I have never been a Bloody Mary kind of girl. All that spice and salt and heavy, thick tomato juice does not appeal. This, along with the fact that it’s a cocktail suited mostly for brunch, where the lovely, light, and bubbly mimosa is also a star and far more tantalizing to my tastes. Or so I thought. Until the day everything changed. While skiing in Deer Valley late one morning, snowflakes as large and dense as littleneck clams came pouring down from the heavens.
It was our first full day on the mountain, and I had visions of heading to après late with flushed cheeks and sore quads. Unfortunately, my husband, Tom, and I were struggling through our very first runs. The whiteout conditions were not only blinding, but extremely wet, leaving our mittens and turtle fur soggy, our ski ensembles shiny and slick.
It was only 11:30 a.m. when we called it for lunch. We schussed over to the Viking lift which drops you directly in front of the legendary Stein Eriksen Lodge, named after the Norwegian Olympic gold-medalist. I had visited the Stein on a previous occasion, so my adrenaline was already pumping with giddy anticipation as we clomped ski-boot style towards the door. Inside, the atmosphere was subdued, the lighting low, and the aura warm. It was the perfect antidote for soothing chilled fingers and toes.
Once seated, the first order of business to address was whether we were going to be drinking at all, or was this a Diet Coke sort of lunch? One glance out the window to the still blinding snow conditions gave us our answer—real drinks for sure. When the waiter appeared, Tom blurted out that he wanted a Bloody Mary. This came as a shock since he is a “beer only” type of guy and in our 18 years of marriage I had never seen him with a Bloody Mary in his hand. So, without giving it much thought, I seconded the choice and ordered one too. The Stein serves three types of bloodies—regular, spicy, and the BLT. I went for spicy and Tom chose the BLT, which comes with a mouth-watering slice of bacon artistically draped over the top of the glass.
The bloodies looked so beautiful when they arrived that just seeing them filled me with content. Their juicy crimson color and garnishes of celery, peppers, and olives were lovely against the caramel-hued lodge interior. The glass was rimmed with salt and cayenne and the drink was perfect. I was surprised by how much I liked it.
On our last afternoon in Deer Valley, we skied up to The Stein one more time. Tom and I ordered what had become over the course of the week “the usual,” and made a final toast. We tipped our drinks towards each other, and as reliably as The Silver Lake Express lift revs into action at 9 a.m., once again the bloodies went down smooth as corduroy.