Make the best Bloody Mary bar set up for brunch at home! Whether it's the weekend or a holiday, whip up this savory vodka cocktail with a variety of tasty toppings to choose from.
Making your own Bloody Mary bar at home is a fun way to entertain guests. From toppings to garnishes, this DIY bar setup allows everyone to craft their best Bloody Mary cocktail. Your guests will be reaching for another glass before you know it!
Why You'll Love This Bloody Mary Bar & Recipe
Convenient! What I love most about this setup is how easy it is to prepare. The drink is as simple as pouring and stirring. And you don't have to break the bank stocking your "bar." Find delicious pairings using whatever you have stocked in your fridge and pantry.
Crowd Pleaser! Bloody Mary bars make it easy to customize drinks. This bar caters to everyone's tastes, so the purists can enjoy a homemade Bloody Mary, and those who prefer all the fixings can pile them on!
A Brunch Essential! This is among the most popular cocktails in the world, and for good reason. Breakfast at home just got a little fancier with this tomato-red addition!
What is a Bloody Mary?
A Bloody Mary is a cocktail made with tomato juice and vodka. It typically includes black pepper, celery salt, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.
Bloody Mary Origin
The backstory to the Bloody Mary is murky. Some suggest it was created by Fernand Petiot, a French bartender in the 1920s, while others credit actor George Jessel for first combining vodka and tomato juice.
Although the exact origin of the cocktail name is unknown, one speculation is that it was named after Queen Mary Tudor and her "bloody reign" of 16th-century England.
What is a Bloody Mary Bar?
A Bloody Mary bar is a cocktail station set up featuring the beverage and an array of garnishes and toppings for each individual glass. These fixings include pickled foods, veggies, fruits, cheeses, meats, and other appetizers. Guests can pick and choose how they wish to garnish their cocktails.
Bloody Mary Bar Ingredients
Prepare your Bloody Mary drinks with a handful of simple ingredients that you already have stocked in your kitchen. Each ingredient contributes to the spicy, savory, salty taste of this delicious cocktail.
- Tomato Juice. It's not a Bloody Mary without it. I use Clamato juice because it contains clam juice, which boosts the umami flavor (just note it's a bit thinner thn regular tomato juice). But if you prefer a more straightforward tomato taste, opt for pure tomato juice instead.
- Vodka. This is the classic choice of alcohol used to make the cocktail.
- Worcestershire Sauce. This sauce is rich in umami, which deepens the savory notes in the drink.
- Seasoning. Use black pepper and celery salt
- Horseradish. This adds a distinct, pungent kick to the beverage.
- Lime Juice. Use freshly squeezed lime juice for the best results.
- Dill Pickle Juice. This adds a lip-puckering tang to the mix.
- Tabasco. Use this or your favorite hot sauce for a kick of heat.
- Old Bay. Use this seasoning, tajin, or smoked salt for the drink rims.
Bloody Mary Bar Fixings
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Cocktail Shrimp
- Deviled Eggs
- Assorted Cheese Cubes
How to Make a Bloody Mary Bar
Prepare your cocktails before setting up the bar. You can either pour individual glasses or make enough to fill a pitcher.
How to Make a Bloody Mary
In a cocktail shaker glass with ice, pour the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, celery salt, horseradish, lime juice, and dill pickle juice. Then use a cocktail stirrer, knife, or spoon, to stir the Bloody Mary vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
Dress the rim of the glass by taking a lime or lemon wedge and moisten the rim of the cocktail glass. Then dip the moistened rim of the glass into the old bay seasoning. Pour the Bloody Mary (with ice) into the glass.
Repeat steps for additional cocktails or triple or quadruple the recipe to serve out of a pitcher.
Prepare the Bar
After preparing your drinks, set up the bar. Use a table or dedicated counter space as your canvas. Have garnished glasses on either end of the surface for easy grabbing. Use small bowls, serving trays, and mason jars to contain various ingredients.
Garnish with a skewer filled with desired items such as olives, bacon slices, celery stalks, etc. Keep an eye on the Bloody Mary bar so you can replenish ingredients as needed.
What to Serve with Bloody Mary Bar
This drink can range from a simple snack to a full meal. If you want to serve these tomato-based cocktails with something more hearty, consider pairing them with one of the following recipes.
- Cajun Shrimp Deviled Eggs
- Southern Bacon Deviled Eggs
- Old Fashioned Pimento Cheese
- Baked Spinach and Shrimp Dip
Tips and Tricks
- You don't have to use a pricy bottle of vodka. The other ingredients overpower it anyway. Just use your favorite brand.
- Consider preparing the Bloody Mary mix without the alcohol so everyone can determine how boozy they want their drinks to be.
- For a virgin Bloody Mary, simply omit the alcohol and add more juice.
- Have ice readily available. Bloody Mary tastes best when it's ice cold. Ice prevents the tomato juice's acidity from breaking down the flavor of the beverage so it taste fresh for longer.
- Ensure you have long, sturdy skewers so guests can pile on the toppings.
Can I make Bloody Marys in advance?
Absolutely! Bloody Mary tastes better once the ingredients have had a chance to meld. Prepare the beverage (without the vodka) and store it in a pitcher in the fridge up to 24 hours ahead of serving.
Add the vodka to the pitcher just before serving or let your guests pour in their own.
What food goes with a Bloody Mary bar?
Bloody Marys pair well with a variety of foods but they taste especially good with breakfast and brunch dishes, particularly bacon, eggs, and potatoes.
How do you keep a Bloody Mary bar cold?
It's best to prepare your Bloody Marys ahead of time and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to serve them. Keep an extra stock of ice readily available and replenish glasses with new ice if it begins to melt.
Is a Bloody Mary an alcoholic drink?
Traditionally, Bloody Mary is an alcoholic beverage but you can serve it without vodka to make it nonalcoholic.
Can I use another alcohol besides vodka to make Bloody Marys?
You can replace vodka with another alcohol but it technically won't be a Bloody Mary anymore. Tequila and tomato juice is a Bloody Maria while gin and tomato juice is called a Red Snapper.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE!
The Best Bloody Mary Bar
- 1 cup Tomato Juice
- 1 oz Vodka
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ teaspoon Celery Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Horseradish
- 1 teaspoon Lime Juice
- 1 teaspoon Dill Pickle Juice
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco favorite hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Tajin or Smoked Salt
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Cocktail Shrimp
- Deviled Eggs
- Assorted Cheese Cubes
- In a cocktail shaker glass with ice, pour in the tomato juice, vodka, worcestershire sauce, black pepper, celery salt, horseradish, lime juice and dill pickle juice.
- Using a cocktail stirrer, knife or spoon, stir the bloody mary vigorously for 15- 20 seconds.
- Dress the rim of the glass by taking a lime or lemon wedge and moisten the rim of the cocktail glass.
- Dip the moistened rim of the glass into the old bay seasoning.
- Pour the bloody mary (with ice) into the glass.
- Garnish with a skewer filled with desired items such as olives, bacon slices, celery stalk, etc.
- Repeat steps for additional cocktails or triple or quadruple the recipe to serve out of a pitcher.