Michael Symon's Ultimate Ingredient To Amp Up Bloody Marys

Brunch just isn't brunch without a decent Bloody Mary — at least that's what fans of the cocktail say — and it's true that the scarlet drink can elevate a whole host of brunch dishes, from smoked salmon bagels to huevos rancheros to Russian eggs.

A classic Bloody Mary adds a nice boozy twist to brunch without being too heavy. Typical ingredients are vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt, pepper, and celery salt — and don't forget lemon and celery for garnish.

The result is an enticingly spicy and savory drink, where the freshness of tomato juice balances out the wicked kick of vodka. You could almost fool yourself that you're drinking something healthy. Almost.

But when did the Bloody Mary first grace our brunch tables? Its history is up for debate. But according to Silver Circle Distillery, it first showed up in Paris around 1921. The supposed inventor was barman Fernand "Pete" Petiot from Harry's New York Bar. The recipe was very much of the moment, as Russians were arriving in Paris with vodka, while Americans were showing up with canned tomato juice. It was only a matter of time before someone merged them together and added a bit of zip.

In the decades since, mixologists, chefs, and gourmets have put their own spin on the Bloody Mary. For example, Michael Symon has a secret ingredient he swears by.

The secret twist that makes Michael Symon's Bloody Marys pop

As a chef, TV presenter, restaurateur, and author, Michael Symon is busy man. But on weekends, he likes to unwind with friends over brunch and Bloody Marys (via Bon Appétit). And his secret ingredient for a memorable one? Horseradish. Specifically, the freshly grated stuff, which he says works a lot better than prepared horseradish.

As outlined by AllRecipes, prepared horseradish is the vinegary kind preserved in jars. While it's undeniably delicious, the vinegar notes might make your Bloody Mary too sour. In contrast, freshly grated horseradish magnifies the root's strong and spicy flavor, adding just a slight punch to your brunch.

When it comes to experimenting with Bloody Marys, you don't need to stop there. Difford's Guide suggests throwing in sugar syrup to balance out the lemon juice, as well as amontillado sherry for added flavor and bell pepper for freshness. Meanwhile, Bloody Mary drinkers in Costa Rica have their own secret ingredient — Salsa Lizano, a wildly popular, Worcestershire-based table condiment (via Amigo Foods).

People will always add news twists to this brunch-time favorite. But that said, a classic Bloody Mary always goes down nicely when entertaining friends on a Sunday.