The inspiration for this soup comes directly from Rebecca, who served me a hot virgin bloody mary this winter. It was fantastic, sipped directly out of pretty china cups, with chicken-salad sandwiches and chips.
I have never liked this name for a drink, even though I do really love the drink (tomato juice anything, really), so I did a little sleuthing. Back in 1942, a bloody mary was called a red hammer. So that's what I'm renaming this splendidly versatile soup.
Red hammer soup brightens up a winter menu as a soup, yes, or an appetizer cup, or even just a vegetable to go next to pesto and pasta and green salad, as we had it here.
Essentially, make any virgin bloody mary and heat it up: now it's a red hammer, ok? This is how I make mine, although the measurements are guesses. I add the seasonings, taste, and adjust.
1 quart tomato-soup base* (see recipe here
2 tsp. Worcestershire
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. Tabasco (or add individually if you have spice-adverse eaters)
Serve hot to sip in mugs, or in bowls garnished with chilled, diced shrimp or chopped celery and onion.
Other ideas of add-ins or garnishes: squeeze of fresh lime juice, minced parsley, Old Bay seasoning, oyster crackers
*I think you could absolutely start with something other than homemade tomato-soup base. I'm using what I have. Try pureeing fresh or canned tomatoes, or use tomato juice or V8.