Three of Austin’s best Bloody Mary mixes to create your own boozy brunch at home

Many summer weekends ahead mean relaxing with a drink during a long, leisurely brunch.

To that end, we’ve rounded up several Austin restaurants that serve delicious brunch cocktails — whether it’s a classic mimosa you’re seeking or something a little more off-the-wall, like Snooze’s Bacon & Eggs whiskey sour.

But you might be like me: staying in close proximity to your bed. So, if you’d rather not venture far but still want a little morning buzz (no judgment here, OK), we’ve got you covered there, too. Here are three locally made Bloody Mary mixes that you can add a little vodka to and snuggle up with.

Contributed by Barbecue Wife. Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary Mix is made locally by Catherine Stiles, who uses Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew’s special house sauce in it.

Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary Mix

The wife of Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew owner Shane Stiles, Catherine Stiles uses the restaurant’s house sauce, a light tomato-based mixture of smoked black pepper and other spices, as the not-so-secret ingredient in the mix she spent a year-and-a-half perfecting. Now, the all-natural, preservative-free Barbecue Wife is easy to find in local stores like Whole Foods and Royal Blue Grocery.

Grab this one if you want a savory punch of smoke and heat in your Bloody Mary. (Needless to say, it’s the right kind of pick-me-up the morning after a night out.)

There’s another good reason to love the product: Stiles has packed a lot of heart into it, sticking a double-sided label on the bottles that are illustrated on the inside with a picture of a “barbecue wife,” a series of strong women she feels don’t get enough representation for their hard work. You’ll have to finish the bottle to see the full image, as if you needed more incentive.

For more information, visit barbecuewife.com.

Lauren’s Garden Craft Cocktail Juice

The tagline that accompanies this local potion is “From garden to glass,” and it’s not wrong. Lauren Kelleher was inspired to make a Bloody Mary mix created from freshly squeezed tomatoes after her neighbors in Travis Heights would throw “tomato parties” during their harvests of the juicy red vegetable. At the parties, the Bloody Marys with just-squeezed juice were unlike any she’s had before.

That’s what you’ll notice with Lauren’s Garden’s four varieties of Bloody Mary mix, including Original, Texican, Lightly Seasoned Tomato Juice and Serrano Lime. They’ve all got different flavors, but their essence is the same. Lauren’s Garden Craft Cocktail Juice tastes, as one Facebook reviewer put it, like actual tomatoes were added to her Bloody Mary. Fancy that.

Bottles of each are made with three pounds of Texas tomatoes sourced from Marfa and are all-natural, vegan and non-GMO. They’re also low-calorie, so you won’t have to feel too guilty about adding just a little extra vodka (although I’d suggest a blanco tequila with the Original — the interplay of the agave and tomato is really something magical).

Find Lauren’s Garden mixes at a variety of local HEBs, Royal Blue Grocery, and Central Markets and Whole Foods statewide. For more information, visit laurensgardenmix.com/.

The Bloody Buddy

This Bloody Mary mix, from former Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse bartender Buddy Jordan, is perhaps the most conducive to a lazy day — it comes with the vodka already in it, so all you have to do is shake it and add it to a glass with some ice.

Jordan created it after noticing that there were hardly any ready-to-drink Bloody Mary mixes on the market, despite the popularity of ready-to-drink options as a whole. There also weren’t any with a boozy infusion in them. But Bloody Buddy covers that niche with a special blend of chili peppers that are infused with the vodka and then combined with juices and seasonings in a recipe he’s taken several years to get just right.

You can find bottles (in small four-packs or single large-format) at most Spec’s locations. For more information, visit thebloodybuddy.com.

Deborah Cannon / American-Statesman. Buddy Jordan, the creator of the Bloody Buddy, infuses his ready-to-mix vodka product with chili peppers.

Barbecue Wife wins big at entrepreneurial competition at SXSW

Contributed by Boston Beer Co. Catherine Stiles, of Barbecue Wife, won a competition among small business owners in Austin at SXSW.

The local maker of an all-natural Bloody Mary mix distilled her dream about the business into a cohesive pitch that won over the judges and the audience at the Pop-Up Pitch Room competition at South by Southwest this weekend.

Catherine Stiles, owner of the spicy mix she calls Barbecue Wife, took home both the main prize of the $10,000 business grant and the $5,000 People’s Choice Award. The Pop-Up Pitch Room is the brainchild of Boston Beer Co., the brewery behind Samuel Adams beers and Brewing the American Dream, a philanthropic program that fueled the creation of the competition.

“I’m still in shock and so very humbled by the win. I was both the judges’ selection and the People’s Choice selection, so it was a surreal day,” Stiles said via email.

She was the head of one of five Austin-based food and beverage small businesses that competed in the Pop-Up Pitch Room, with each business owner giving two-minute pitches about their projects.

Samuel Adams’ Brewing the American Dream — which also released a collaboration beer at the event with locally located Infamous Brewing— “provides micro-lending, coaching and mentoring to food, beverage, and craft brewing small business owners nationwide and welcomed Grand Prize and People’s Choice winner Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary Mix to its national network of innovative and passionate entrepreneurs,” according to a news release.

The other participants in the Pop-Up Pitch Room competition include Joe’s Microgreens, Banner Distilling, FOND Bone Broth and GFY Kitchen. Stiles, however, presented the best pitch.

She has been producing the Bloody Mary mix since 2015 using the barbecue sauce from her husband Shane’s restaurant, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. The result is a perfectly balanced savory mixture of smoke and heat and is available at a variety of Austin retailers, including Whole Foods, Breed & Co, and Twin Liquors.

And if you’re looking for some Bloody Mary goodness at the rest of the fest this week, Barbecue Wife will be served at Rachael Ray’s SXSW party.

Give blood and get a Bloody Mary at Craftsman in return

Knowing you’re helping someone is a reward in itself when giving blood, but East Austin bar Craftsman is offering an extra incentive for you now through the month of March.

Craftsman is offering blood donors a free Bloody Mary throughout February and March, when blood donations are at their lowest annually.
Craftsman is offering blood donors a free Bloody Mary throughout February and March, when blood donations are at their lowest annually.

Bring in proof that you’ve given blood through March 31 and Craftsman will give you a free Bloody Mary in return. Plus, all proceeds of purchased Bloody Mary drinks in the same time period will go toward the Blood & Tissue Center of Central Texas. (But keep in mind, if you do give blood, that donors should refrain from consuming alcohol on the day of their donation.)

Craftsman’s owner, Brandon Testa, decided to offer this deal in honor of the end of National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, which was in January. February and March, he learned after a meeting with the blood center, sees a big decrease in the amount of blood donations annually.

“I know countless people who have family members or friends whose lives were saved thanks to organizations that provide blood like the Blood Center of Central Texas,” Testa said in a press release. “We thought a natural fit to help such an important organization would be to donate the proceeds of Bloody Mary sales, one of our most popular and delicious selections on our menu.”

The Craftsman Bloody Mary is house-made with the bar’s own spices, tomato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and Tito’s Vodka. Try it out during brunch, when the East Cesar Chavez Street bungalow bar is offering a menu of Mexican items like huevos rancheros, Tacos Don Chaco and the vegetarian Tacos Mi Madre.

And even if you aren’t a fan of Bloody Marys, Testa is hoping that his promotion brings awareness to the importance of giving blood, “one of the simplest and safest ways to help someone in need,” he said in the press release.

Craftsman is located at 2000 E. Cesar Chavez St. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/craftsmanbar.