We’ve all had our fair share of late nights and early mornings, many of which required a hair of the dog concoction to get us through those times when our mouths are bone dry, the sun feels demonically bright, an invisible screw is being drilled into the side of our temples, and anything with a non-neutral smell makes us wish for a nearby toilet. Well, that or death ... whatever is quicker.
Hair of the dog is all well and good, but Ashleigh Tarkington, owner of Billy Goat Saloon in Bayfield, is taking this classic hangover cure and giving it her own juicy twist. Hair of the Goat Bloody Mary Mix will soon hit local markets and liquor store shelves, and if you’re not excited, you clearly haven’t ordered a Bloody Mary at Billy Goat.
“I love Bloody Marys,” Tarkington said. “I try to sample them at every city I go to. After all these years, I know what I like.”
As self-proclaimed Bloody Mary aficionados, we can attest to Tarkington’s cocktail skills. After a Sunday morning brunch at Billy Goat, her dark red concoction rose to the top of our list.
The Oct. 26 launch party for the mix, which will be at noon at Billy Goat, is open to the public. There will be a Bloody Mary and snack bar. Tarkington is even teaming up with Deep Eddy Vodka for the party, and reps will be hanging around the Goat to pass out samples and swag.
“This is something I started working on ten years ago and I tabled it,” Tarkington said. “But then I started following Durango Artisan Foods on social media, and I started looking at their stuff. They’re a co-packing facility. They’re designed to package their products. That was the biggest hurdle for me so I spoke to Mark and Kara (Grubis, the owners of Durango Artisan Foods. They said, ‘Let’s do this.”
Tarkington decided to sell the mix because the recipe was a clear winner among Billy Goat patrons.
“I make a giant vat of it,” she said. “Everyone loves it, and that’s where I got the idea.”
After years of making the drink and trying other recipes, Tarkington has making a good Bloody Mary down to a science.
“I like spice. I love horseradish, pepper, and pepperoncini juice,” she said. “Everyone likes their own thing. Some like it sweeter with Worcester sauce and some like it bland. ... I got it (the recipe) down to where’s palatable and not too spicy.”