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The BEST Bloody Mary Recipe + DIY Bloody Mary Bar

This Bloody Mary recipe makes a spicy, flavorful vodka cocktail. Make it a bloody Mary bar and add as many toppings as you’d like to get your drink just right!

It’s no secret I live for brunch. I’ve got tons of sweet and savory brunch recipes, like my chilaquiles. quiche Lorraine, and my dad’s famous breakfast potatoes (the best!), to name a couple. But I don’t think brunch counts unless there are bloody Marys involved. Savory and zesty with a kick, they’re my brunch beverage of choice. When it comes to bloody Marys, spare me the lone, flimsy stick of celery. I want my bloody super savory and fully loaded, please. The more the mary-ier (couldn’t help myself).

You might say this cocktail looks like a salad in a glass. I definitely wouldn’t disagree. A loaded Bloody Mary is a bruncher’s dream. Snacking on all of the extra trimmings while waiting for your actual meal to arrive is kind of a necessity. Since it’s totally acceptable to sip one or two before noon, Bloody Marys are a favorite part of weekend brunches — just think of the powerhouse of vitamins you’re getting in each vitamin-fortified sip!

How to Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar

What’s in This Bloody Mary

As with most cocktails, each person has their own special ratio of Bloody Mary ingredients they like to use. But no matter what flavor and texture you prefer your homemade Bloody Mary to have, the number one rule is you must make it with a good Bloody Mary mix. While there are some decent bloody Mary mixes on the market, making your own bloody Mary mix guarantees a fresh and flavorful mix.

What is Bloody Mary Mix Made of

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tomato juice—I use regular tomato juice as the base for my mix but if you prefer a bit more bite, V-8 or Clamato have built-in flavor. Clamato is a bit thinner if you prefer the texture. I like to serve one mild option and one spicy. And then I spice it up even more once it hits my glass.
  • Prepared hot horseradish (regular strength is fine if you prefer)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Celery salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt

What is the Best Alcohol for a Bloody Mary

Bloody marys are made with vodka. Classic unflavored brands like Titos, Effen, Ketel One, Stoli, or Smirnoff #57 are the norm, but if you want to add some punch to the party, try my pickle-infused vodka, or cucumber or jalapeño infused vodkas. Or, feel free to omit the alcohol entirely.

Tip: To make it a Bloody Maria, swap out the vodka for tequila, or leave out the alcohol to make a Virgin Mary.

three bloody mary cocktails

How to Make a Bloody Mary From Scratch

Prep the homemade Bloody Mary mix. Stir together the tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, garlic salt, black pepper, and Tabasco in a large pitcher.

Rim the glasses with a mixture of celery salt and kosher salt. Dip the rim of the glass in a plate of shallow water, then roll the rim with a mix of celery salt and kosher salt.

Fill the glass with ice and add 2 ounces of vodka, then top it off with the Bloody Mary mix you prepared.

Garnish with your favorite nibbles (I’ve shared an extensive list of Bloody Mary garnishes down below), and enjoy!

bloody mary garnishes

Creating a DIY Bloody Mary Bar

Some like ‘em mild, some want them over-the-top spiced, and everyone has their druthers. Therein lies the reason to create a Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar for a mix-and-match cocktail soirée that will leave them sipping for more.

Show off your garnishing ingenuity by putting your pickled veggies and extra bites center stage for your guests to pick and choose and create a loaded drink. Or a simple one if that’s the way they roll.

And now for the good stuff: the garnishes. Go crazy or classic, it’s up to you to pick and choose the accouterments to create your ultimate Bloody Mary.

see more: How to Set Up a DIY Mimosa Bar

how to make a bloody mary

My Favorite Bloody Mary Garnishes

When creating your Bloody Mary bar, the options are endless when it comes to picking the garnishes. A few of my favorite veggie garnishes are:

  • Lemon wedge
  • Lime wedge
  • Celery stalk
  • Cucumber slices
  • Kosher pickle spears
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pickled beans and asparagus
  • Pickled okra
  • Pimento or cheese-stuffed green olives
  • Pickled beets, cauliflower, or carrots
  • Pepperocinis, peppadews, or other peppers
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Large caper berries
  • Marinated artichoke hearts
  • Marinated pearl onions
  • Baby corn
bloody mary garnishes on long skewers

Protein Garnishes

Those with a heartier appetite will appreciate having a few protein-rich garnishes as well. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Bacon
  • Oysters
  • Cooked shrimp
  • Beef jerky or pepperoni sticks
  • Steak bits
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cheese squares
Pickle Infused Vodka for homemade bloody marys

Additional Seasonings

For the seasonings, you can either make your own or choose a store-bought blend. A few of my favorite Bloody Mary seasonings are:

  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Garlic salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Celery salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Lemon pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Seasoned salts
Best bloody mary toppings

Add-In Flavorings and Sauces

And for a dash of extra flavor, here are a few of my favorite sauces I like to add to my homemade Bloody Mary mix to switch things up a bit:

  • Tabasco sauce
  • Chohlula
  • Frank’s Red Hot sauce
  • Tapatio sauce
  • Louisiana hot sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Steak sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Pickle juice
  • Olive brine
Bloody Mary cocktail with garnishes

Why Do They Put Celery in a Bloody Mary?

Bloody Marys are traditionally garnished with a stick or two of celery. The story goes, in 1970 a bartender from Chicago’s famous Pump Room couldn’t find a straw for the drink and added a celery stick instead. Now the celery stick is basically a required garnish for this The astringent and crunchy properties of the celery help cut through the thickness of the tomato juice. Not to mention it complements the other savory elements of the drink.

What is the Difference Between a Bloody Mary and a Dirty Bloody Mary?

Dirty bloody marys have horseradish, as well as green olive brine.

Can I Prep the Bloody Mary Mix in Advance?

Yes, you can prep the mix up to a week ahead of time. Wait to stir in the vodka until you’re ready to serve the Bloody Marys, and keep the mix refrigerated in the meantime.

iced homemade bloody mary

Tips for Making the Best Bloody Mary

Have skewers on hand that are long enough to fit the size of your trimmings for maximum load-ability. You don’t want your guests to feel shortchanged on the garnishes.

Have plenty of ice on hand. Bloody Marys are best when refreshingly cold. Top the glasses to the rim with ice, and refrigerate the Mary mix before serving.

Create different flavored salts to rim your glass by combining kosher salt with different chile powders or herbs. Pour salts on small plates that just fit the rim of your glass. To coat, pour a small amount of water on a small plate. Roll the rim of the glass in the water and then in the salt.

bloody mary ingredients laid out on table

What to Serve With Your Bloody Mary

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

The BEST Bloody Mary Recipe and DIY Bloody Mary Bar