How to Make the Best Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary
The Spruce
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
198 Calories
1g Fat
28g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Amount per serving
Calories 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 429mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Protein 4g
Calcium 115mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The bloody Mary is an icon in the cocktail world. It is a favorite brunch drink, anyone can mix it up, and it's touted as one of the best hangover cures. In short, few drinks can beat a made-from-scratch bloody Mary.

There are no real secrets to making a great bloody Mary. It's actually a very simple drink when you break it down: Pour a shot of vodka over ice, fill the glass with tomato juice, then add lemon juice and spices. It comes together quickly or it can be prepared ahead of time for a DIY bloody Mary mix.

The bloody Mary is completely adaptable to suit your personal taste. The drink can be as spicy or mild as you like. You can switch out the liquor or skip it altogether and enjoy a virgin Mary. It's really no wonder that this popular cocktail has inspired countless tomato drinks over the years.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces tomato juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch celery salt
  • Pinch ground pepper
  • Hot sauce (to taste)
  • Optional: horseradish (to taste) 
  • Garnish: celery stalk and/or pickle spear
  • Garnish: lemon wedge

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Bloody Mary ingredients
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  2. Add Bloody Mary ingredients to highball glass
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  3. Stir well. If you feel like doing a fun mixing technique, try rolling this one.

    Stir Bloody Mary ingredients
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  4. Add and adjust the seasonings to taste.

    Add seasonings to Bloody Mary
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  5. Garnish with a lemon and celery or pickle.

    Bloody Mary drink
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  6. Serve and enjoy!

More Tips on Making the Bloody Mary

  • The tomato juice is the key ingredient to this drink and the best bloody Mary is made with a quality tomato juice. If you have an electric juicer, run a few ripe tomatoes through it and enjoy the freshest tomato juice possible.
  • When buying tomato juice, read the label. Choose one that is free from unnecessary additives and made from fresh ingredients. Skip the cans of tomato juice as they're impossible to keep fresh and tend to be a lower quality juice. A good tomato juice in a bottle with a tight seal will produce a better tasting bloody Mary.
  • The spiciness of this drink will depend on the hot sauce you choose and how much you add. Tabasco is a favorite, but experiment with different brands, intensities, and flavors. Cholula Chili Garlic is highly recommended.
  • One thing you must remember with any spicy cocktail is that it is best to start with less and add more to suit your taste. There is no turning back once you have too much spice and it can easily ruin an otherwise great drink.
  • When making cocktails at home, it's easy to skip the garnish. Some drinks, including this one, rely on the garnish, however. The celery stalk is the most common, but many fans will use a pickle spear or both. Even if you don't like pickles, you'll find that it's amazing in this drink because the juices infuse into the tomato juice, adding another dimension that celery simply cannot offer.
  • Consider the lemon wedge essential as well. You can use it to squeeze a bit more juice into the drink when needed. Also, rubbing the wedge around the rim of the glass is a nice touch. That hint of lemon perks up your taste buds before each drink.

How Strong Is a Bloody Mary?

Unless you overpour the vodka, the Bloody Mary will be a gentle mixed drink. Its alcohol content should fall somewhere around 10 percent ABV (20 proof), or about the same as a light wine.

Make Your Own Bloody Mary Mix

If you enjoy a bloody Mary on a regular basis, consider mixing up a batch and storing it in the refrigerator. Simply skip the vodka and mix all of the other ingredients to your preferred taste. Increase it for a pitcher or bottle with a tight seal and keep it cold.

Your pre-made bloody Mary mix should stay fresh for a week or slightly longer. This is also a nice option for parties, tailgating, or as a quick hangover relief. When it's time for a bloody Mary, simply pour vodka over ice, add your mix and any extra seasonings you like, and enjoy!

Recipe Variations

The Bloody Mary is not the only tomato-based cocktail out there. Once you get a taste for this vitamin-packed, flavorful cocktail, you will definitely want more and there is no shortage of recipes to choose from.

  • The first option is to simply switch up the liquor. Vodka is an easy choice, but you'll find that others add an extra layer of flavor. In truth, the original bloody Mary (called the red snapper) used gin. The Central Park is a modern recipe that features that taste with just a hint of vanilla.
  • The bloody Maria opts for tequila and it can quickly become a new favorite. Mezcal works as well and that liquor's smokiness definitely does not get lost in the tomato.
  • The red pepper sangrita margarita is a fun twist on the bloody Maria as well.
  • A very popular variation is the Bloody Caesar, which simply uses clamato instead of tomato juice. If you top this drink with a dash of nutmeg, you'll have a reindeer Caesar.
  • Whiskey is another option for any "bloody" cocktail and the Forty Creek Caesar is a fun recipe to start off with. You can use tomato rather than clamato in that recipe.
  • As great as all those drinks are, sometimes you simply want a super easy drink. That's when the red beer (or red eye) can be useful. Just add a little tomato juice to your favorite beer with a pinch of salt and you're done. Of course, you can dress it up with more spices if you like.
  • For a unique twist, you can infuse vodka with tomatoes and enjoy this tomojito recipe. It's very interesting and refreshing, muddling juicy cherry tomatoes, adding basil simple syrup, and topping the entire mix with soda.
  • On a completely different level, there is the sangrita. This is a popular way to take a shot of tequila (or sip it slowly) with a chaser. While the original Mexican sangrita recipe uses orange juice, the Americanized version opts for a tomato juice base.