Much like a deep fryer, once you own a juicer there’s an uncontrollable impulse to ask “Will this juice?” (Potatoes: yes; bananas: no.) For me, tomatoes were always an outlier. I knew they could be juiced, likely with great success because of the high water content, but what would the final product be? Shelf-stable jarred and canned tomato juice has an even, velvety texture. Would fresh tomato juice be the same?

Emphatically, no. Tomatoes foam heavily during juicing and the juice separates almost immediately. Because the fruit contains so much flesh, the sediment and water separate, creating a layer of pinkish slough and off-white liquid. (This happens frequently with green juices, too.) Since fresh juice is not pasteurized, it also lacks the even, thick viscosity of commercial options. It’s also a closer to a sorbet-pink hue instead of that almost-too-perfect sanguine color. In short, it is not the prettiest juice.

But what fresh tomato juice lacks in sex appeal it makes up for in brightness, freshness and fragrance. Especially when using peak produce, this baseline tomato-blend recipe is one of the most aromatic and flavorful juices I’ve ever made. And healthy! Tomatoes are full of vitamins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants (specifically lycopene) that with long-term consumption can help prevent chronic illnesses, like heart disease. If preventing clogged arteries isn’t your thing, this recipe doubles as a great template for Bloody Mary mix. Add some horseradish, pickle juice, a few dashes of Worcestershire and hot sauce and you’ve got the makings of a damn tasty brunch cocktail.

A note on texture: The sediment of this juice is visually off-putting, and if your goal is to make a big, photo-worthy pitcher of fresh Bloody Marys to impress your guests, the separation will be an issue. I tried passing the juice through a secondary sieve to achieve a smoother consistency, but the sieve was too fine. A medium-grain sieve would do the trick. For best results, make sure the juice is chilled first and has a chance to rest and de-foam.