‘Barefoot Contessa’: Ina Garten Puts an Easy Twist on This Classic Brunch Cocktail That Everyone Will Love

Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten loves to entertain. She’s spent years perfecting not only her recipes but also her hosting skills. And Garten even knows how to put together the perfect brunch.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten in 2019
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten in 2019 | Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Ina Garten has a few brunch favorites

Garten loves preparing meals for a crowd, and brunch is no exception. Garten once revealed during an episode of her show that she loves preparing brunch gatherings because her guests are “gone by 3,” so it’s not a long day. This means she has the rest of her day to herself — and we totally agree.

Garten has a few signature brunch dishes that are her go-to when she’s feeding a crowd. Though she typically serves brunch around the holidays, her recipes can be made any time of year. According to Food Network, Garten loves favorites like blini with smoked salmon, Challah French toast, and even macaroni and cheese — topped with tomatoes for color, of course.


'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten in 2017
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten in 2017 | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Ina Garten adds a spicy twist to her classic bloody Mary

When it comes to preparing the perfect brunch, Garten puts plenty of emphasis on the cocktails. And she has an exciting twist to the classic bloody Mary, a brunch staple. “Making real bloody Marys is so easy, why would you [buy the mix]?” Garten says during an episode of her show.

Here’s what you’ll need:
3 large celery stalks, plus more for decoration
3 teaspoons horseradish
2 teaspoons yellow onion, grated
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco (more or less, to taste)  
1 46-ounce can tomato juice
2 cups vodka

Dice the celery, plus its leaves, and puree in a food processor. Then, add the next seven ingredients to the food processor as well (all but tomato juice and vodka) and puree once more until well combined. In a half-quart pitcher, add tomato juice plus celery blend, and stir to combine. Then, add vodka and stir once more; chill before serving.

To serve, add ice cubes to individual glasses, then pour bloody Mary over ice. Add a celery stalk to each glass for decoration.

The drinks can be made ahead of time and brought out when they’re ready to be served.  “You can certainly make this in advance, and just keep it in the refrigerator,” Garten adds.

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten in October 2018
‘Barefoot Contessa’ star Ina Garten in October 2018 | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Garten’s all-time favorite cocktail is her homemade whiskey sour

When it comes to cocktails, Garten doesn’t shy away. The Food Network star actually loves a good drink, and she even went viral at the beginning of the pandemic for making a massive Cosmopolitan. Still, Garten later admitted that she doesn’t actually drink much and normally enjoys a glass of wine here and there. She only usually has cocktails on special occasions.

Garten’s all-time favorite drink is her homemade whiskey sour, which combines quality whiskey with fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, and sugar syrup, plus maraschino cherries for garnish. The full recipe is available on Garten’s Barefoot Contessa website.