Mother’s Day Inspirations

Chris in front of canvas artwork and logoWe sat down with Chris Callahan, Chef Becky Geisel’s executive assistant for some inspiration for creating the perfect Mother’s Day Bloody Mary and table setting. Chris offers his expertise, as an artist, designer, and consummate entertainer for maximizing the flavor of this healthy and festive cocktail. Chris recommends starting with a tomato-infused vodka to achieve a flavorful foundation. “I love using this Tomato Flavored Vodka that’s organic called Crop! It really adds the perfect amount of “tomato-ness” to the Bloody Mary Drink. The key to the perfect drink is making your own homemade Bloody Mary mix if you have the time. Chris shares his authentic Bloody Mary recipe so you can be inspired to create the perfect drink for Mom. 


Tomato Paste is Key for Me 

I use tomato paste instead of tomato juice as the base because it gives the mix a richer flavor. You can use tomato juice if you prefer and like the taste; don’t use generic vegetable juice from a can as you will kill the drink! Tomato paste allows me the ability to add water to the mix and makes it as thick or loose as I want. For every 6-ounce can of tomato paste, add about 3.5 cups of water to create the base for the mix. I whirl mine in a blender but you can easily whisk it or shake everything in a container.

The Spices Make it Personal

This is where the fun really begins because you can tailor it to your own taste. My recipe is pretty classic so use these “must-have” ingredients as your guide and finesse it from there:

  •     Worcestershire Sauce
  •     Minced fresh garlic or garlic powder
  •     Hot sauce: Tabasco or Cholula Hot Sauce
  •     Celery Salt to taste
  •     Onion powder
  •     Lemon juice
  •     Horseradish
  •     Salt and pepper to taste


Vodka Makes it Festive

A steady 3-count pour equals 1 oz of alcohol. I prefer to make my pour 1.5 oz which is about a count up to 4.5. This also depends on the glass size. If it’s a tall high boy glass I may make it 6 counts and if it’s a short tall glass 4.5 counts. If it’s a rocks glass then I would count 3.5 with the alcohol. You can also make this alcohol-free by just leaving out the vodka. 


Garnish Frenzy

Adorn your drink with a leafy end celery stalk and a pimento olive for the traditional approach, and a lime wedge to cut the juice.  If you want to spice it up more you can rim your glass with a mixture of finely ground black & white peppercorns with celery salt and a bit of smoked paprika.

Other garnishes that are trending are a strip of thick-cut crispy bacon or a piece of cajun spicy poached shrimp. This drink is also known as “liquid lunch” as the tomato juice makes it heavy and rich and perhaps why all these crazy garnishing ideas originated, as they are taking the idea to its fullest – and beyond. Personally, I prefer the traditional garnish because the drink itself is enough and doesn’t need any more.


table setting with glassware and dishesSetting the Perfect Table 

There are many aspects to creating a table setting that has meaning to your mother and your family and we encourage you to spend time planning the design. Chris recommends organizing in advance as it’s a special day and it requires some planning and thought to properly give reverence to the matriarch of the family. 

The perfect Mother’s Day table setting should involve items that belonged to Mom that have been handed down to her from her mother or mother-in-law, and their mother’s mother, etc.  These items should be or could be a fine china set, a nice set of sterling or silver plates, a fine crystal goblet set, a silver holloware (kitchen and serving ware made from silver, sterling silver, or silver-plated copper), fine china serving plate, and fine silver serving pieces, etc. Incorporating any serving pieces that were given to mom impart a personal look such as linens, a centerpiece vase, etc. Mom deserves all the elegance on this day with the family touch. 

Chris feels that personal touches make the setting more inclusive and extra special to Mom. Anyone can go and emulate a popular store look without the setting being special. Chris feels that the heirloom hand-me-downs are what will make your Mother’s Day table setting exceptional and unique. Chris’s go-to tablescape? “I like to mix and match the heirloom serving pieces with fine china to keep uniformity to the table and to prevent it from looking like the Mad Hatter’s tea party from Alice in Wonderland.” 

When considering the perfect tablescape don’t forget about texture and hues. Using a beautiful spring-inspired, soft-colored table runner, something handed down or new, will impart that visual glue and create the theme. Experiment with using place-setting mats that coordinate with the runner to add depth and layers to the overall design. Plate chargers are also a great way to make your heirloom china pop and bring the entire place setting together.  

A beautiful crystal vase full of freshly picked flowers or store-bought flowers arranged nicely will be the perfect centerpiece and make Mom smile better than those handprints you gave her when younger. Tabletop place cards make guests feel welcome or opt for a mini menu on each place setting for an extra touch. When setting the table be sure to use settings based on your meal courses. When in doubt refer to Emily Post’s book for setting a proper table. 

So go ahead and break out that china and crystal and make all feel welcome at your table with these Mother’s Day inspirations from your friends at Bex Kitchen. Looking for catered food ideas to complement your perfect Bloody Mary and tablescape? Visit our website for more information and for our spring-inspired menu


recipe card