienced a resurgence of popularity in the past couple years, there’s one drink that tops the repertoire of every bartender around the country: the Bloody Mary. After all, it’s the perfect libation for any time of day, from breakfast to dinner. And with the recent trend of adding everything from sliders and donuts to entire rotisserie chickens as garnish, some Marys are themselves a complete meal.
But for one woman, a great Bloody Mary requires more than an ever-increasing pile of food add-ons. To her, a great Bloody Mary begins with a great mix. And that’s why a few years ago, she decided to create her own mix. Meet Marian Aiksnoras, creator of Bloody Amazing Mary Mix.
I recently had a chance to chat with Marian, who lives in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
Wanderlush Diary: How did you decide to create a Bloody Mary Mix?
Marian Aiksnoras: I was working at a restaurant on a golf course in Connecticut at the time, and people weren’t happy with the Bloody Marys we served. So I started asking people what they did and didn’t like, and then I went home and came up with a seasoning. Everyone really liked it, and we quickly became known as the Bloody Mary golf course.
WD: That original seasoning is different from your mix, correct?
MA: Yes. The seasoning is actually the first product I bottled. People could add it to tomato juice, and it would give them a great Bloody Mary. But what happened was that people starting using in oyster shooters or for cooking, so this past winter I decided that I needed to make a ready-to-use Bloody Mary Mix. I launched it this year on Tax Day, April 15. I figured that taxes give you a headache, so you might as well have a Bloody Mary.
WD: Before creating Bloody Amazing Island Seasoning, you had never even had a Bloody Mary. How did you know what to create?
MA: I always tell my kids that good listening skills are important. So when my customers [at the golf course] didn’t like the Bloody Marys we originally served, I’d ask them what they didn’t like about it. Someone might say that there was too much horseradish. Another might say that it should have some citrus to it, or some hot sauce but not so much that it burns. Everyone had a little something that they gave me, and I wrote it all down. When I’d work on my batches, I was smart enough to keep track of my weights and measures. I’d take a batch and mix it with tomato juice. Sometimes I’d go ‘Oh, that’s nasty,’ and pour it down the sink. Then I came up with a batch that I thought I could drink for breakfast. So I brought it to work, and everyone liked it.
WD: What makes your product different from others?
MA: Mine is a high-end product. It’s not the $4 Bloody Mary mix that you’re going to get in the grocery store. I use only really good ingredients, including real tomato juice, and there is no high-fructose corn syrup. You’re paying for a quality product, and that’s what you’re going to get.
WD: Now you’re a Bloody Mary expert. As such, what do you think of the trend of overloading the drinks with lots of garnishes?
MA: I think it’s getting a little out of hand. It’s becoming a meal, and the Bloody Mary is actually a finish to the meal because you have to eat all of that food first. I wonder if the bars serve those with a plate so you can remove all of the food. But it’s also very entertaining, and I think that people get a kick out of it. It’s a great marketing tool.
WD: How do you like your Bloody Marys?
MA: There’s a tendency to think that Bloody Marys are always made with vodka, but over the course of time, people have made them with pretty much any and every alcohol. My Bloody Mary of choice right now is with bourbon and dark stout. It’s very, very good and very smooth. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m trying to reintroduce people to the wheel.
WD: Where can people find your products?
MA: Both the seasoning and the mix are available online [at bloodyamazingseasoning.com]. The Bloody Mary mix comes in both 750-mL and 5-ounce bottles. My site also features a list of stores in which it is available.
WIN YOUR OWN BOTTLE OF BLOODY AMAZING MARY MIX!
Does Blood Amazing Mary Mix sound good? Well, now’s your chance to try it. Simply tell me what’s your favorite Bloody Mary, or let me know where you’ve had the best-ever version, and I’ll pick one commenter at random and send him or her free of charge a 5-ounce bottle of Bloody Amazing Mary Mix. The lucky winner will be chosen on Sunday, October 26. (Winner must be a resident of the United States.)
Veni, Vidi, Bibi!
All photos courtesy of Leigh Cort Publicity