Bloody Mary

Welcome to the world’s most amped up tomato juice cocktail–the Bloody Mary.

It’s the ultimate weekend brunch drink. It’s also a famous hangover cure, though the benefits are due mostly to electrolyte replenishment coming from the liquid, salt, and natural sugar in the main ingredients—tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce. The vodka? My guess is drinking more vodka isn’t going to help anyone’s hangover much. Though who knows?

The Bloody Mary is one of my favorite drinks of all time, though usually I limit the vodka to one ounce (I’m a lightweight, don’t judge!), or leave it out all together for a Virgin Mary.

My version of this drink includes the basics that you would expect—tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper—and a few subtle twists.

Instead of cayenne or Tabasco, I’m using sriracha. Tastes great and I always have a bottle in the fridge.

I’m also adding dill pickle juice. Pickle brine makes so many things better, right? (Try adding it to egg salad, or potato salad.) It’s salty, tangy, savory in a way that only comes from fermentation, and is a terrific addition to a Bloody Mary mix.

I use proportionally more Worcestershire sauce than I’ve found in other recipes, because it intensifies the savory flavor of the mix, and plays well with all of the other strongly flavored ingredients. I’ve noticed that when you add vodka to a Bloody Mary base, it dilutes the flavor intensity substantially, so you can afford to pump up the spices in this drink.

My final twist on the Bloody Mary base is to add a drop of liquid smoke. It gives the drink a lovely light smoky flavor. The liquid smoke is optional, I just love the flavor of smoke. (If you decide to experiment with it, I recommend using no more than 2 drops per glass, otherwise it can be overwhelming.)

Bloody Marys with celery, candied bacon, and pickle wedges

Bloody Marys come served with a celery stick. Always.

You can load up with other garnishes to nibble on too. My friend Garrett was over the other day and we made Bloody Marys garnished with candied bacon and pickle wedges!

It’s all good. Add lemon wedges, olives, your Bloody Mary, your choice.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Bloody Mary Recipe

  • Prep: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 Bloody Mary cocktail

Variations: swap out the vodka with tequila for a "Bloody Maria" or with gin for a "Ruddy Mary". Omit the vodka all together for a "Virgin Mary".

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces high quality tomato juice
  • 2 teaspoons dill pickle juice (I use Bubbie's)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 drop liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces vodka

For the rim:

  • Celery salt

Garnishes that you eat as you drink the Bloody Mary:

  • 1 thin stick of celery (I like to use the inner, tender stalks with fronds)
  • 1 dill pickle wedge (optional)
  • 1 piece of candied bacon (optional)
  • A lemon wedge (optional)

Method

1 Rim the glass with celery salt: Put some celery salt into a small dish. Wipe the rim of the glass with a cut lemon wedge, and turn upside down into the celery salt to coat. Fill glass with ice.

2 Combine ingredients: Into a jar or cocktail shaker, place the tomato juice, pickle juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, black pepper, and sriracha.

If you want a touch of smoky flavor in your Bloody Mary, carefully add 1 drop of liquid smoke, no more than 2 drops.

Add a few ice cubes, the vodka, and shake well. Strain into the prepared glass.

3 Garnish with a stick of celery, and any other garnishes you want.

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Showing 4 of 9 Comments / Reviews

  • chris

    probably my favorite mixed drink, right up there with the manhattan, mojito and margarita.

    having bartended at a golf course for a couple of summers, i came up with a couple of tweaks that had me making them by the gallon (not literally, but you get the point). as someone said, clamato is a great beginner, along with V8 (spicy if you like the heat). for the smoky flavor, i used regular and chipotle tobasco. for a bolder flavor, adding a dash of A1 or even heinz 57 does the trick. rather than pickle juice, i'd go with olive juice. i also had fun with the garnishes, stuffing olives with blue cheese and sometimes anchovies or smoked salmon in addition to the traditional celery stick. a piece of chilled shrimp is a nice touch or a freshly shucked oyster, and/or bacon, of course. i finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon and lime and pour into an glass rimmed with a mixture of celery salt and chili powder.

  • Karen

    Bloody Marys are so delicious, and I can't wait to try your recipe. I love mine with sriracha too!

  • Donna Winslow

    I like V8 for my Bloody Mary but it’s a matter of taste. The recipe sounds delish and I can’t wait to try it!

  • Irv Ellington

    Add one tablespoon of mustard ,any kind but
    I prefer Poupon

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