It's a cold January morning, and I am feeling seasick. The bartender at St. Pete's Dancing Marlin [300 Main Street, (713)227-1511] offers to make me a Bloody Mary to calm my nerves. Behind him, a billfish the size of a small car hangs from the ceiling. The wooden floors and shiny shellac on the bar remind me of the woodwork on a yacht. I lean my head against the wall beside a nautical chart of the Caribbean basin and thank God I'm not actually sailing.
Dancing Marlin's Bloody Mary: Horseradish is the secret ingredient of the Dancing Marlin's version of this classic breakfast cocktail. I don't know why all the hot stuff seems to steady the stomach, but it works for me. The name originated with the tragic English noblewoman Mary Tudor. When Henry VIII divorced her mom, Mary I was declared illegitimate. Bloody Mary took out her frustrations by persecuting Protestants; she is said to have murdered hundreds of them.
16 ounces tomato juice
Juice of one lemon
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
8 shots Stolichnaya vodka
4 celery stalks
Bottled pepper sauce (optional)
Combine tomato juice, lemon, Worcestershire, horseradish, pepper, cayenne and celery salt in a pitcher and stir thoroughly. Fill four large tumblers with ice. Add two shots of vodka to each, then fill with Bloody Mary mix and garnish each with a celery stalk. Add some extra bottled pepper sauce if you feel the need. Makes four.