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Whether you’re brunching on a weekend or weekday, start it off with this Classic Bloody Mary recipe! Spiced tomato juice is combined with vodka and enough garnishes to make it a meal in itself!
This recipe first appeared on Real Housemoms, where I am a contributor.
The food world is full of this vs. that debates.
With breakfast, it’s pancakes vs. waffles (with French toast as a third party candidate.)
Lunch? Crunchy vs. smooth peanut butter.
Coke vs. Pepsi.
And we can’t forget the eternal struggle: chocolate vs. vanilla.
When it comes to brunch, everything is fair game except for when it comes to cocktails. When out with your girlfriends, you’re either ordering a pitcher of mimosas or the perfect Bloody Mary recipe, and there’s always always someone who doesn’t like one or the other.
JUST TAKE ME TO THE CLASSIC BLOODY MARY ALREADY!
If you’d rather skip my (pretty darn helpful) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this deliciously easy Bloody Mary recipe, just scroll right on down to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card!
For the record, I am Team Mimosa all the way.
Even the mention of a Bloody Mary made my nose wrinkle in disgust. I was under the impression that they were either pulverized salsa or straight vegetable juice (something my great grandfather drank on the regular, which I found gross).
My idea of this cocktail was way off base, my friends.
As it turns out, these morning cocktails are way more than just a bottle of V8 and some olives.
Where Does the Bloody Mary Get Its Name?
No one is 100% sure how this cocktail got her name, but the speculations are entertaining!
The obvious answer is Queen Mary Tudor I of England, known for her bloody reign vs. the Protestants in the 16th century. But what would an English queen have to do with a vodka drink?
The more likely story involves 1920’s American bartender Fernand Petiot. He created the drink at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, mixing up equal parts of tomato juice and vodka. A patron suggested the name based on a girl named Mary at the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, of which the drink reminded him.
In the 1930’s, Petiot brought the recipe with him to New York, where it was met with negativity. Customers asked him to spice up the rather bland drink a bit, so he experimented by adding black pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire, lemon and a generous splash of Tabasco sauce.
Thus was born what we now know as a Bloody Mary.
Do Bloody Marys Really Help Cure Hangovers?
Known as a “hair of the dog” drink, the Bloody Mary is widely believed to ease and even cure hangovers.
The heavy vegetable base is believed to settle the stomach, the salt replenishes lost electrolytes, and the vodka helps relieve headaches.
Or so they say.
All medical advice will assure you that the Bloody Mary cannot cure a hangover, but a little relief is worth the effort of mixing up one or two after a long night of drinking.
Even if it’s just a placebo effect.
To be on the safe side, make sure you re-hydrate with plenty of water!
Basic Bloody Mary Ingredients
Your Bloody Mary can be customized however you want – right up to taking the easy way out and buying a bottle of Bloody Mary mix from your local liquor store.
Personally, I prefer to mix up my own. A lot of times, those bottles are full of preservatives, so hand-picking ingredients is the way to go if you’re not into that.
A basic Bloody Mary recipe contains:
- Tomato juice or vegetable juice – preferably, the high-quality stuff
- High-quality vodka – also HQ
- Lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce
- Salt & pepper
Ultimately, what’s in a Bloody Mary is totally up to you!
Don’t like vodka? Make yours with tequila or beer. Adding garlic, herbs, and even olive or pickle juice (like I do in this recipe) can turn an ordinary Bloody Mary into your signature brunch drink!
How To Garnish A Bloody Mary
Garnishes are also a matter of taste, as well as what you have on hand. Classic versions are served with celery, olives, and lemon wedges.
On the particular Bloody Mary, I’ve included
- Cornichons (aka mini dill pickles)
- Green olives
- Sriracha-glazed bacon
- Celery stalks
- Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus
- Cheddar cheese cubes
- Seasoned shrimp
- Lime wedges
The possibilities are endless! You can even go crazy and turn your Mary into a meal, topping it with crazy appetizer-sized nibbles. I’ve seen ones with chicken tenders, bacon-wrapped scallops, mini grilled cheese sandwiches, and even blue cheese sliders!
And don’t forget to dress up the rim of your glasses with a salt and pepper or chili-lime Tajín rim. It makes those sips extra delish!
How to Make a Bloody Mary
This recipe is so easy! Combine all your bloody mix ingredients in a pour-spout bottle or oversized mason jar. Having the mix ready to go is great when you have friends over, as it holds SO much more mix.
For single-serve Mary’s: First, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the tomato juice, vodka, pickle juice, lime juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir it around a bit and add hot sauce, celery salt, and black pepper to taste (Alternatively, you can just use 6 ounces of bottled bloody mary mix + vodka).
Next, cover the shaker and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, to blend all those tasty brunch flavors together.
Grab a salt and pepper-rimmed Collins glass filled with ice, strain the Mary in, and garnish it liberally with your fave snacks.
For multiple Mary’s: Simply whizz up the liquids in your blender and serve! If you’re making your mix ahead of time, the prep makes this cocktail extra easy. Just keep it sealed in the fridge for a couple of days, if needed.
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Classic Bloody Mary
- 3/4 cup vegetable or tomato juice
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dashes hot sauce or more, to taste
- Celery salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Ice cubes
- Petite dill pickles
- Green olives
- Celery stalks
- Cooked shrimp
- Cheddar cheese cubes
- Fried bacon
- Lime wedges
- Rub the rim of a standard highball glass with lime juice, then twist it into a small shallow bowl of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, then add vegetable or tomato juice, vodka, pickle juice, lime juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Place the lid on and shake for 30 seconds. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Fill the salt & pepper-rimmed glass with ice, then strain Bloody Mary into it. Garnish as desired and serve.