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Correction to This Article
The Gatherings feature in the Jan. 2 Sunday Source listed an incorrect address for the Portside Tavern in Baltimore. The correct address is 2821 O'Donnell St.

Bloody Mary Football Party

Throw a fest for 4 to 6 guests

Sunday, January 2, 2005; Page M07

When we first stated dating, my husband, Brendan, and I quickly realized our differences. I'm a little slobby and he's Mr. Clean. I'm breakfast. He's lunch. He's a diehard Redskins fan living in Ravenstown. I watch the Super Bowl, but not for the halftime show or commercials or tight pants. I show up strictly for the food.

Some of our differences took time to work out, but this last one was simple. He likes company when he watches the game. I never need an excuse to plan a meal.

(Photos Nate Lankford For The Washington Post)

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Enter Bloody Mary Sundays.

Pigeonholed as a morning libation, the bloody carries the reputation of being a "drinker's drink," the one that serves as a boozy remedy for the previous night's bender. Lots of people claim they "hate" bloody marys, only to confess later that they've never even tried one.

Like a pint of Guinness, a good bloody is like a meal in itself. Or as one friend put it: It's a salad in a glass, or an alcoholic gazpacho. The thing is, good ones are hard to find. The thin, watery versions served at many bars certainly don't help the drink's cause. My solution is to invite friends over and make bloodies by the pitcher. That way Brendan gets to watch the game surrounded by fellow diehards, and I get to work on converting the bloody mary naysayers (while adding exotic football phrases to my vocabulary).

For these drinks, it's important to start with a good base. I use a blend of tomato juice, spicy vegetable juice and Mott's Clamato, though sometimes I cheat and use a pre-mixed blend. The market is flooded with expensive mixers, but my favorite is Major Peters' ($3.99 at www.peppers.com). There's no need to spend a lot of money on mixers when all the required condiments are probably already in your fridge.

Next, there's the vodka. This is not the place for the cheap stuff, which can give the drink a metallic taste. Buy the best you can afford and experiment with flavored varieties (pepper, citrus, etc.).

Finally, there are the trimmings. I load my drinks with biting horseradish and wasabi, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Old Bay, a few squeezes of lemon and lime, and, of course, hot sauce; sometimes I also pour in briny pickle or olive juice for extra saltiness. When made correctly, a bloody should come out thick and substantial. And if you're throwing your own football brunch, remember to stock up on plenty of colorful garnishes -- they're perfect for nibbling on during those contentious time-outs. Jennifer Plum Auvil

The Ultimate Bloody


1 quart tomato juice (spicy if possible)

1 pint Clamato juice

1 1/2 cups vodka (pepper-flavored for more spice)

1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

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