Fermented Bloody Mary Cocktail


Fermented tomato juice (tomato juice and smoked salt; 12 months old)


Salt and Pepper

Hot pepper sauce (fermented 2 yrs)

Worcestershire sauce, (fermented by Lea & Perrins®)

Loveage stem (straws)


Fermenting vegetable juices is extremely easy, and the results are exceedingly delicious.  Last summer I started with two cases of organic roma tomatoes.  I sliced them in half, sprinkled on some smoked salt, and let it ferment in a crock for a week.  After 2 days, the tomatoes were reduced to a thick slurry. After a week, the pulp was removed from the seeds and skin.  I stirred 2 or 3 times every day to reduce mold establishment.  After a week I strained the seeds and pulp out, and filled narrow sauce bottles with the juice.  I added a tablespoon of olive oil on top of the contents of each jar to prevent oxygen from contacting the juice.  Then waited a year.  Fantastic flavor!

Last week we finally got our typical week or two of hot daytime temperatures and warm evenings here in Seattle.  Perfect weather for cocktails in the garden.  Drinking the cocktails from Loveage stems for straws was an added flavor, especially if the stem was chewed slightly.  They were so delicious, we had to open another bottle of tomato juice and keep going.

Addiing a finishing splash.

If you’re up for fermenting your own cocktail mixers, this is the best resource in know: Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante, published in 1999 by Chelsea Green.

I’ve fermented carrot, beet, celery, radish, cucumber, tomato, and various blends of green vegetable juices, all with rewarding success.  Add a little salt and let time do its magic.  I remove the olive oil from the narrow neck of the jar with a turkey baster.  I’ve also used airlocks with success, or just let the top mold and pull the ‘plug’ out when it’s time to use the juice.  The pulp and pigments typically settle to the bottom of the jar, leaving clear liquid.  Stir or shake as desired.  These juices are also great in soup, or to deglaze a pan when sautéing.  (Photographs by Kwai Lam.)

Bloody Mary time.




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16 thoughts on “Fermented Bloody Mary Cocktail

  1. Sounds awesome. Can you tell whether the plug of mould is likely to be dangerous or not? I’m not scared of a bit of mould on bread or cheese or jam or whatever, but I think I’d be concerned about doing an open ferment like that.

    • The plug of mold is not likely to be dangerous if eaten, though I certainly don’t like the flavor. It’s the same mold(s) that appear on kraut or miso. Simply remove the mold and enjoy what’s below.(The Art of Fermentation explains this in more detail, and I recommend you read what’s printed there.)

  2. Question for you; just started some tomato salsa and I am not getting any bubbles after three days at about 66 F. I added salt to the romas and corn, onion, jalapeño. I did blanch the tomatoes to get the skin off and wonder if that killed off the lacto-bacilli necessary. Why no bubbles; have made kraut and sours many times?

    • Yes, blanching the tomatoes will kill the ferment-friendly bacteria. The raw jalapeno will contribute to the process, though I don’t know about the corn and onion (assuming you did peel them before adding them). The lone pepper might not be enough to get things off to a quick start. Give it a couple more days, or add some juice from another bubbly vegetable ferment as a kick starter.

  3. Hi! Is it necessary to ferment it for 1 year?? do you know the difference between perhaps a few weeks and a year? Are tomatoes or certain vegetables able to ferment longer than others? thanks!!

    • No, it is not necessary to ferment for 1 year. Vegetable juices are good to go in two weeks in warm weather, and certainly in a month if it’s cooler. The oldest tomato juice in my cellar is a year old, and I typically pick from oldest to youngest when I pull from the shelf. In my experience, vegetable juices only get better with age. Not so with some vegetables, like cucumbers, which can easily loose texture and flavor rapidly after a few months. As tomatoes ferment, the fermenting bacteria convert all the pulp into juice, leaving only skin and seed. Cabbage however, when fermented into kraut, can be quite tasty at the one-year mark or older.
      Last winter I opened some fermented juice from Korean mild radishes. After 4 or 5 months of fermenting, I decanted it into a bottle with a tight lid and put it in the back of the fridge. After another 4 or 5 months it carbonated. It was more similar to champagne than radish juice. A very bright and light flavor, and surprisingly delicious.

    • Nicole, it is very delicious. And you are very welcome. (BTW, I’m Favero, not Sandor :)~ I’m a guest blogger on this site, and a fermenting enthusiast in Seattle WA.)

  4. reading the use of olive oil as a top layer for vegetable juice ferments makes me wonder if you have tried that with saurkraut..? would that keep mold from forming??i wil be attempting my first batch tomorrow, and am not excited about getting mold…but don’t want to ruin my kraut with an expermint…so do you know ? thanks..i am loving your posts-as i’m just discovering them!

    • I’ve never put oil atop kraut, or any vegetable ferment: only juice. I can’t see why it wouldn’t work though. And don’t fret about molds and yeast growing on top of your kraut- it’s not a bad thing.

  5. Has anyone tried putting their foods through a food mill and then fermenting them? I would prefer to do it this way and then inoculate the batch for fermentation. Your thoughts? Thanks. : )
    Sara Swanson’s post on hot sauce mentions that she uses a condom over her fermentation batch to inhibit molds, etc. Seems like a great idea.

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