Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar

Give your guests brunch's heaviest hitter


No offense to the Bellini, but on some Sunday mornings -- you know which ones -- peach fuzz and bubbles won't cut through the haze. You need a Bloody Mary, the one steel-toed cocktail that can stand up to unholy sunshine and ESPN and Meet the Press. The next time you need to rally guests for a mid-morning meal, break out brunch's heaviest hitter: the Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar.

Setting out the ingredients and letting friends play mixologist helps keep everyone happy; the host can stay out of the kitchen, and guests can commune with their own signature version of the drink.

The Set-Up:

Clear part of the table and build some levels. Throw a cookbook, pot or two under a table cloth, and you have instant platforms on which to group the ingredients (this is for presentation as much as practicality -- the different heights make it easier to see and grab the goods). Have a bucket of good ice and a stock of pint or highball glasses.

The Spirits:

Vodka. It's not necessary to go top-shelf. If you really want to mix it up, offer a mid-level gin or tequila, as well.

The Mix:

Purists can make their own (see recipe below), but there's nothing ignoble about using a favorite bottled mix. If you're feeling generous, offer a few, including an extremely spicy one for the self-flagellating-est of your friends.

The Mixers:

Clamato, Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, and tomato juice.

The Garnishes:

Here's where you can truly go nuts. Offer a platter of celery, lemons, dill pickle spears, and cubes of cheddar cheese, but you don't have to stop there: The Bloody Mary is an excellent staging ground for just about anything you want to add to your morning meal. Try out artisinal pickled beans or peppers, onion slices, or roasted garlic heads.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Mark Angelillo
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    2 5,324

    One of my favorite cocktails to make, but it's pretty time consuming! Lots of ingredients.

    I used to use V8 because somehow I thought it was better but was scolded and now use Tomato Juice. I'll never go back.

    Jun 08, 2010 at 6:46 PM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,575

    I've never made it at home, but it's a brunch staple - the more vegetables stuck in the glass the better for me. A platter of food with my drink is even better!

    Jun 09, 2010 at 12:48 PM

  • Snooth User: samantha gaw
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    356700 354

    My favorite cocktail of the moment/season. Tomato juice is really versatile. I've been served more than a few unusual variations - pickled watermelon rind or octopus ceviche as garnish, custom flavorings of Maggi sauce, smoked paprika, curry, or cornichon juice.

    Jun 10, 2010 at 11:41 AM

  • Snooth User: Chris Carpita
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    33093 5,546

    Bloody Marys are the only reason I eat vegetables on weekends. I owe my health to this drink, and I will proudly make one soon.

    Jun 10, 2010 at 7:46 PM

  • Snooth User: Vroom
    499964 2

    Cheddar cheese? No kidding!

    Jun 11, 2010 at 1:40 PM

  • Snooth User: Apart
    500004 2

    Such a versatile drink. I make it often.

    Jun 11, 2010 at 1:53 PM

  • There is a recipe out there calling for bacon fat-infused vodka for their Bloody. This is NOT rendered bacon fat (from heating), it is raw! Is it safe?

    Jun 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

  • Bloody Mary with a twist....Clamato Juice...yum...

    Jun 15, 2010 at 6:05 PM

  • Snooth User: Chris Salvatori
    Hand of Snooth
    93847 123

    Since I began making brunch at home on Sundays a year ago, this is a staple. The recipe looks good, but I usually quadruple the horseradish recommended above.

    Jun 17, 2010 at 11:01 PM

  • Snooth User: kevn6060
    233467 1

    I like to garnish with a shrimp and an olive.

    Jun 22, 2010 at 10:57 AM

  • Snooth User: SMFN
    466282 59

    A Bloody Mary made with Clamato juice is FANTASTIC! It's actually called a Bloody Caesar-- Thanks Canada!! I had this once years ago in Montreal and have been hooked ever since...the only way I make them now! I don't know about anyone else but the octopus ceviche may be a bit much to handle on a morning I really need a bloody mary! Interesting though.....

    Jun 22, 2010 at 5:42 PM

  • Snooth User: Gunilla
    445977 1

    Top it off with a splash of port - unbeatable!

    Jun 24, 2010 at 1:58 PM

  • Snooth User: kulhluk
    90347 12

    a very nice batch of commentary - a few months ago in one of the airline onboard magazines, someone from the Nashville restaurant scene had a wonderful (tried it once) variation using tequila! Can't find it at the moment, but am certain it is available with a search and worth looking for when I have when time is available to revisit.

    Jun 29, 2010 at 12:11 PM

  • Snooth User: brigide
    432690 2

    @ ChefCath Bacon would be totally safe, because the vodka would act as a preserving agent. Still sounds a little weird though! I would probably use a dry cured meat like Pancetta.

    My favorite is with oysters.. actually just posted my recipe on blog about drinks for a crowd.

    Jul 03, 2010 at 7:35 AM

  • Snooth User: kaxelsen
    148370 1

    Clamato used to make a mix called Bloody Caesar but I have not been able to find it for years. A dollop of Caesar salad dressing makes up perfectly for the lack of the mix. I also like to add a very small bit of pickle juice from a jar of spicy dill pickles. Another favorite variation using Clamato Juice is shrimp as a garnish and a sprinkle or rim of Old Bay seasoning with just your typical fixings.

    Jul 09, 2010 at 8:14 PM

  • Snooth User: Pumul
    488490 6

    a splash of Sherry works well too!

    Jul 29, 2010 at 11:39 AM

  • bloody mary

    raw tomato 1 pieces
    mint leaves 7-8 sprig
    corriander leaves 7-8 sprig
    worcester sauce
    tabasco sauce
    bbq sauce
    lemon juice
    tomato juice

    rim the glass with rock salt
    blend all the ingredients together
    served with two cubes of ice.
    top with pepper absolute vodka

    Aug 07, 2010 at 1:12 PM

  • Snooth User: foodie123
    158302 1

    Gary's Bloody Mary Mix - My Dad's Recipe
    I have a quart of this mix on hand at all times!

    10 oz can Snappy Tom or V8
    4 oz. L & P Worcestershire Sauce
    2 oz very hot horseradish
    1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
    1 tsp. celery salt
    4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
    2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

    Mix in quart jar and fill with tomato Juice. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to a month.

    To prepare: fill glass with ice and add 1 shot mix (or more if spicer drink is desired): 1 shot vodka: fill glass with tomato juice (I prefer Clamato): Enjoy!

    Aug 08, 2010 at 7:24 AM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network