The perfect brunch beverage from the Home Port in Menemsha

Bloody Marias

by Samantha Barrow

Bloody Marias

Elizabeth Cecil

Working your butt off on an island where everyone comes to vacation is rough. The throngs walk slowly, dribble along on mopeds in flip-flops, lollygag in search of the sight of another lighthouse. For those of us rushing to get everything planted, taxied, painted, fried, scrubbed, excavated, and delivered on time, the tension between the pace of our two worlds can prove crazy-making. In our little precious time off, we who are
busy making hay while the sun shines have a lot to accomplish. We need to hurry up and relax, do our laundry, catch up on sleep, and cram in the joy our beloved Island has to offer that makes us live here to begin with. Days off can be exhausting.

I offer up my as-of-yet-under-discovered solution: Sunday Brunch at the Home Port, complete with its stunning centerpiece—the best Bloody Mary ever.

The angels hit a high note as the server arrives with the glistening carafe. It is accompanied by a galvanized steel bucket filled with all the garnish and fixings you need, resulting in a mini picnic at your table. Celery, green beans, horseradish, Worcestershire Sauce, lemon & lime wedges, Tabasco, and fresh pepper to grind abound as you doctor up to perfection a drink that was superior to begin with. It is thick, scrumptiously spicy, and balanced enough to enjoy on its own or with your spirits of choice. As a horseradish junky, by the time I’m finished, my little vacation in a glass is straight up chunky. Those who remember Johnny’s Fine Take Out in Vineyard Haven, from years back, welcome the return of Chef Johnny Graham, who is kind enough to reveal his secret: a base of made-from-scratch gazpacho.

Today my beloved and I bring tequila to mix Bloody Marias instead of Marys. A purist may suggest our early afternoon cocktails would be better paired with oysters from the raw bar, but our instant luxury of choice is the made-to-order cinnamon donuts served hot with strawberry rhubarb compote.

“Tequila and donuts, I mean c’mon,” my wife croons. We sink away from the work week on our one coveted day off together. The blue glasses twinkle like sea glass in the airy and open dining room with a view of the channel up into Menemsha Pond and the dunes of Aquinnah. Harmony between the worlds has been restored. For the time being.

The Home Port Restaurant, 512 North Road, Menemsha Village in Chilmark, (508) 645-2679. Sunday Brunch hours: 11a.m.–3p.m. Bloody Mary-Maria set up to serve 4–6 people: $12.00.