Grabbing a bloody Mary at the bar is a challenge, especially when you can build your own. Should you opt for a vodka, tequila, gin, or whiskey base? What type of mix do you want — spicy, traditional, or herb-forward? And don't even get us started on the garnish — hard-boiled egg, bacon, celery, pickled veggies, and on and on. It's a challenge, my fellow brunch buddies. When you're enjoying some time at a place that specializes in a bloody Mary bar, it's easy to add a little bit of everything and then find your cocktail costs as much as your food.
Aside from being cheaper to make your own extravagant bloody Mary bar at home, there's something so wonderfully lavish about having bloody Marys available with every last dreamy addition. Actually, once I'm done here, I might start planning my next home brunch. While I do, check out our at-home bloody Mary bar ideas.
Bloody Mary Bar 101
You don't need to offer a full bar and dozens of garnish options or even more than one type of bloody Mary mix to successfully make your own bloody Mary bar. Unless, of course, that's the vibe you're going for, or you're throwing a BYOBM-accoutrements party — that's a Bring Your Own Bloody Mary garnish and favorites approach.
Clear a space on your counter or set up a dedicated table for your bloody Mary bar. Stock with napkins, ice, glasses, spirit(s), mix(es), and, of course, the garnishes. Remember that some garnishes might be best handled with a fork, tong, or spoon.
You may want to include some add-ins for people to customize, such as hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pickle juice, or BBQ sauce.
@qmixers This weekend, bring brunch home with your own Bloody Mary bar! All you need is a little garnish inspo, your spirit of choice, and Q’s Bloody Mary Mix. #fyp #weekendvibes #brunch #cocktails #easyrecipe Chill Vibes - Tollan Kim
Bloody Mary Spirits
A traditional bloody Mary uses vodka, but you can use a homemade vegetable-infused vodka for one that'll knock your socks or slippers right off. Of course, you can go off the traditional menu with bourbon, gin, tequila, and mezcal. When using those spirits, skip the infusions. There's already a lot going on, and you don't want the flavors to become overwhelming.
Common vodka infusions for bloody Marys include spicy vodka, garlic vodka, green bean, a simple citron vodka.
Bloody Mary Mixers
You can make your own bloody Mary mix from scratch or grab a pre-made bottle from the store. Let me be the first to tell you that the bloody Mary mixes on the store shelves aren't the mixes from the 80s or 90s. The pre-made Bloody Mary mixes are the stuff of dreams these days. They're so good that you could definitely skip the booze if you wanted. I sure have on several occasions.
TL;DR on my favorite mixes: Grab McClure's Bloody Mary mix for the richest flavor and with a touch of pickle and garlic, a bottle of SuckerPunch Original if you love a classic Bloody Mary, or if you're a spicy person, 5 Pepper Bloody Mary will bring the heat.
The Ultimate Bloody Mary Garnishes
You could write a small novel with the bloody Mary garnish possibilities. So, while this list is pretty exhaustive, it's far from all the Bloody Mary garnish options, but it has something for everyone and their cousin. When using vegetables, you can use fresh or pickled. The choice is wholly personal.
- Vegetables and Traditional Bloody Mary Garnishes: Celery stalks, carrots, pickle spear or slices, cucumber wheels or sticks, green olives, scallions, limes and lemons, green beans, cherry or grape tomatoes, pepperoncini or banana peppers, cornichons, peppers, parsley, fresh basil, cilantro.
- Meat Bloody Mary Garnishes: Bacon, breakfast sausage, pepperoni sticks, hard-boiled egg, shrimp, Canadian bacon, beef jerky, pepperoni, candied bacon, prosciutto, fried chicken chunks, salami.
- Unique Bloody Mary Garnishes: Pickled green beans, pickled carrots, cocktail onions, pickled red onion, blue cheese stuffed olives, spicy pickled vegetables, Old Bay or Bloody Mary seasoning rim, mozzarella pearls, baby corn, cheese cubes or cheese sticks, asparagus stalks, artichoke hearts, jalapeños, mushrooms, fennel, waffle fries, soft pretzels, onion rings, cheese curds.
- Lavish and Fancy Bloody Mary Garnishes: Lobster tails, fried oyster, seared scallops, cheeseburger slider, bacon-wrapped scallops or dates, meatballs smoked salmon, caviar, miniature pizza slice, grilled cheese croutons, deviled eggs.
- Garnishes Not to Use With Bloody Mary: Sweet fruits don't really hit the spot with bloody Mary garnishes, as well as nuts or dessert items. If you wouldn't think of enjoying in with a dish of spaghetti with red sauce, skip that garnish.
When to Have a Bloody Mary Bar
So, now that you're dreaming in bloody Marys, you might be wondering when the right time is to create your own bloody Mary bar at home. The answer? Literally, anytime friend. Maybe skip work days, but your days off are perfect.
Keep your garnishes in tightly sealed jars or containers in your fridge so they're always ready to go at a moment's notice without the extra prep. Bloody Mary bars are great for holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Day, birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or every third Saturday of the month. Or, like right now.
Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Good Brunch
If you're like me, your eyes have been darting towards your kitchen while thinking about all things bloody Mary. I'm dreaming of how to summon the spirits of a good bloody Mary, the one in a glass. But to be fair, if Bloody Mary herself showed up and you offered her a drink from your bar, she'd leave you untouched.