Home Cocktails Classic Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe

Classic Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe

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.

Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe: A glass of Bloody Mary with fresh tomato, chili. lime and celery on a wooden table
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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.

  1. It was named for Queen Mary – aka “Bloody Mary” – who brutally murdered a number of people in her day.
  2. It comes from the “Bucket of Blood Bar” in Chicago and was named for a waitress there.
  3. 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!
Top view of a glass of Bloody Mary, jigger, tomatoes, limes and chilis on a wooden table

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:

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  • 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!

Bloody Mary on a high ball glass garnish with celery, olives and lime wedge

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.
Refreshing Bloody Mary cocktail on a high ball glass perfect on a wooden table.

Recipe Variations

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

Cantarito
Salty Dog
Gin Rickey
Caipirinha

Bloody Mary Cocktail

Servings

1

serving
Prep time

10

minutes
Calories

215

kcal

Unravel the tantalizing tale behind one of the world’s most iconic brunch cocktails – the Bloody Mary. It’s spicy, savory, and not to be missed.

Ingredients

  • Ice

  • 2 ounces vodka

  • 4 ounces tomato juice

  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon horseradish

  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 dash hot sauce

  • 1 pinch celery salt, plus more for rimming the glass

  • 1 pinch black pepper

  • 1 lemon wedge, for rimming the glass

  • Optional garnishes: celery stalk, olives, pickles, lemon wedge

Instructions

  • In a shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, and black pepper. Shake well until the shaker has frosted, about 20 seconds.
  • Wet the rim of a highball glass with a lemon wedge. Spread celery salt on a flat plate. Turn the glass upside down and dip it into the celery salt to coat the rim.
  • Fill the glass with ice, then strain the mixture into the glass. Garnish with a celery stalk, olives, pickles, and/or a lemon wedge, if desired.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • The calories listed do not include garnishes
  • Leave the hot sauce out if you don’t want it spicy.
  • Always serve chilled.
Bloody Mary Cocktail

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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