How to Build the Ultimate Bloody Mary Bar

So, you're throwing the brunch bash of the century? Well, here's your guide to building the very best DIY Bloody Mary Bar. Cheers!

Bloody Mary with Fixings
Photo by Meredith.

The Foundation

This classic eye-opener is pretty straightforward on the front end. It's all about stocking the bar with the best possible quality ingredients:

  • Vodka
  • Tomato or vegetable juice (or Clamato, if you're making the Canadian version, a Bloody Caesar)
  • Pepper Sauce such as Tabasco
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Ice
  • Garnish, see below

The Finishing Touches

Garnishing a Bloody has become an art form, with some bartenders adding crazy toppings like mini burgers on top. Go minimalist with the Old School stalk of celery or load the drink up with all sorts of pickled and briny bites. Hey, have a competition. Whoever builds the best-looking Bloody Mary gets a prize. The coveted Best Brunchworthy Bloody Mary trophy. Huzzah!

  • Celery stalks
  • Dill pickle spears
  • Pickled asparagus
  • Pickled okra
  • Olives
  • Pepperoncini
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliders
  • Chilled shrimp
  • Caper berries
  • Chunks of cheese
  • Lemon and lime wedges
  • Salt and pepper

How To Set Up The Bar

  1. Save space by pre-filling glasses with ice and a straw, and salting the rims of the glasses in advance.
  2. Arrange the items on the bar with the cups on the left, then flavorings, then mixes, then garnishes—the basic order in which folks will make their drinks.
  3. If you can't find long swizzle sticks (many supermarkets don't carry them), buy bamboo grilling skewers instead and clip them to the desired length with kitchen or garden shears.

How To Make The Drinks

  1. Fill the glass with the ice cubes.
  2. Add desired amount of desired booze, typically one shot.
  3. Add additional flavorings, including hot sauce, horseradish and lemon or lime juice.
  4. Add tomato-based mixer to 1 inch from the top of the glass.
  5. Stir vigorously.
  6. Choose garnishes, spear them with the skewers, and set the non-garnished end of the stick into or across your Bloody.
  7. Enjoy!
Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary | Photo by Meredith.

Check out our collection of Bloody Mary Recipes.

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