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No brunch hour is complete without a bloody mary sighting. The magical beverage is a midday drinking staple, hair of the dog, and perfect pair for everything from eggs benedict to quiche Lorraine. Many may bill the drink as simple a simple concoction of vodka, tomato juice, and a few secret spices, but the key to making the best bloody mary is in the ingredients: fresh tomato, for one, citrus, salt, horseradish, and Worcestershire.
There’s a fair chance you have all of these ingredients in your fridge and pantry, but if you don't (or would rather skip the effort of mixing it all together), there are a number of high-quality premade mixes that make this savory cocktail impressively low-effort. Just grab your vodka, pick your garnishes (maybe a pickle sword or a celery spear) and you’re ready to go.
Here are the best bloody mary mixes.
Best Overall: Lava All Natural San Marzano Bloody Mary Mix
Looking for a vegan mix? Lava uses fresh San Marzano tomatoes (uber-juicy plum tomatoes from the San Marzano region of Italy) and a base of reverse-osmosis purified water to craft an all-natural, plant-based bloody mary mix. With no added sugar or high-fructose syrup, this option is friendly to folks on a keto diet, too.
Even though this mix is vegan, it loads on the flavors, is super fresh and smooth, and has a subtle spiciness, making it bold enough to play with the strong notes of vodka. If you prefer your drink a bit spicier, a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce will do.
This mix is completely ready to serve—just add vodka and ice. Each bottle holds almost 34 ounces of mix, which is enough for nine bloody marys. Try adding a couple of ounces and a dash of lime to beer to make a super fresh michelada.
Best Set: Demitri's Bloody Mary Mixes 8-Ounce Variety Pack
Think of Demitri’s variety pack as the gateway to great bloody marys. Sip and sample the four different flavors, and once you’ve fallen in love with a seasoning (or two) from the tasting pack, pick up a full-size bottle. There’s a classic bloody mary flavor for the purist, a horseradish-spiked mix, a chilies and peppers flavor, and a chipotle-infused mix for spice lovers. Each is flavored with Hawaiian sea salt, smoked sea salt, and natural bacon salt.
Keep in mind that these mixes contain just the flavorings. You'll need to add tomato juice and vodka or another spirit of choice. The instructions included are portioned for drinks by the pitcher, but reviewers have worked out the by-the-glass ratio: Use anywhere between 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per glass depending on how much flavor you like. Each bottle contains 8 ounces.
Best Spicy: Master of Mixes 5 Pepper Extra Spicy Bloody Mary Drink Mix
Are you the kind of person who sprinkles every food with an additional few dashes of hot sauce? Master of Mixes Extra Spicy Bloody Mary Mix features a fiery blend of jalapeno, chile de arbol, habanero, chipotle, and ancho peppers that provide complex spice, adding layers of flavor rather than simply burning off your tongue with the heat.
What’s particularly great about this gluten-free mix is that the brand enlisted professional chefs to develop the recipe. Plus, it's ready to drink, so all you need to do is add vodka or tequila (1.25 ounce of spirit to every 4 ounces of mix) for the perfect bloody mary every time. This set includes three 1-liter bottles to fuel a quiet family brunch, and each bottle makes approximately eight drinks.
Best Mild: Fast Mary's Bloody Mary Enhancer, Mild Bangin' Blend
If you’re not so keen on spice, Fast Mary’s mild bloody mary mix combines a subtle amount of heat with the bold flavors of dill, garlic, and pickles. The brand is the product of chemist and bartender Wendi Winkler, who wanted to craft a bar-quality bloody mary for her customers stuck at home. Once you’re stocked with spirits and a tomato base, just add 1 ounce of the mixer to your bloody mary for a beautifully seasoned drink.
While many brands on the market add Worcestershire sauce to their blend, Fast Mary skips it, making the bloody mary mix completely vegan, gluten-free, and free of MSG. If you're looking for a spicier version, Fast Mary also makes a zestier blend with horseradish, mustard seed, and hot peppers in addition to the usual dill, garlic, and pickles. The product is shelf-stable for up to three years.
Best for Travel: W&P Carry on Cocktail Kit
Never settle for a plane bloody mary again. This kit contains everything you need to craft a great on-the-go bloody mary, including a teeny bar spoon, bloody mary mix, rimming salt, and a linen coaster all packed into a TSA-approved tin. Just add the mix to alcohol in a glass with ice. If there's lime available on the drinks cart, you can use it to rim the glass beforehand.
This premium bloody mary mix—enough for two cocktails—is made with tamarind, shallots, horseradish, red pepper sauce, celery seed, and spices. It’s packed in a small container compact enough to be tossed into your carry-on luggage. Planes aside, pack this kit for park hangouts or train travel for stellar drinks on the fly. All you need is ice and mini bottles from your favorite liquor store.
Best for Beginners: Hella Cocktail Co. Bloody Mary Cocktail Mixer
What we love about Hella Cocktail Co.’s bloody mary mixer is it requires almost no effort whatsoever. Simply open the bottle and pour it over ice with your favorite spirit as a base. If you do feel like getting creative, Hella Cocktail Co’s bloody mary mix acts as a great base for crafting cocktails: try adding out-of-the-box garnishes or giving the mixer your own twist. Test out tequila and chartreuse as a base, or add bitters for more depth. Drop in a jalapeno for a bit of heat.
The mixers are thoughtfully designed in Brooklyn by a team of bar experts. Ingredients include fresh lemon juice, tomato juice, horseradish, tamarind, sea salt, and cloves. Note that this product is not vegan—it contains anchovy-based Worcestershire sauce.
Best Bargain: Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
Zing Zang truly nails the cheap and cheerful bloody mary. Though the cans average a dollar or two each, the classic brand keeps quality at the forefront. It combines seven different vegetable juices with a sprinkling of seasoning for a crowd-pleasing bloody mary mix.
Mix one part vodka with 4 ounces of mix. Each can holds 8 ounces—enough for two drinks at only 20 calories each. Rim the glass with your favorite salt, pour the mix over ice, and add a healthy squeeze of lime and dash of hot sauce.
Thanks to the single-serving format, these cans are particularly excellent for sipping outside—think barbecues, camping expeditions, and al fresco drinking. Zing Zang also makes canned bloody marys with included alcohol if you’re looking to make your brunch cocktails even easier.
Best Small-Batch: Stone Hollow Farmstead Farm-to-Table Bloody Mary Mix
Farm-fresh flavors are what makes Stone Hollow Farmstead’s bloody mary mix appealing. Crafted by hand in Birmingham, Alabama, the family-run company carefully makes each batch by hand using fresh local ingredients.
Saucy is our personal favorite. It features a base of yellow heirloom and Cherokee purple tomatoes and a sprinkling of Cajun spice to add a little bit of heat to the drink. That said, it’s a lively riff to the bloody mary you know and love. Other flavors include "Scary Mary," a fiery blend of habanero and smoky chipotle peppers, and "Sweet Mary," which blends Chilton County peaches with juicy yellow heirloom peaches. Each jar includes 32 ounces of bloody mary mix. Though this is a more expensive option on the list, the fresh local flavors justify the price.
For an all-around incredible bloody mary mix that also just happens to be vegan, we recommend the Lava All Natural San Marzano Bloody Mary Mix Craft Cocktail Mixer (view at Amazon). Cocktail lovers with a burning passion for extra-fiery sips should go for the Master of Mixes 5 Pepper Extra Spicy Bloody Mary Mix (view at Amazon).
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Kate Dingwall is a freelance writer whose work focuses on food, drinks, and travel. She's based in Toronto and holds a Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level III qualification.