Tomato Water and Chili Vodka (Not-So-Bloody Mary) Recipe

Tomato Water and Chili Vodka (Not-So-Bloody Mary) Recipe

[Photographs: Heather Arndt Anderson]

Here's where I make my shocking confession: I am not a huge fan of the Bloody Mary. I don't know what it is—I love making them, but they're just so...hearty? Chewy? Call me crazy, but I don't dig having to floss after a beverage. But when I'm sitting down a hot plate of huevos rancheros, I want something just a tad sturdier than a fizzy mimosa or Bellini; something clear, salty, savory, and with a kick. A daintier, more delicate Bloody Mary, made with tomato water instead of chunky tomato juice, and with hot pepper vodka instead of hot sauce and grated horseradish. A not-so-Bloody Mary.

  • Yield:serves 2
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:2 days


  • 750 mL vodka
  • 10-12 small chilies, such as bird's eye, washed and split lengthwise
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, cores removed, cut into rough chunks
  • Ice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish: pickled green beans, okra, asparagus, etc.


  1. 1.

    Add vodka and chilies to a quart-sized jar, affix lid and shake. Store jar at room temperature for two days to infuse. Strain vodka into bottle and discard chilis. Taste and dilute with plain vodka as necessary to suit your palate.

  2. 2.

    Line a fine mesh strainer with triple layer of cheesecloth or a large tea bag (available at Chinese groceries or in tea stores) and set strainer over large bowl. Place tomatoes into jar of blender or food processor. Blend until finely pureed, about 30 seconds. Transfer puree to lined strainer. Set in refrigerator and allow to drain for at least a few hours or up to overnight. You should end up with about 1 cup tomato water.

  3. 3.

    Fill a glass or Mason jar with ice, pour in an ounce and quarter of the pepper vodka, and four ounces of the tomato water. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir. Garnish with skewered pickled vegetables, such as green beans, okra, or olives. Serve.