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York spirits company’s jalapeño bloody mary benefits disease research

Gretchen Mckay
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thanks to its bold, rich flavor and curative properties — tomato juice is said to counter the effects of drinking too much alcohol — a bloody mary often is the drink of choice for Sunday brunch. Yet the vodka-based cocktail is much more than a hair of the dog cure for a hangover. It hits the spot any time you feel like sipping a drink that puts a peppery burn on your lips.

Holla’s Sweetfire Jalapeño vodka, crafted in West Manchester Township, is infused with chili peppers, which gives a sweet and gentle heat to mixed drinks. It’s also the base for the official summer cocktail created by the distillery for the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association to raise money for Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit that raises awareness of and funding for research into rare diseases.

The drink is spicy, but only moderately so; depending on your tolerance level, you may also want to add an additional dash or two of Tabasco or a tad more horseradish. (I garnished the rim with Old Bay Seasoning for extra oomph and flavor.) A crisp and crunchy celery stick is a mandatory finishing touch, but feel free to go crazy with other garnishes as well — think everything from pickle spears or cornichons to dilled green beans, bacon, olives, and lime or lemon slices.

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If you prefer the shortcut of using a premade bloody mary mix, Holla founder Patrick Shorb recommends going regional with one made by a Pennsylvania company like York-based EPIC Pickles or Bellefonte’s Bonfatto’s. Be sure to have plenty of ice — bloody marys are best served icy cold.

Holla’s jalapeno-infused vodka gives extra kick to Pennsylvania’s official summer adult drink of 2022.

Holla Sweetfire Jalapeno Bloody Mary

  • Celery salt or Old Bay Seasoning, for glass, optional
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 2 ounces Holla Sweetfire Jalapeño-infused vodka
  • 4 ounces tomato juice
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • Celery stalk, speared green olives, lime wedge and/or bacon, for garnish

If rimming the lip of your cocktail glass, pour some celery salt or Old Bay seasoning on a small plate.

Rub the juicy side of a lime slice along the lip of a highball or pint glass. Roll the outer edge of the glass in the seasoning until it is fully coated, then fill the glass with ice and set aside while you make the bloody mary mix.

Into a shaker, add vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of black pepper. Add some ice, and shake gently.

Strain into the prepared glass, then garnish with speared olives, a lime wedge and a celery stalk.

Makes 1 cocktail.

— Patrick Shorb, Holla Spirits, York

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