Spicy Bloody Maria Cocktail

BrunchCocktailTequila

Forget a Bloody Mary—try a Bloody Maria instead! Swap tequila for the vodka, and add a little smoky chipotle in adobo for a killer brunch drink that pairs perfectly with Mexican food.

Photography Credit: Alison Bickel

The Bloody Mary is a classic brunch cocktail made with tomato juice, vodka, savory flavorings, and spice. But take any classic drink, and you’re sure to find a million riffs, often starting with a swap of the cocktail’s base spirit.

Here, the Bloody Mary goes to Mexico and opts for tequila instead of vodka, with layers of smoky chipotle in adobo. Fresh orange juice and zest add sunny flavors, while a few ounces of crisp beer make the drink a bit lighter and more refreshing.

Basically, this is the perfect cocktail for sipping with breakfast tacos, huevos rancheros, or chilaquiles!

Bloody Maria vs. Bloody Mary overhead shot of carrots radish greens in cocktail

WHAT KIND OF TEQUILA SHOULD I USE IN A BLOODY MARY?

I like blanco tequila in this, since it offers crisp, clear, grassy-herbal flavors. You can use whatever you’d put in a Paloma. (Go for one that’s made with 100% agave—not a mixto tequila distilled from a mix of agave and sugar.)

A few favorite brands include Tapatio, Olmeca Altos, Tequila Ocho, Azteca Azul, Arette, Siembra Azul, and Calle 23. You can also use reposado tequila in a Bloody Maria, but it’ll be a bit more mellow.

If you can’t find those, any mid-range or top shelf brand will do.

Bloody Maria vs. Bloody Mary pouring cocktail mixture into glass

CAN I MAKE BLOODY MARIAS IN ADVANCE?

Yes, a good host is always prepared with a pitcher of drinks ready to go!

You can mix the tomato juice, blanco tequila, hot sauce, adobo sauce, and soy sauce up to 24 hours in advance—and you definitely should get started at least two hours in advance, so the mixture will be properly chilled. Popping your tomato juice and tequila in the fridge the night before is a good call, too.

It’s best, though, not to juice your citrus until about an hour before serving—orange and lemon juices will oxidize and taste off if they sit too long after juicing.

Spicy Bloody Maria Cocktail - two glasses of cocktail with vegetable garnishes

WHAT KIND OF GLASS SHOULD I USE?

Any tall glass will work, but I like pint glasses for this.

HOW SPICY IS THIS DRINK?

The base recipe is medium-spicy, but you can add more hot sauce if you like!

Spicy Bloody Maria Recipe - glass and pitcher of bloody maria cocktail

HOW SHOULD I GARNISH A BLOODY MARIA?

You do you! Some people like a simple Bloody Maria with just a citrus wedge, but feel free to load it up with fresh cilantro and skewers of cocktail onions, pickled carrots, crisp radishes, crunchy, tart tomatillos, or whatever your heart desires.

If you can figure out how to balance a taco on top of the drink, more power to you.

MEXICAN RECIPES THAT GO GREAT WITH THIS DRINK! 

Spicy Bloody Maria Cocktail Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Chill time: At least two hours before serving
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

For Bloody Maria mix

  • 1 quart chilled tomato juice, such as Knudsen
  • 1 1/2 cups blanco tequila
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tapatio, or more to taste
  • 4 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice

For serving

  • 2 chilled 12-ounce cans or bottles pilsner or Mexican pale lager
  • Optional garnishes: Cilantro, skewered cocktail onions, pickled carrots, radishes, tomatillos, lemon wedges, orange wedges, additional hot sauce, and beer

Special equipment:

Method

1 Combine main ingredients and chill: At least 2 and up to 24 hours in advance, combine tomato juice, blanco tequila, hot sauce, adobo sauce, and soy sauce in a 2 1/2-quart pitcher. Stir, seal well, and chill.

2 Add citrus ingredients and chill: Up to 1 hour before serving, prepare and add orange zest, lemon juice, and orange juice to the pitcher. Stir mixture well and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

3 Make drinks and serve: To serve, fill pint glasses to the top with ice. Carefully pour in 1/4 cup beer, then top with Bloody Maria mix. Garnish as desired, and serve with additional hot sauce and beer to top off.

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Maggie Hoffman

Maggie Hoffman is the author of Batch Cocktails, a collection of pitcher drinks, and The One-Bottle Cocktail. Her writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Food + Wine, Rachael Ray Every Day, Wine Enthusiast, and others. She's recently returned to Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and many, many bottles of booze.

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