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#10DaysofTailgate: Charred Bloody Mary with Smoky Sliders

Smoky and charred. This cocktail somehow reminded me of Smoke, a poem by Henry David Thoreau. Melted wings and light-choking smoke. I don't mind works in mysterious ways sometimes.

Light-winged smoke, Icarian bird,
Melting thy pinions in thy upward flight,
Lark without song, and messenger of dawn,
Circling above the hamlets as thy nest;
Or else, departing dream, and shadowy form
Of midnight vision, gathering up thy skirts;
By night star-veiling, and by day
Darkening the light blotting out the sun;
Go thou my incense upward from this hearth,
And ask the Gods to pardon this clear flame.

When I received Not Ketchup's Smoky Date*, I knew that I wanted to incorporate it into a cocktail for #10DaysofTailgate.

I've long been intrigued by charred cocktails; I opted to go that route. Then, I garnished it with a slider. I used the Smoky Date in both. Yum. And cheers!

This isn't really a complicated recipe. It's a cocktail + a slider. It just looks long because there are multiple steps. Please read all the way through before making a grocery list. The Charred Tomato Puree and Charred Bloody Mary Mix can be done ahead of time.

Charred Tomato Puree
  • 1 pound tomatoes, halved
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t  chili powder

Charred Bloody Mary Mix 
  • 3 oz.  charred tomato puree
  • 3 bread and butter pickles
  • 1 T Not Ketchup's Smoky Date
  • 1 pinch ground mustard
  • 1 pinch fleur de sel

The Cocktail
  • 1 oz. gin (I opted for a cranberry clementine-infused gin versus the traditional vodka)
  • 3 oz. Charred Bloody Mary Mix (see recipe above)
  • garnishes of your choosing (I made a slider and used celery, stuffed olives, and a caviar lime)

The Slider
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 T crushed garlic
  • 2 T Not Ketchup's Smoky Date + more for brushing on while cooking
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • splash of olive oil
  • mini-buns
  • cheese for melting (I used a bacon cheddar)

The Cocktail 
First,  make the charred tomato puree. Brush 1 pound of halved tomatoes with olive oil and grill on each side for about 90 seconds.

Puree the charred tomatoes along with the cumin and chili powder. Prepare the Charred Bloody Mary Mix. Blend together 3 ounces of the charred tomato puree, NOT Ketchup Smoky Date, ground mustard, bread and butter pickles, and a pinch of salt.

The Slider
Preheat the oven to 375°. Combine all of the ingredients - except the mini-buns and cheese - in a large bowl. With moist hands, shape meat mixture into two tablespoon-sized meat patties. Arrange meat patties in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan lined with parchment paper. Press a hollow into the patties as that helps keep them flat. Brush them with more Smoky Date.

Bake meatballs at 375° for 35 minutes or until done. Roll them in a little bit of the sauce return them to the oven for 5 minutes. 

To assemble - Place thin slices of cheese on the mini buns and bake them until the cheese is melted. 

Place a patty on the melted cheese and slide a skewer through, with a caviar lime, a stuffed olive, and a celery stick. When you're ready to mix your cocktail, combine the charred bloody mary mix and gin. Garnish with the slider-skewer.

And here's what the team brought to the table...

Avocado and Corn Salsa by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Charred Bloody Mary and Smoky Sliders by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Mason Jar Fruit Salads by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Sticky Fingers by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Not Ketchup Cherry Chipotle Sloppy Joes and Cheese Fries by Making Miracles

Thanks again Not Ketchup* - just one of the #10DaysofTailgate sponsors -
for ingredients used in this recipe!

*I received one complimentary bottle of Not Ketchup for participating in #10DaysofTailgate. But all opinions expressed are 100% accurate and 100% my own. I've never tried this product before, and I'll definitely be buying more of the flavors!


  1. Great recipe and I love how your mind works. I could never have worked Thoreau into a post about tailgating!

    1. Haha! Well, you know, poetry is often part of my life. Football, not so much.

    2. I totally agree with that statement!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful meal tailgating or
    Blessings dear. Catherine

  3. My mom sent me a photo last week of a Bloody Mary that had a slider as garnish! I'll have to share your post with her.

    1. I saw a photo somewhere - no recipe - and knew that I HAD to figure out how to make it.

  4. A slider as a garnish? Oh man! NEED! And I love LOVE bloody mary's. I will definitely have to make this.

  5. What a delicious and BEAUTIFUL way to use my Smoky Date Not Ketchup! And combining two of my favorite foods no less...Bloody Mary's and burgers. And I am 100% sure that this is the first time anyone has quoted Thoreau while cooking with Not Ketchup. I am so glad I decided to sponsor #10DaysOfTailgate - it's a week and a half of FIRSTS! :)

    1. We aim to please, Erika. Thank YOU for sponsoring. As for Thoreau...poetry is a much more natural path for me than football and tailgating!

  6. What a creative and cool combination - love this! So perfect for tailgating! :)

  7. I was tempted to get the Smokey Date myself! This looks like a perfect use for it! Great pictures!

  8. Charred, cocktail and slider are NOT three words I could imagine any one beverage, but OMG this is an enticing combination. Gotta try some Smokey Date!


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