The Bloody Mary cocktail is part meal and part drink.
You’ll usually find it on a brunch menu next to the mimosas. But there’s nothing light and bubbly about this powerhouse cocktail!
Instead, it pairs tomato juice with all kinds of spicy and savory extras. And don’t get me started on the garnishes.
Even if you’re a Bloody Mary skeptic, I suggest sticking around.
Because the great thing about this cocktail is that there are no rules. You can change whatever you like to make it your own!
But first, let’s take a closer look at the classic Bloody Mary cocktail recipe.
What’s In a Bloody Mary?
Before we get to the ingredients let’s address the elephant in the room – how did the Bloody Mary get its name?
Well, there are a few theories.
- It was named for Queen Mary – aka “Bloody Mary” – who brutally murdered a number of people in her day.
- It comes from the “Bucket of Blood Bar” in Chicago and was named for a waitress there.
- Fernand Petiot invented the drink in the 1930s in New York. But there is little information about how he came up with the name.
I think the best explanation is that it’s named for Bloody Mary, Queen of England.
After all, it’s loaded with tomato juice, giving it that signature blood-red color.
Add some vodka, horseradish, hot sauce, and spices, and it’s almost as formidable as the Queen herself!
Here’s everything you need to whip up a classic Bloody Mary for your next Sunday brunch:
- Ice. It may seem odd to have ice as an ingredient, but this drink isn’t the same unless it’s ice cold!
- Vodka. Brands such as Tito’s or Ciroc have a gentle hint of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the savory ingredients. Either way, choose something at least mid-shelf.
- Tomato juice. This is the main flavor, so go for brands like Mott’s Clamato Juice, V8, or Sacramento Tomato Juice.
- Lemon juice. Fresh is best for cocktails, and this Bloody Mary is no exception.
- Horseradish. Horseradish adds a wonderful depth of flavor and spice. If you don’t like Horseradish, try jalapeńo peppers or Tabasco sauce.
- Worcestershire sauce. A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce add the perfect kiss of smokey, salty and umami goodness.
- Hot sauce. If you don’t want it too spicy, leave it out. Otherwise, go for your favorite brand.
- Celery Salt and Black Pepper. For peppery heat and a kick of saltiness with vegetable undertones. Seriously, it’s not the same without these spices, so don’t skip them!
How to Make a Bloody Mary
Whipping together a tasty Bloody Mary is super easy and fun. Here’s a quick run-down of the steps (you’ll find more details at the bottom):
1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Fill it to them rim and use crushed ice for easier shaking.
2. Pour in the alcohol and mixers. Then, shake for 20 seconds, or until the cocktail shaker is cold to the touch.
3. Rim a highball glass. Use a lemon wedge and celery salt.
4. Pour. Add more ice to the glass, then strain in the cocktail mixture.
At this point, you can serve the drink. But lets be honest, the Bloody Mary is nothing without the garnishes.
Let’s take a look at some of my faves.
Bloody Mary Garnish Ideas
Unsure of what garnishes to use for your Bloody Mary? Here are some suggestions:
- Bacon – add a few strips, sticking out of the top
- Cheese – cube some decent cheddar cheese and skewer it together
- Pickles – salty and crunchy for a spicy-savory drink
- Cocktail onions – a classic and it’s so easy
- Stuffed olives (like bleu cheese or garlic) – again, you can’t go wrong with that extra hit of salt
- Pickled Asparagus – I know how it sounds, but give it a try!
- Oysters – is this extra? Yes. Is it worth it? Also, yes!
- Cooked shrimp – grilled them up with Old Bay and skewer those bad boys
- Beef jerky or pepperoni sticks – the meat will complement the drink so well
- Celery – another classic
- Onion rings – yes, really
- Sliders – I know you’ve seen this before and it’s so fun! Try it at your next brunch for an Insta-worthy party
If you want some more inspiration, check out Pinterest. There are so many outrageous ideas. And then let me know what you tried!
How to Make a Bloody Mary Bar
Making a Bloody Mary bar at brunch will always be a big hit. Trust me, I know from experience!
Here’s everything you need to whip together an amazing Bloody Mary bar.
1. Make a big batch of Bloody Mary mix. Make it up the night before and pop it in the fridge. It’ll taste even better the next day. (Consider skipping the hot sauce since not everyone likes it).
2. Prepare the highball glasses. Put out some plain glasses and some with the celery salt rim so your guests can choose.
3. Set out an array of hot sauces. Allow your guests to adjust the spice level to their liking. Set out various spicy additions like horseradish, jalapenos, and various types of hot sauce.
4. Go crazy with garnishes. The best part of the Bloody Mary bar is all the garnishes! So try to make a few options and offer at least three or four.
Tips for the Best Bloody Mary
Want to take your Bloody Mary game over the edge? Check out some of these clever tips:
- Skip the vodka. No law states you have to use vodka in a Bloody Mary. So try tequila or gin.
- Use long skewers. That way, you can add a bunch of fun garnishes to one drink.
- Get creative with your rimmed glass. Celery salt is a great place to start, but you don’t have to stop there. Add more tasty ingredients to your celery salt mixture like chili powdered or fresh herbs.
- Always serve chilled. Bloody Mary tastes great when everything is nice and cold. Store extra Bloody Mary mix in the fridge and take it out right before serving. Always have extra ice on hand, and chill your highball glasses in the freezer.
Check out these few quick variations that taste just as amazing as the original!
- Bloody Caesar. For a Canadian twist, swap tomato juice for Clamato (clam and tomato juice). Traditional Bloody Caesar recipes use vodka, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Garnish with a celery stalk and a lime wedge.
- Bloody Geisha. Do you prefer sweeter flavors over spiky notes? Then you have to try the Bloody Geisha. It’s made with sake instead of vodka, which has a milder, slightly sweet flavor.
- Michelada. Who says you can’t have beer for brunch? The Michelada is a spiced beer version of the Bloody Mary. It typically includes beer, tomato juice, lime juice, and various seasonings and garnishes.
- Bloody Pirate. Can’t get enough spice? Using spiced rum takes the spicy flavors of a traditional Bloody Mary over the top. This variation includes spiced rum instead of vodka, along with tomato juice and traditional seasonings.
More Cocktails to Try
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