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How to make the best Bloody Mary recipe

A Bloody Mary is the quintessential brunch beverage and I’m going to show you how to make the best Bloody Mary recipe. It has multiple 5 star ratings and it is incredibly easy to prepare. You can customize it to your personal preferences, and it’s even better when made ahead.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also like my Chambord champagne cocktail and my frozen strawberry daiquiri recipe. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my cocktail recipes in one place.

5 star Bloody Mary recipe

You can double or triple the recipe to make a big batch pitcher drink. It’s the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had, and the delicious flavored rim gives it extra zing in every sip.

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Why you should make this recipe

  • Quick & Easy – Making the best homemade Bloody Mary mix takes less than 10 minutes.
  • Versatile – You can swap out tomato juice for Clamato, swap out vodka for tequila and mix up the garnishes.
  • Make Ahead – This drink gets even better after a couple of hours in the fridge.
Bloody Mary on white counter.

5 star Bloody Mary recipe

I’m usually a two drink max kind of girl and I had two drinks in no time flat. Consider yourself warned, because they go down very easily. This is the best Bloody Mary recipe and one you’ll want to make over and over.

I hesitate to call anything the “best”, because that is subjective. However, it is the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had.

5 star Bloody Mary recipe with garnish.

First things first, we are making it from scratch. The difference is remarkable when you don’t use a store-bought mix. The drink tastes MUCH fresher and brighter.

This recipe is flexible, so you can adjust amounts to make it perfect for your taste buds. You can make it less spicy, or spicier. Add more horseradish, or less, if it isn’t your favorite.

The key to making your own mix is letting it sit and infuse in the fridge. I like to make it the night before, so when I make the drinks the following day, the flavor has really developed. You can adjust everything to suit your personal preferences, to make it the best Bloody Mary for you.

Ingredients

Before we get to the recipe, here is a quick list of what you’ll need to make this drink.

You’ll find the ingredients for the bloody Mary rimmers recipe at the bottom of the post.

Ingredients for Bloody Marys on white background.
  • Tomato juice – (or Clamato juice for a Bloody Caesar) – This is the base of the drink, so choose a brand that you like.
  • Vodka – The traditional spirit in a Bloody Mary.
  • Fresh lemon juice (not the bottle) – Fresh lemon juice brightens up the flavor in this cocktail.
  • Grated horseradish – This is what gives the drink its kick.
  • Celery salt – Adds great seasoning to the drink. You can substitute with ground celery seed instead of celery salt.
  • Your favorite hot sauce – Whatever you have in the fridge is fine. You’ll only need a few dashes.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Brings lots of umami flavor to the table.
  • Olive juice – from the jar of olives

All about the garnish

For me, a good Bloody Mary is all about the garnish. Celery sticks are clearly mandatory, but a full slice of super crispy bacon, skewered olives, a pickle of some sort and a wedge of lemon are perfection.

This is also a perfect opportunity to clean out the fridge. If you have half empty jars of pickles or olives, they make a great garnish. Think of it as “tidying up”.

Bloody Marys with garnish on white background.

Chef’s Tip!

I use decorative 6 inch skewers to hold the garnish for these drinks. To keep in place, I thread it through the celery stick. That keeps the garnish from falling down into the drink.

How to garnish Bloody Mary cocktails.

How to make a Bloody Mary

The best part of pitcher drinks like these is how easy they are to make. They are also best when made ahead.

Pitcher of tomato based cocktail.

To make a batch of Bloody Marys, mix tomato juice with horseradish, lemon juice, celery salt, hot sauce, Worcestershire & olive juice in a pitcher.

This is your “Homemade Bloody Mary Mix“. If time allows, let it sit for at least a couple of hours in the fridge.

Empty glass with garnish.

Mix up the ingredients for the rimmers and coat each glass with this spicy mixture. Set the glasses aside to allow the rim to dry a bit and set up.

Gather your garnishes and arrange the skewers. Add everything to your rimmed glassware.

Pouring drink into glass.

Fill glasses with ice and pour in the vodka and your Bloody Mary mix.

Bloody Mary rimmers recipe

Bloody Mary rimmers.

To add a little extra flavor with every sip, I coat the outside of the glasses with a simple mixture of sea salt, celery seed and cayenne pepper.

You can make your own mixture using whatever you like best.

Best Bloody Mary FAQ’s

What alcohol goes in a Bloody Mary?

Vodka is the traditional spirit in a Bloody Mary. You can swap it out for other spirits to make variations on this drink, like a Bloody Maria with tequila.

What is the best vodka for Bloody Marys?

Because you will taste the vodka in your drink, choose a vodka that you like. There are plenty of opinions on this topic, from potato vodkas to flavored vodkas (think Spicy Pepper), but at the end of the day, it’s what you like best.

Can I make this drink ahead of time?

Yes! That’s part of what makes this the best Bloody Mary recipe – making it ahead. This allows the homemade Bloody Mary mix to develop flavor.

Variations and substitutions

The variations on a Bloody Mary are nearly endless. You can swap out garnishes, alcohol and the juice.

  • Swap tomato juice for Clamato and make a Bloody Caesar.
  • Swap vodka for tequila and make a Bloody Maria.
  • Swap in gin for the vodka and now you have a Red Snapper.
  • Add tomatillos & green tomatoes instead of tomato juice for a green version.
  • Omit the alcohol and have a virgin Bloody Mary.

Make a Bloody Mary bar

Rather than making everyone the same drink,  you can customize them any way you like by setting up as many or as few garnishes as you like.

Pouring Bloody Mary drink into glass.

Make your mix in a big pitcher and guests can pour their own vodka (or tequila if you want a Bloody Maria) and choose their own garnish.

Make a flavored salt rim for the glasses and you have a delicious Bloody Mary that is better than anything you will get in a restaurant because you, and your guests, can make it exactly how you like it.

Helpful tools and equipment

  • Highball glasses – I love these tall, beautiful Italian glasses. The perfect vessel for your cocktails.
  • Tall, Glass Pitcher – Every well-stocked bar needs a classic pitcher to serve drinks, especially with the holidays only days away.
  • Bar glass rimmer – I love this thing. You can do several different rim coatings with this, it has 3 compartments.
  • Gherkin-stuffed olives – Yes, you read that right. Olives stuffed with pickles!!! So good.

Serving suggestions

We’ve made the Best Bloody Mary recipe, now we need some food to go with it. Here are a few suggestions for what to serve with them:

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Yield: 2 people

Restaurant-Style Bloody Mary

Restaurant-Style Bloody Mary

A delicious, restaurant-style Bloody Mary recipe at home!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces tomato juice, or Clamato juice for a Bloody Caesar // 237ml
  • 4 ounces vodka // 118ml
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice // 44 ml
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 4 dashes hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce olive juice / 30ml
  • Garnishes: celery stick, crispy bacon, lemon wedge, green olives, pepperoncini, pickled beans, pickled okra, cherry tomato

Flavored Salt Rim

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix tomato juice with horseradish, lemon juice, celery salt, hot sauce, Worcestershire & olive juice. If time allows, let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two before drinking. This is your "Bloody Mary Mix".
  2. In a small, shallow plate, mix the sea salt, celery seed and cayenne together. Wet the rim of a glass with a lemon wedge and dip the outside of the glass into salt mixture, rotating the glass to cover the entire outside rim.
  3. Add ice to the glass, pour in vodka and top with Bloody Mary mix. Stir well, add garnish and enjoy!

Notes

  • Other than the tomato/clamato juice and vodka, horseradish is perhaps the most important ingredient. Please don't skimp on it. The lemon juice also gives the drink a nice "zing", I like a bit more lemon juice so I add a little extra to mine.
  • The hot sauce is to taste. Sometimes, I don't add much & other times, I may want it spicier. Make it according to your personal taste.
  • The mix can be refrigerated for a few days, so if you are having a gathering it is perfect to make ahead! It also helps to develop a bit more flavor.
  • Set up a Bloody Mary bar where guests can assemble their own drinks. Make the Bloody Mary mix and put it in a pitcher. Set out the mix, vodka and all the garnishes with long picks, glasses, ice, lemon wedges and a couple of plates of the rimmer mixture. Guests can make their own cocktails to suit their tastes and it can all be done ahead of time (except for the ice).

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 2204mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 10gSugar: 27gProtein: 16g

Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂

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Questions? Send me an email, I’m happy to help. I’d love to send you weekly tips and recipes, so you can get updates about what’s happening in the kitchen!

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20 Comments

    1. Where am I missing the recipe?? I see ingredients, but no recipe! I don’t know the first thing about making bloody Mary’s, but want to make them for my family for Christmas, because it was a tradition my father-in-law had Dash and he is gone now.

  1. OMG! With the bacon and all the vegetables, I barely had to serve anything else at brunch! Love the batching ahead too!

    1. Thanks, Beth! It’s perfect for having guests over, because you don’t have to fuss around with making drinks for everyone.

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