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  • Laurel Contributor

John’s Famous Bloody Marys

by Jane Jerry



John Rymer’s Famous Bloody Marys are the perfectly calibrated way to celebrate New Year’s Day (for the entire neighborhood).

“Different people in my family would probably tell you different secrets to my Famous Bloody Mary Mix,” says John Rymer. “Some would say it’s the fresh key limes, some would say it’s the precise instruments, some would say have your party on New Year’s Day. I’d say it’s my ability to read and comprehend. I bought a bottle of Mr. and Mrs. T’s Bloody Mary Mix and figured out the ingredients and volume. Presto! John’s Famous Bloody Marys.”

Now 91 years old, John Rymer reflects on the genesis of The Party.

“Our kids were young and my wife Beverly said ‘everyone has New Year’s Parties…let’s have a New Year’s Day Brunch.’

“I always made our Christmas cards, so that year Beverly wrote a note on the cards to all of our Miami friends inviting them for New Years Day. The menu was simple and delicious.“

A New Year’s Day Menu

Collard Green Soup

Biscuits and Country Ham

Jewish Cheese Blintzes (our friend Reed Jaffee always brought these)

Scrambled Eggs

Bloody Marys

“My job was the Bloody Marys,” says John. “After I figured out the recipe my other big job was squeezing about two dozen key limes I gathered from our tree. Remember – we lived in Miami then. Our key limes were green and thin-skinned – not those yellow ones – and about the size of ping pong balls. My measuring vessels were made for measuring photographic chemicals and they’re extremely accurate. And here’s a good tip for when you’re making them: measure out the Karo Syrup and then follow it with the vinegar and that’ll wash out the glass.

“The first year of the Party, about 70 people showed up with their kids. Our boys John and Todd took people up and down the canal all afternoon long. The Party became a local tradition on New Years Day and after the first couple of year’s people came without an invitation…we never knew who would show up.”


John’s Famous Bloody Marys

Serves about 12

48 oz Tomato Juice

4 oz Lime Juice (lemon juice will do if you don’t have your own key lime tree)

2 oz Karo Syrup

2 oz White Vinegar

4 t. soy sauce

4 t. Worcester sauce

Tabasco to taste

Serve over ice, with vodka or gin