A brunch staple is the Bloody Mary, which is known to be a hangover cure and a preppy drink that gives people an excuse to drink during the day. Many restaurants offer their own variations on the Bloody Mary theme, though most use some combination of the drink’s traditional ingredients: vodka, tomato juice, lemon or lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, salt, pepper and a rib of celery for garnish.
The tangy vodka cocktail is infinitely customizable and it brings out the mad scientist in many bartenders. The secret to a good Mary is all about balance – and Greg David can testify to that. 2 years ago, Greg spent 3 months creating a recipe for the best Bloody Mary mix on the shore. Months later, George’s Bloody Mary Mix
was perfected, bottled, and distributed. George’s Bloody Mary Mix can be found in bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and shops across Maryland and Delaware.
Greg’s love for Bloodys began while he was working as a bartender in Annapolis.
“Everyone always remarked about how great Greg’s Bloody Marys were. One day, I suggested he bottle it,” said Theda Bakis, Greg’s girlfriend.
It took some convincing from Theda and her twin sister, Alex Bakis, before Greg seriously considered bottling his Bloody mix. After Theda and Alex worked out the logistics of creating, running and managing a small business, Greg gave in. He spent 3 months mixing hot sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, celery salts, and tomatoes together in his kitchen before determining the perfect measurements of each ingredient used in his adored Bloody Marys.
“George’s Mixes is unique in the fact that you don’t really have to mix it. You just have to add your spirits and you’re set,” said Greg.
George’s Bloody Mary Mix pairs perfectly with smooth vodkas. Alternately, some individuals choose to pair the mix with gin. Tequila can be used to create a tangy Bloody Maria, too. If you like a little more kick; top the cocktail with plenty of green olives, a fresh stalk of celery, pickled green beans, or lemon or lime wedge. Seafood lovers can add a shrimp to the rim, too. And for a Virgin Mary, just leave out the alcohol – George’s Mix can stand all on its own when poured over ice.
The George’s Mixes crew stresses that their mix has multiple uses. Besides mixing with spirits, George’s Mixes can be incorporated into delicious snacks, appetizers and meals. The George’s Mixes website
features more than 2 dozen original recipes that incorporate the Bloody Mary mixture.
“There is so much flavor to the mix. It’s great to cook with!” said Alex before announcing her favorite things to make with the tomatoey mix.
Theda, Alex, and Greg shared their favorite and most popular recipes with us. Check them out below:
Theda’s Favorite George’s Recipe:
2 lbs. ground beef (80/20 mix works well)
1 ½ cups chopped onion
3 cups George’s Bloody Mary Mix
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes (San Marzano is a favorite)
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup chopped green pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne (red) pepper (optional – for those how like heat!)
½ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. cumin
3 T. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
Brown the meat and onions over medium heat until meat is cooked. Drain. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ hours (or cook in slow cooker for 8-10 hours after browning meat). Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips.
George's Chili was a contender at the most recent Greene Turtle Chili Cook Off. The George’s team swears that they would have taken home a first place trophy for their chili – if they hadn’t run out of chili within the first hour of the contest.
Alex’s Favorite George’s Recipe:
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup George’s Bloody Mary Mix
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 small scallion, chopped
2 lbs. large cooked shrimp (steamed or cooked the way you like)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the mayonnaise, George’s Mix, celery and scallion. Mix well. Add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. Add more George’s Mix for an even stronger flavor. For an even more decadent addition, add three strips of cooked, chopped bacon to the mix.
Greg’s Favorite George’s Recipe:
George’s Maryland Crab Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes (San Marzano is a favorite)
1 cup water
2 cups George’s Bloody Mary Mix
3 cups beef stock
4 cups mixed frozen veggies (whichever blend you like)
1 can (14.5 oz.) stewed tomatoes, drained
2-3 T. Old Bay seasoning
2 lbs. back fin lump crabmeat
Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add onion and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add tomatoes, water, George’s Mix, and beef stock. Stir well. Add veggies, stewed tomatoes and Old Bay. Simmer (but do not boil) for at least 35-45 minutes. Add crabmeat and simmer for a few minutes more. Serve and enjoy!
“Besides being used in drink or in recipes, the mix can be used as a marinade, too. It’s delicious when used on venison or pork chops,” said Theda.
Greg, an Annapolis native, moved to Berlin a few years ago. While bartending at The Globe, one of Berlin’s popular restaurants located on Broad Street, Greg met many supportive individuals who loved his spicy Bloody. Weeks later, Greg won the Seacrets Bloody Mary Contest and gained the title ‘Best Bloody Mary in Ocean City’. The word about Greg’s delicious tomato drinks spread.
“Everything started with the people we know and those who support us. We utilized all of our connections,” said Alex about starting the business.
“Businesses and individuals in this area are really supportive of other small businesses. The feeling of being part of our community really helped us a lot.”
Currently, George’s Bloody Mary Mix is available in 125 locations across Maryland and Delaware. In October of last year, George’s Bloody Mary Mix was picked up by Reliable Churchill, a Baltimore-based company that is the leading distributor of fine wines and spirits in MD.
Locally, several bars serve only Bloody Marys made with George’s Mixes. Bars serving drinks made with George’s Bloody Mary Mix include Blu Crabhouse, Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon, Coconuts, Liquid Assets, Station 7 Bar & Grill, The Globe, and the Shark on the Harbor.
“It’s prudent for bars to purchase a mix so their Bloodys are all consistent,” said Greg.
By using George’s Mixes, Bloody Marys at one establishment won’t vary from bartender to bartender or from shift to shift. Each bartender will be using the same mix instead of creating their own. This means that patrons to the bar will consistently be served a Bloody that tastes the exact same each time the visit that establishment.
The name, George’s Mixes, came about as a way to honor Greg’s late father. Greg’s father, George, had owned and operated several restaurants in Washington DC and Prince George’s County. Naming his Bloody Mary concoction after his father was a tribute to his success in the restaurant business.