The Best Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary Cocktail

The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
315 Calories
2g Fat
68g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 315
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 348mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 20g 70%
Total Sugars 20g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 423mg 2,115%
Calcium 197mg 15%
Iron 5mg 25%
Potassium 1209mg 26%
*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. Created in the 1920s, few drinks can beat the savory-spiced taste of a made-from-scratch bloody mary. This vodka-spiked tomato cocktail developed into a favorite brunch drink and became well-known as a hangover remedy. It's also excellent on a chilly day and is the drink to enjoy on New Year's Day, which also happens to be National Bloody Mary Day.

Quick to make, the bloody mary is a simple drink when you break it down: a shot of vodka over ice topped with tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire and hot sauces, and a few common kitchen spices. It's easy and customizable, but the two secrets to a spectacular bloody mary are the ice and lemon juice. Tomato juice is thick and best when diluted, so fill your glass all the way to the rim with ice cubes and mix it very well to lighten it up. The lemon juice marries the vodka and spiced tomato juice. It does a better job than lime juice, and fresh lemon juice is highly recommended.

Use this basic bloody mary recipe as a starting point, then get creative. Make it extra spicy, switch out the liquor, or get crazy with the edible garnishes, and have fun in your bloody mary adventures. It's also easy to make a pitcher of bloody mary mix and store it in the fridge for entertaining, tailgating, or a quick single drink, and you can skip the alcohol entirely for a virgin mary.


Click Play to See This Bloody Mary Recipe Come Together

"Driven by tomato juice, this cocktail has infinite variations, and trust that this recipe is a spot-on starting point to understanding this “hangover cure”. Play and tweak everything in this cocktail to understand your own palate, but know with a certainty that a Bloody Mary will be different everywhere you might order one." —Sean Johnson

Bloody Mary Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka

  • 3 ounces tomato juice

  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 dash hot sauce, or to taste

  • 1 pinch celery salt

  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish, or to taste, optional

  • Lemon wedge, for garnish

  • Celery stalk, or pickle spear, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Bloody Mary ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. In a highball glass filled with ice cubes, pour the vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.

    Add bloody mary ingredients to highball glass
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  3. Add the hot sauce, celery salt, black pepper, and horseradish (if using).

    Add seasonings to bloody mary
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  4. Stir well, or try rolling the drink. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

    Stir bloody mary ingredients
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  5. Garnish with a lemon wedge, celery stalk, and/or pickle. Serve and enjoy.

    Bloody Mary Cocktail

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

For the Best Bloody Mary

  • The bloody mary is such a strongly flavored drink that the choice in vodka is not critical. However, you will get a better-tasting bloody mary with mid-range vodkas or a budget-friendly brand that you wouldn't mind drinking straight. Save the top-shelf vodka for martinis and other transparent cocktails.
  • If using store-bought tomato juice, read the label; choose a juice free from unnecessary additives or sodium, and skip cans of tomato juice as they tend to be of lower quality. Good tomato juice comes in a bottle with a tight seal.
  • Try the bloody mary with fresh tomato juice. If you have an electric juicer, run a few ripe tomatoes through it. Or, make tomato juice in the blender: puree ripe tomatoes, then strain out the skins and seeds using a sieve or fine-mesh strainer.
  • Use a good hot sauce; the spiciness of the drink will depend on the kind and amount you use. Tabasco and Cholula are favorites but experiment with different brands, intensities, and flavors. As with any spicy cocktail, start with less and add more to suit your taste.
  • A great bloody mary needs a few good garnishes that you can nibble on as you drink. Go with the classic celery stalk (it doubles as a stir stick), or add a pickle to infuse the tomato juice with more flavor. Use the lemon wedge to squeeze a bit more juice into the drink when needed, or rub it around the rim of the glass to perk up your taste buds before each drink. Skewer slices of hot or sweet peppers, green olives, cocktail onions, cubed cheese, or cooked shrimp to rest on the rim. Bacon is a favorite option, and a sprig of fresh basil or parsley is a nice touch.

Big Batch Bloody Mary Mix

Whether you're serving guests or just want a pitcher waiting in the fridge for a quick drink, it's easy to increase the recipe. The make-ahead bloody mary works out best if you hold the vodka because it gives you the option of pouring another liquor (such as tequila or mezcal) or enjoying a nonalcoholic drink.

  • For a bloody mary pitcher that will serve eight drinks, combine four cups (32 ounces) of tomato juice, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon each of Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, and black pepper, and about two teaspoons of horseradish (optional) in a pitcher. Stir well, taste and adjust the seasonings, and refrigerate for up to one week.
  • When ready to serve, pour 1 1/2 ounces of vodka in an ice-filled glass and add the Bloody Mary mix.
  • To spike the entire pitcher, add two cups of vodka.

Who Created the Bloody Mary?

The popular story of the bloody mary's origin gives credit to bartender Fernand "Pete" Petiot around 1924 at Harry's New York Bar in Paris. Petiot brought it to the U.S. after Prohibition's repeal in the '30s when he was hired on at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. For a few years, it was called the red snapper (not to be confused with the cranberry-whiskey shot drink), particularly when made with gin instead of vodka.

How Strong Is a Bloody Mary?

Unless you overpour the vodka, the bloody mary is a relatively gentle mixed drink. Its alcohol content should fall somewhere around 10 percent ABV (20 proof), or about the same as a light wine.

What Is the Difference Between a Bloody Mary and Bloody Maria?

The bloody maria is one of the most popular modern renditions of the bloody mary. It is, quite simply, the same tomato-based drink, but a shot of tequila replaces the vodka for an intriguing foundation. Try it with mezcal as well; the liquor's smokiness is excellent against the tomato.

Recipe Variations

  • A very popular variation is the bloody caesar, which uses clamato instead of tomato juice.
  • Rim the glass with a mix of equal parts celery salt and kosher salt. Spice it up with a pinch of cayenne in the salt blend.
  • Other liquors add an extra layer of flavor; gin, tequila, and Canadian whisky are great options.
  • Add other spices to create a personalized bloody mary mix. For instance, use garlic salt instead of celery salt, or add a pinch of paprika, ground ginger, or dry minced onion.
  • Use the bloody mary mix instead of tomato juice to make red beer.
  • For a unique drink, infuse vodka with tomatoes and enjoy this tomojito recipe with muddled cherry tomatoes, basil simple syrup, and soda. Other savory vodka infusions (e.g., chile peppers, garlic, and herbs) are excellent in a bloody mary as well.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bartels B. Hunting down the father of the bloody mary. The Daily Beast. Published July 11, 2017. Accessed September 1, 2021.