The full, salty flavor of worcestershire sauce is easily replaced with gluten-free tamari and olive brine to make this fresh, savory brunch cocktail vegetarian.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1/2 t crushed dried red pepper flakes
- 2 t minced garlic (1 large clove)
- 3 C tomato juice (such as R.W. Knudsen organic)
- 1 1/2 t grated fresh horseradish
- 1 t kalamata olive brine
- 1 t tamari (i.e., gluten-free soy sauce)
- 1/2 t celery salt (plus more for glass rims)
- 1 1/2 t lemon juice or red wine vinegar
- 1/2 t finely grated lemon zest
- 2 T finely grated cucumber, with juices
- 6 oz. vodka
Garnish (choose your favorites, or get them all)
- 1/2 Hothouse or English cucumber, cut lengthwise into spears
- Lemon wedges
- Pickled red onions (recipe in my free eBook)
- Sliced fresh red pepper
- 12 large pitted kalamata olives (such as Trader Joe’s jumbo)
- 1 – 2 oz. feta cheese (soft, if stuffing the olives; otherwise any variety, cubed)
- Parsley or dill sprigs
For Feta-Stuffed Olives
- 1/4 t dried oregano
- Ground black pepper
- Heat oil in small saucepan over medium until very hot. Add garlic and red pepper flakes—they should sizzle and become fragrant quickly. Stir with wooden spoon about 2 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain gentle sizzle, until garlic just begins to brown. Remove from heat and strain through fine mesh strainer into glass liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Place in fridge to cool.
- Pulse all ingredients except oil in blender on low, until smooth. With blender running (on low!) carefully drizzle in oil until emulsified. Use immediately or refrigerate until needed.
- To serve, moisten rim of each glass with a lemon slice, then roll rim in celery salt spread evenly on a plate. Shake one fourth of the mix (or half, if you have a large shaker) with 1 1/2 oz. vodka and a handful of ice until cold (shaker will be frosty). Place large cucumber spear and plenty of ice in each glass. Pour shaken drink over ice. Garnish with feta-stuffed kalamata olives (below) on a skewer (or feta cubes and kalamata olives) and other garnishes of your choosing.
- For olives, mix a soft (such as Valbreso) or room temperature feta with a pinch of dried oregano and ground black pepper. Drain olives on paper towels. Pipe feta mixture into olives using a sturdy plastic bag with the corner snipped or a small pastry tip (writing tip). Or, push some of the mixture into one end of a disposable straw, wipe off the outside, then insert straw into opening of olive and squeeze feta mixture out of the straw.
Both the drink mix and the stuffed olives can be prepared a few days in advance.
Gluten-free adaptation: use tequila or a gluten-free vodka, in place of conventional vodka.
Vegan/dairy-free adaptation: omit feta cheese (substitute by garnishing with cooked chickpeas).
One note on the tomato juice: use the best you can find. I went into this project convinced I would make even the juice from scratch, but that won’t add any value unless it’s the peak of tomato season. The brand I suggest in the recipe is the one I used, found at Whole Foods in the aisle with the room temperature, bottled juice. Trader Joe’s didn’t have one when I checked. There are also several of the old school canned varieties on the market, which would work well, too. You want a little salt in the juice–mine had 390 mg of sodium per 8 oz.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Category: Cocktail
- Cuisine: Vegetarian