My Quarantine Cocktail: the Late Afternoon Bloody Mary

Dinner in a glass

Photo by Scott Suchman
Coronavirus 2020

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There have been more than a few servers who have looked at me quizzically when I’ve ordered a pre-dinner bloody mary. Like, what’s next, a mimosa with a steak? But in the evening, especially if I haven’t eaten in a few hours, my cocktail tastes run savory and briny, not sweet or bitter. No negronis, no old fashioneds. 

There’s something fortifying (or maybe just sodium-boosting) about a spicy mix of vodka and tomato juice. Give me some celery and a lemon wedge—no bacon strips, and definitely no cocktail shrimp.   

When I’m at home, Bloodys have been my school’s-out cocktail of choice lately. For one, they tend to be not super-strong (or at least, they taste good even if you don’t make them super-strong). Also: they’re an easy move for someone who’s dealing with things like making dinner. Or, y’know, drinking dinner.  

Whole Foods sells my favorite mix, McClure’s, from the Detroit-based pickle company (you can also order it online). It’s heavy on the dill, and, as its origins suggest, the pickle brine. When it comes to vodka, I like Tito’s—it’s both affordable and smooth. I usually do a shot (1.5 ounces) of the latter, topped with 3 or 4 ounces of mix. Throw on a few cranks of pepper and a toothpick of olives—or don’t: the McClure’s formula is pretty great as is. 


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.