Photos by Ruta Smith

By Michael Pham 

A standard Bloody Mary mixes spice, heat, umami and salt for a flavorful, savory cocktail perfect for brunch (or to cure a hangover). But, a new locally made mix, called “The Other Mary,” incorporates some interesting ingredients not typically found in traditional mixes. 

The Other Mary is a collaboration between Gina Moore of Pluff Mud Mercantile in West Ashley and Jon Lessans of Indigo Ink Marketing. The mix amps up the spice and heat with notes of island spices and real wasabi to ignite your taste buds. 

“[Before], I didn’t drink Bloody Marys,” Moore said. “I didn’t like them. I wanted to like them. They look good. They look healthy. But every time I would try one, it just would fall short. I was thinking, ‘It’s just not good.’ ”

Moore set out on a journey to create a drink she actually wanted — something different and unique to her. While experimenting with flavors that could pair well with tomato juice, Moore said she thought of the Sea Island spices on Edisto Island, where she lived for 13 years. These spices, Moore said, are rich in paprika and pepper flavor. 

The flavors of a childhood gumbo also inspired Moore. In her initial recipe for the mix, she said she added ingredients found in gumbo, like bay leaves, celery and onions, and the Sea Island spices. Once her first attempt at the mix was ready, she wanted a second opinion.

And that’s where Lessans stepped in. He had previously talked to Moore about possibly launching a Bloody Mary mix under his other brand, Shuckable.

Jon Lessans (left) and Gina Moore collaborated on their new Bloody Mary mix, The Other Mary

“Because of oysters and Bloody Marys, it always kind of made sense to me to do one at some time,” Lessans said. “And then one day, she approached me and was like, ‘I’ve got this idea and a recipe and the name.’ And when she said it to me, I said, ‘Forget the Shuckable one. I want in on this.’ ” 

The pair worked together with a co-packer to refine the flavor of The Other Mary. For heat, Moore said horseradish was too boring and in order to stand out from other mixes, Lessans and Moore agreed to add authentic wasabi. Contrary to popular belief, the wasabi found in commercial grocery stores is not actually wasabi but colored horseradish, according to Moore and Lessans, so they sourced real wasabi. The next batch of mix will incorporate wasabi from a farm in North Carolina. 

“We had no idea that wasabi actually makes it sweeter,” Moore said. “So it kind of cuts down that acidic flavor to it and rounded out all the other spices. So you get a little heat on the back end but you don’t get hit up your sinuses.”

Moore wanted to add okra for a touch of green, but said she worried the slimy texture might disturb the viscosity. The next option was dried green beans, but sourcing would be too difficult. As a compromise, the co-packer suggested spinach, to which Lessans and Moore agreed. 

“I remember when we first added the wasabi,” Lessans said. “I’ve got a baby palate, so it can’t be too hot. But when we added that to it, it actually helped the spice even out.”

Moore added, “That’s why it was great to have Jon to test — because of his baby palate. We want something that’s flavorful and has a little heat but not too much.”

Order 32 oz. bottles of The Other Mary Bloody Mary mix or find retail locations at theothermarymix.com.


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