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A locally-made Bloody Mary mix debuts

Could Charleston Mix Bloody Mary be the next Firefly?

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Charleston has its own Bloody Mary mix, and it's already been named the official drink of the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival's Lowcountry Gospel Brunch.

Charleston Mix Bloody Mary is the brainchild of Ryan Roberts and his friend Ryan Eleuteri. The two cooked up the idea on a Sunday morning last April on James Island.

"We bought a bottle of a mass-produced brand [of Bloody Mary mix] as well as some tomato juice and other ingredients," Roberts says. "After a couple of Bloody Marys, we determined that we could produce a better product than most of the brands we could find in stores."

The pair began mixing various spices and fruits for a unique flavor, with a local tinge.

"Combined with tomato juice as well as a blend of herbs and spices, a premium brand of Worcestershire sauce and a hint of citrus ingredients, we found the flavor we were looking for," Roberts says. "We also use a variety of less common herbs like tarragon and thyme to add subtle complement to the stronger ingredients like pepper and sea salt. As a final tribute to Charleston itself, we chose to use rice vinegar as an ingredient in homage to the rice industry that originally put Charleston on the map."

The two friends say they owe the gig to Lowcountry Local First, which connected them with W+F's Lowcountry Gospel Brunch.

"It's a great networking opportunity and an excellent way to help get your product in front of other local businesses," Roberts says. "We're thankful to both organizations as well as the Certified South Carolina program for helping support independent, local small business."

The Bloody Mary mix has yet to be seen in local stores or restaurants, but Roberts and Eleuteri high hopes of reaching out for the future.

"Presently, we're only distributing the product locally," Roberts says. "Our official product debut will be at the Wine + Food Festival. We've spoken with a number of restaurants and have a lot of interest and we're looking forward to introducing our mix to restaurants in the area as well as grocery and wine/liquor stores.  Ultimately, we'd like to branch out to other areas in the Carolinas and Georgia."

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