I remember my first winter in Iowa. It was cold and windy, as you would expect, but it was also lonely. My friends had left town preferring to be home for the holidays, and I was stuck in a small snow-laden town. I was staying with my older brother whose Christmas was delayed because his wife did the noble thing and worked the holiday so her employees could enjoy Christmas Day with their families. She’s selfless that way, but at the ripe old age of 19, it felt like I was being punished. I “looked forward” to a Christmas morning where I would wake up to a quiet house (my brother sleeps in whenever possible), and spend time with my then 3 or 4 year old niece in front of the TV.
I found myself at church the Sunday before Christmas exchanging pleasantries with people I’d gotten to know in my short time. I went from person to person exchanging “No, I’m not going back to California for Winter Break, it’s just too expensive,” for looks of pity. I then struck up a conversation with a married couple I knew from youth group — we were fellow youth sponsors for the middle schoolers.
Before I could give them my spiel, they started in with, “So we know you’re probably not doing anything on Christmas morning on account of your sister-in-law working in order to give people the day off–”
(news has a way of travelling in small towns and I should’ve been used to it)
“– so we were wondering if you’d like to join us for Christmas lunch. Our son’ll be back from college, so you two could hang out. Our younger kids –”
(who I knew from youth group)
“– will be there too.” I was at a loss for words. A solution to my situation had manifested right in front of me, neatly wrapped up in a bow; a Christmas miracle!
I’ll always remember how lunch became a symbol of love that day; how food and community helped make a dismal Winter Break into a memory worth repeating. And so, I continue that tradition by sharing lunch with people whenever possible, especially early on in a friendship or relationship.
But not just any lunch will do. Only lunch where alcohol is served is acceptable. Okay, yes, I’m talking about brunch. (Thanks for sticking with me in that transition)
I love brunch because it happens later in the day; and like Christmas Lunch, there’s no need to wake up early. But I was 19 in my Christmas Lunch story, and now I’m not. So, I enjoy a delicious cocktail with brunch, as any connoisseur of brunch should, which brings me to the recipe for today! I first encountered the idea for today on TheFeedFeed’s Instagram account earlier this year, and I knew that I had to make a gluten and corn-free version to share with Elizabeth and friends. The Clamato Juice is homemade and requires commitment, but it’s worth it. I hope you enjoy this gluten and corn-free Bloody Caesar.
- 20 oz tomato juice
- 12 oz clam juice
- 4 dashes of Lea & Perrins brand worcestershire sauce (a gluten and corn-free product if made in the USA)
- 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce (a gluten)
- 1 tsp black pepper (figure out ratio)
- Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher.
- 1 oz potato vodka (for those of us avoiding corn)
- 3.5 oz of Homemade Clamato Juice (see above)
- 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce (gluten free product)
- 2 dashes of Lea & Perrins brand worcestershire sauce (gluten and corn free if made in USA)
- celery salt for the rim
- black pepper
- Use the lime to coat the rim of the glass, then dip the rim into the celery salt to create the rim.
- Combine the liquid items together in a shaker with ice and stir. Pour into the glass and top with black pepper. Garnish with a lime wedge, and anything else quintessential to brunch.