The one who gave birth to me was a proper lady who valued the importance of punctuality, nutritious meals, and straight A report cards. She taught me to pay attention to detail and to do the right things for the right reasons, never taking shortcuts or bending the rules.
Her sister, the one who was my nanny from age 3 to 11, was a different story. She drank beer for dinner (not with dinner). She had a Dean Martin night light and drove a gigantic purple Cadillac. I loved her bawdy sense of humor even though I didn’t get the jokes, just because of her delighted cackle at her own cleverness. Because of her, I grew up with an appreciation for pushing boundaries and experiencing the world in a more authentic, rather than cultivated, way.
I feel so lucky to have been influenced by both these ladies in my formative years. I ended up with qualities that I think are the best of both worlds, and too much of one or the other would ruin the balance.
It was important to me to find that balance with Portland Bloody Mary Mix. I believe in high quality ingredients, scrupulous bottling practices, and prompt, courteous customer service. And I also believe in kick-ass flavor, user-friendly recipes, and FUN.
But why Bloody Marys? Well, the one thing both my moms could agree on was a good cocktail. And Bloody Marys made regular appearances: holiday brunches, tailgate parties, barbecues, fishing trips, golf games…you name it. They’ve both passed on now, but I think they would have agreed that Portland Bloody Mary Mix is the perfect blend of sassy and classy, just like me.
Aren't they all, you ask? The short answer is no, because Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. I use WanJaShan, a vegetable-based Worcestershire sauce. In the earliest days of crafting my recipe, I wanted to work with WanJaShan because they approach food the way I do: with a passion for clean, sustainable ingredients, social and eco-friendly business practices, and commitment to zero waste. WanJaShan is also gluten-free and certified kosher. Plus, I fell in love with that heavenly umami flavor that tastes salty, but isn’t.
There is only one kind of vinegar that’s gluten-free, and that’s Heinz white vinegar. I use it in my Bloody Mary mix because I myself avoid gluten on the advice of my naturopath, and many people I know do too. Besides that, I believe that the chemicals used on grain crops in this country are best avoided by everyone. This was an easy switch to make, because I think Heinz has good flavor and its low price point helps keep my manufacturing costs reasonable. Fun fact: it doubles as a healthy preservative.
The Bible lists the basic categories of food items which are not considered kosher. These include certain animals, fowl, fish, most insects, and any shellfish or reptile. Obviously most of those don’t come anywhere near a batch of Bloody Mary mix, but insects can and do get into the building with the fresh vegetables. To certify Portland Bloody Mary Mix as kosher, a qualified Rabbinic Field Representative by the name of Tuvia Berzow physically visited and toured my production facility, which included inspection of each ingredient, and filed a written report which was then reviewed by the Rabbinic Coordinator. Fortunately, I passed with flying colors on the very first try. What does kosher certification mean to you? It ensures high standards for purity, adherence to dietary and laws as well as transparency in labeling.
I created it in 2016 after having lived in Portland my whole life. In 2018 my husband's job took us to Walla Walla where we currently live. Portland Bloody Mary Mix is still manufactured and bottled in the Portland area, and has been since the very beginning, so it's still very much a local product. I come back to town twice every month to micromanage things because I obsess over every detail. That will never change.
An unopened bottle will stay fresh for 2 years. If you look closely on the bottle’s shoulder (near the neck), you’ll find the “best by” date printed there in black ink. Once you open your bottle, you can keep it in the fridge up to 90 days. But seriously, why hang on to it for so long? I’ll make more! One word of warning: I’ve found that the longer it sits around, the spicier it gets. Your mileage may vary…