Best Bloody Mary with Pickled Asparagus, Recipe from a Bartender

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Best Bloody Mary with PIckled Asparagus 2 by Angela Roberts

What makes a Bloody Mary best? They need to taste like food and jump a little. I got this recipe from a very sharp bartender who knew how to balance the briny,  salty, spicy elements with just enough citrus  to pull it all together.

Bloody Mary’s are most often enjoyed in the day time, maybe even the early morning.   Some years ago, Jason, the bartender at the lobby bar at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel helped  me to pass some rainy day time, while I was waiting for Mr. ST to return from his conference. We both just happen to have events that took us from Nashville to San Francisco on the exact same weekend, and I sat at the lobby bar waiting for him on a Sunday afternoon. I was intrigued that he wasn’t using a Bloody Mary mix. I watched him muddle together the tomato and jalapeno, add in real tomato juice, and horseradish, Tabasco and lemon, and I knew I had to have one. He was nice enough to make me second one, slowly showing me his step by step method. Then he wrote it all down for me.

Somehow I’ve managed to hold onto that paper for the past three years, and I’m finally sharing it today.

Best Bloody Mary with Pickled Asparagus by Angela Roberts

I don’t can food, and I rarely make anything pickled, but in recent years I’m discovering that pickling is a hot new trend and you don’t have to can the old fashioned way if you are going to eat the pickled food in the next few weeks.

I tend to like pickles a lot, especially if they are spicy, so I threw a good dash of cayenne pepper in the mix. I think this garnish is especially nice for a Bloody Mary and not everyone likes the typical celery.

Pickling Asparagus by Angela Roberts

The asparagus in this recipe makes a great appetizer, as well as a drink garnish. I used an interesting pickling spice that has cinnamon, mustard seed, dill seed and tumeric among other things, but any pickling spice will do.

The result is a very flavorful Bloody Mary. I was so excited to make this, I went and bought a muddler, which is used to muddle the  jalapenos and tomatoes.

Tell me, have you ever asked a bartender or a server for a  special recipe? Do you feel awkward doing that?

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5 from 1 vote

Sir Francis Drake Hotel Bar Bloody Mary by Jason

Lucky enough to snatch the recipe for the best Bloody Mary from San Franciso's Sir Francis Drake Hotel Lobby Bar, starting with a key ingredient, olive juice.
Course: Cocktails
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 3-4 grape tomatoes
  • 3-4 slices jalapeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. tomato juice
  • 1 olive
  • 1 grape tomato
  • squeeze lime
  • celery stick
  • pickled asparagus optional

Pickled Asparagus

  • 10 asparagus spears or as many as fit into the jar
  • 2 pint mason jar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed or fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons pepper corns
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic


  • Muddle the grape tomatoes and jalapeno and add ice.
  • Add horseradish, pepper, salt, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, vodka, tomato juice.
  • Shake.
  • Pour in pint glass, garnish as desired with garnishes

Pickled Asparagus

  • Trim woody bottoms of asparagus and make sure it will fit into the height of the jar.
  • Blanch asparagus in boiling water for one minute.
  • Remove to ice bath
  • Bring vinegar and water, pickling spice to a boil. Boil for two minutes
  • Put asparagus into jar and pour pickling liquid over asparagus.Add remaining ingredients. Give a good shake.
  • Cool. Put on lid tightly and refrigerate for a few days before serving.
  • Pickled asparagus will keep in refrigerator for a few weeks.

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If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo


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  1. Omg this is awesome! Been a fan of Bloody Marys for a long time. You should try that one called LAVA ( It’s the best bloody mary mix, I think, since it tastes really good, not to mention, it uses whole non-gmo San Marzano tomatoes and is gluten free. =)

  2. You know I do not ever ask as bartender for a recipe due to the fact that I am always conjuring up some cocktail creation on my own, but this looks really fabulous Angela. Thanks for sharing.

  3. As a bartender, I’m always curious to see how others make classic drinks. This one looks like it’s the bomb, and I’ve already printed it up to try on the weekend! Funny thing, when I was in Traverse City Michigan at some old school bar/restaurant, I ordered a Bloody Mary and it came with the most unusual garnish. I couldn’t tell what the hell it was! It ended up being a pickled Brussels sprout! So, there you go! Bet the pickled asparagus was lovely in this!

  4. Hi Angela – pickled asparagus makes such an elegant garnish for your hand-crafted bloody mary. This is really fabulous. Excellent addition to the CCC pickle event.
    Lori Lynn

  5. 5 stars
    I am dying to try this…I have a Brunch that I do every December for my husband’s friends and this will be the signature drink…Thanks Angela and again Happy Birthday!

  6. Fabulous drink. I love it when I have private times with bartenders who tell stories and share secrets — especially when they involve great recipes. Never would have thought to add asparagus to a bloody mary… smashing idea.

  7. Wow, I’m so impressed by this! I love that it’s completely fresh and the ingredients are simply muddled together. The pickled asparagus garnish is also quite stunning and an awesome addition!

  8. Pingback: Pickle It! The Creative Cooking Crew Round-Up | FOODalogue

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