How To Make A Good Bloody Mary

Is there any more versatile of a drink than the famed Bloody Mary? It’s an anytime drink, and that’s a hard thing to accomplish in the world of booze. It is said to be the ultimate “hair of the dog” drink, meaning it can help with a hangover. You can order one for breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner, or at night. If that isn’t a marvel of the modern drink world then I don’t know what is. It can be served with a piece of celery stuck right in the drink or it can have a kebab stick loaded with pickles, bacon, chicken wings, and olives hanging out of it. You can have it mild or spicy. It truly is a chameleon drink, changing it colors for every occasion (metaphorically of course, it’s always red, thus the bloody mary name). There truly is no equal when it comes to the Bloody Mary.

A Little History of the Bloody Mary

In an almost poetic twist, the versatile drink known as the Bloody Mary, has multiple origin stories. You can decide for yourself which one suits you best. The first story is that of Mary Tudor, or Mary I of England. According to the bestbloodymary.com;

“As the daughter of Henry VIII, she saw much in her relatively short life. Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, gave birth to the Princess Mary on February 18, 1516; she was heir to the throne of England. However, Mary was declared illegitimate when Henry divorced her mother in 1532 to marry Anne Boleyn, mother of Elizabeth I. She watched her father treat her mother as a whore, make a mockery of her beloved church, and virtually slap her and her mother in the face for all of England to see. Mary is remembered for the hundreds of Protestants she murdered in the name of Catholicism. This is how she got her nickname “Bloody Mary.” She died on November 17, 1558. It also believed that the Bloody Mary drink is named for her.”

There is also another story out there of a Fernand Petiot. It was the 1920’s and Fernand was bartending at a bar in Paris, France. He mixed a drink that was equal parts tomato juice and vodka. The Gentleman, who is not named, that he served the cocktail to suggested that the drink reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago and a girl he met there named Mary.

In 1934, Petiot moved to New York City. He brought the drink with him to the St. Regis Hotel where he was bartending. The owners tried to change the name to Red Snapper but it never stuck. New Yorkers were unimpressed with the drink at first until Petiot added pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon. The drink started to get some acclaim. He then really planted its place in history when a customer asked him to spice it up, and he added a splash of Tabasco sauce to it. This was how the American classic was born.

What Do You Need To Make A Bloody Mary?

The easy answer to this question would probably be a little of everything. Bloody Mary’s are infamously, ever-changing. The ingredients can vary from recipe to recipe, so we’ll go with some things that we know you will most likely need. 

The first thing you’re going to need is a sturdy glass or mug. You may only do liquids, which is totally fine, or you may load it up with celery, bacon, pickles, or whatever you want to make a unique take on the classic. In any event, it never hurts to have a sturdy glass to put it all in. Take a look at these mugs from Amazon.

Secondly, you’ll need a good Bloody Mary mix. Tomato Juice is fine but it involves adding a lot of spices and extras that better left to the premixed versions. There are a numerous amounts of mixes available for Bloody Mary’s so make sure you pick the style you are going for like a mild or spicy mix. Check out this mix from Amazon.

Lastly, you’ll need an assortment of garnishes. One of the coolest things about the evolution of the Bloody Mary is the absolute excess in which they arrive now-a-days. A year ago I ordered a bloody mary for the first time in a long while and it came garnished with a pickle, cheese cubes, bacon, olives, and a chicken wing. I’ve seen even more ridiculous versions on the food network as well. It’s almost like a drink and an appetizer combined into one. So you can check out some ideas of garnish with the package from Amazon.

That’s the basic idea of what you’ll need. It’s a fully customizable drink so what one person has in their liquor cabinet may vary big time from what another person may have. Make it your own and do it with style. 

Impress With A DIY Bloody Mary Bar

If you like to host gatherings then you may want to consider putting together your very own Bloody Mary bar. It’s like a drink and snack bar all rolled into one and your guest are going to love it. Here’s what you need in order to get started.

  1. Whip up the Bloody Mary Base Mix(es) – It’s likely you’ll want to have several to choose from. You can go with a traditional, spicy, and possibly a pickle or cucumber flavored style (they literally make every kind of flavored vodka you can think of).
  2. Set out the Spices – You can have herbs, spices, and salts all available to mix the mary to their liking. Black Pepper, Paprika, Celery Salt, Himalayan Salt, and a number of other things can be set out.
  3. Get Sauced – Tabasco is a must, Worcestershire is an almost definite, but there are so many other options to go with as well. Hot sauces come in all levels of heat and a wide variety of flavors. You can also get inventive and have mustard, teriyaki, or steak sauces.
  4. Garnish That Drink – Set out multiple options to add as a garnish(snack) to the drink. You can try olives, dill pickles, boiled shrimp, fresh herbs, various varieties of cheese, beef jerky, summer sausage, bacon slices, onions rings, carrots, bell peppers, pickled green beans, tomatoes, okra, or lemon and lime wedges.

And there you have it! Make sure you set out containers with fresh or disposable spoons for spices, and another for toothpicks to add the garnish items. You also want to make sure everything is clearly labeled so you don’t have someone accidentally sipping on a spicy one.

Live Your Best Bloody Mary Life

Here are some recipes to get you going if you are just getting into Bloody Marys or want to try a new recipe. 

Traditional Bloody Mary Mix

  • 4 ounces (118 ml) tomato juice
  • 2 ounces (59 ml) Vodka
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch celery salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch smoked paprika
  • 1 celery stalk, for garnish
  • 1 lime wedge, for garnish

Southwestern Bloody Mary

  • 3 cups (710 ml) tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (3 g) minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon (17 g) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) finely minced, seeded, canned chipotle chilies
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) sugar
  • ⅔ cup (158 ml) chilled vodka
  • 6 celery stalks with leafy tops, for garnish
  • 6 fresh red chilies, slit, for garnish

Wasabi Bloody Mary

  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 g) wasabi powder
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) lemon juice, plus wedges for garnish
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash soy sauce
  • 2 ounces (59 ml) vodka
  • 4 ounces (118 ml) spicy tomato juice

Bloody Marys are such a versatile drink for something that started out as a simple two ingredient cocktail. So get creative, have fun, and if you’re a DD, don’t get drunk. Most importantly, stay safe and have fun. Cheers!

Here at hmmwhat2drink.com, we strive for a commitment to excellence. We enjoy our beers, spirits, and specialty drinks as much as the next, but we urge you to drink responsibly. These articles and recipes are intended for adults and as such, should be used in the proper context. So have fun, relax, but do it responsibly in your home or with a designated driver. If you have any suggestions please email us at hmmwhat2drink@gmail.com.

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