When Lauren Kelleher lived in Travis Heights, her neighbors would throw yearly tomato parties to celebrate their recent harvests of the juicy red vegetable. At these parties, they’d make Bloody Mary cocktails (along with BLT sandwiches) that she noticed tasted unlike any other Bloody Mary she’d had before. That got her thinking other people should be able to enjoy such freshly juiced Bloody Marys, too.
“I had never seen fresh-squeezed Bloody Mary mixes on the market before, so I wanted to create that product for people to be able to enjoy at home, much like I had,” she said.
The result of her more-than-a-year-long effort to produce a mix similar to the one her Travis Heights neighbors served is Lauren’s Garden Fresh Squeezed Bloody Mary Mix, made from Texas tomatoes (this time of year, they come from Marfa, but in spring, summer and early fall she’ll source them from Austin farms) and free of gluten, preservatives, MSGs and other additives that she said is present in a lot of other Bloody Mary mixes currently available.
Her mix comes in two varieties, Original and Mild, and both have mostly the same ingredients: tomatoes, lemon juice, spices and sea salt. The Original has “a bit more of a kick” because it’s also got a little Tabasco powder and cracked black pepper — it’s the mix you’ll want to put in your morning Bloody Mary.
“Mild is for people who don’t want the heat but do like the idea of drinking fresh squeezed tomato juice,” Kelleher said, noting that at the local farmer’s markets where she sells the mix, she sometimes offers the mild version to kids.
Because both are all-natural and featuring Texas-grown tomatoes she juices herself (one liter bottle contains about three pounds of the vegetable, she said), they’re appealing to many of the people who taste them. About every other person who tries the mix buys a bottle, she said.
They’re currently sold at the Lone Star Farmers Market in Bee Cave, at the Mueller Farmers Market off Airport Boulevard and the Cedar Park Farmers Market near Lakeline Mall. Wahoo’s Fish Tacos on South Congress Avenue has also started carrying them. And she’s starting to explore getting them into small, independent grocery stores as well.
She used to do the marketing for Dripping Springs Vodka, but that’s not the only reason she thinks the vodka is best with her Original mix. “Dripping Springs Vodka is actually really good with it,” she said. “The vodka has a sweet, round quality to it that goes well with the heat and the lemony nature of my product.”
Classic Garden Mary
1 ½ oz. Dripping Springs Vodka
4 oz. Lauren’s Garden Fresh Bloody Mary Mix
Build over ice and top with your favorite garnishes.
— Lauren’s Garden