Best Bloody Mary Recipe

by | Feb 22, 2018 | All, Batch Cocktails, Breakfast & Brunch, Vodka

Think Bloody Marys are hard to make? Think again! This is the Best Bloody Mary recipe that will have your friends begging for the recipe.

High Ball glass filled with Bloody Mary and garnished with skewer filled with shrimp, cheese and olive. Tabasco bottle and bowl of horseradish for garnish.

The BEST Bloody Mary Recipe

Bloody Marys.
Either you love them or you hate them. I LOVE them and kinda believe that brunch and Bloody Marys were made for each other. Who’s with me? 

But let’s start with the basics of this famous brunch cocktail. 

Bloody Mary Bar complete with vodka, , shrimp, salami, olives and cheese for garnishes.

Why is it called a Bloody Mary? 

There are a couple of theories on the origin of the popular brunch drink. However, most agree that this story about an American bartender in Paris is the closest to the truth.

American bartender Fernand “Pete” Petiot created the drink in the early 1920s while bartending at the famous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.

After prohibition, he brought the tomato juice and vodka concoction to Manhattan and renamed it the “Red Snapper” to appeal to Americans while working at the King Cole bar at the St. Regis Hotel.

While there, he played around with seasonings. He added lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper, the Bloody Mary as we know it today.

It’s still a “Red Snapper” at the St. Regis in NYC, but it’s a Bloody Mary everywhere else.

Of course, other people believe that it dates to the ruling time of the ruthless Queen Mary I of England.  The tomato juice representing “spilled blood” and the vodka “firewater” symbolic of the queen’s brutal executions.

However you believe this classic cocktail was created, brunch was forever changed. 

There are a lot of good mixers out there, but nothing beats a homemade bloody mary especially one that is so easy to make!

High Ball filled with Bloody Mary and garnished with skewer of olives and shrimp. Empty glass filled with ice in the background on a dark surface.

What’s in a Bloody Mary?

While the options for garnishes are endless, there are only a handful of ingredients in this drink: 

  1. Tomato Juice
  2. Worcestershire Sauce
  3. Black Pepper
  4. Lemon Juice
  5. Fresh Horseradish
  6. Tabasco Sauce
  7. Dill Pickle juice (optional)

What tools do I need to make this drink?

The beautiful about this easy drink is there really isn’t any special equipment required. You can make restaurant-worthy bloodies with nothing more than a:

  • jigger
  • cocktail shaker
  • bar spoon

And if you don’t have those, use a measuring cup, mason jar and spoon. See, I told you it was easy!

What kind of vodka should I use?

The type of vodka you use is entirely a personal decision. If you like a little more heat in your drink, Absolut Peppar is a perfect choice. Otherwise, use your favorite vodka. Titos, Tower, Stolichnaya or Norseman Vodkas are a few of our faves.
For the dill pickle die-hards, there is even a Dill Pickle Vodka you can try. Who knew that was a thing?

How to Make the Best Bloody Mary Drink

It’s easy when you follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add tomato juice, fresh lemon juice, black pepper, tabasco, horseradish and vodka to shaker.
  3. Cover and Shake it well to chill thoroughly and mix all ingredients together.
  4. Taste it to make sure it is seasoned the way you like it. Adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Pour into a glass and place Garnish on top.
  6. Serve immediately. These drinks are the best ice cold!

Remember: The best drinks start with the best ingredients.

Now that you know how to make a bloody mary it’s easy to tailor to your own tastes.

  • Like it a little spicier? Up the black pepper or tabasco. 
  • Looking for something a little milder, omit the horseradish or add more lemon juice. 
  • I love to add a little tang to mine and pour a little bit of dill pickle juice before serving. If you’re a dill pickle fan like me, you will love it too!

One universal rule with Bloody Marys:  Make sure you serve it COLD with lots of ice.

Top down shot of Bloody Mary in a tall glass filled with ice and garnished with fresh lemon slices, cheese and pickles.

What glass do I use for this brunch cocktail?

Bloody Mary drinks are most commonly served in pint glasses. Don’t have any on hand? We love to use high ball glasses, and for a smaller cocktail, a low ball is a great option. 

Do I have to rim the glass with celery salt?

Nope, not at all. That is completely a personal preference. I’m not a huge fan of the celery salt so I omit it. But it’s easy to do with these simple steps.

  1. Pour celery salt on a small plate.
  2. Rub rim of a glass with a lemon wedge.
  3. Invert rim into celery salt.
  4. Set aside until ready to serve.

Now let’s get to the FUN part! The garnishes! We love to keep it simple and garnish with a simple make-ahead skewer of shrimp, pickles and olives. But many bloody mary drinks have garnishes that are equivalent to meals so let your creative juices flow!  

Top down shot of small bowls filled with cheese, green olives, beef jerky, shrimp cocktail. pickles and horseradish.

Popular Bloody Mary Garnishes

  • Green Olives
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Dill Pickles
  • Celery Salt
  • Celery Sticks
  • Bacon
  • Cheese Cubes
  • Beef jerky

Remember, there is no wrong way to garnish this tasty brunch cocktail.  Your way is the best way.

What is a beer chaser?

In the Upper Midwest, you will always get a little beer chaser called a beer back with your bloody mary. This little 3-ounce beer is a perfect companion to your brunch cocktail but don’t expect to get one when you are any place else.
No one knows why they aren’t served that way in the rest of the country, but here in Minnesota, it’s a thing. Don’t try and serve one without it.

And unless tomato juice isn’t your thing there is a way to make a Bloody Mary for anyone! 

Single Bloody Mary in a high Ball glass with tabasco and fresh horseradish on the side.

5 Popular Variations:

  1. Virgin Mary- The best non-alcoholic brunch drink! The Bloody Mary is so full of flavor, you won’t even miss the alcohol.
  2. Bloody Caesar- Popular in Canada, this version swaps out the tomato juice with Clamato juice. 
  3. Bloody Maria- Tequila makes everything better. This popular south of the border drink replaces the vodka with tequila. 
  4. Michaleda- This light cocktail swaps out the vodka and replaces it with a light beer like Corona.
  5. Bloody Bull- Add some beef broth for a richer, more savory flavor.

So don’t wait for a special occasion to host brunch!   With these easy Bloody Mary variations and the Best Bloody Mary recipe in hand, you can make restaurant-worthy brunch cocktails at home all the time!

Don’t miss these other brunch favorites!
Ham and Swiss Hash Brown Bake – Melissa’s Southern Kitchen
Apple Cream Cheese Danish – Garnish with Lemon®
Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake – Garnish with Lemon®
Yield: 1 cocktail

Bloody Mary

High Ball glass filled with Bloody Mary and garnished with skewer filled with shrimp, cheese and olive. Tabasco bottle and bowl of horseradish for garnish.

You can never go wrong with a homemade Bloody Mary. One sip of this recipe and you will never buy a mix again!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 8 oz Tomato Juice
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. Tabasco Sauce
  • 3/4 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp horseradish
  • olives and celery for garnish


  1. Fill a shaker with ice
  2. Add all ingredients to the shaker.
  3. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to combine ingredients.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and garnish.
  6. Serve immediately.


If desired add 1/2 ounce of pickle juice before serving for added tang.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

11 ounces

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 738mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g

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Think Bloody Marys are hard to make? Think again! This is the Best Bloody Mary recipe that will have your friends begging for the recipe. 

We're the creative juices behind Garnish with Lemon. In the past 8 years, millions of people have sipped & snacked on our recipes. Need easy, delicious party food and drinks for your next shindig? You’ve come to the right place.

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About Lisa

Hi, I’m Lisa! Looking for the party? It’s probably at my house. Nothing brings me more joy than sharing good food with friends and family. That and a seriously good cocktail.


  1. Avatar

    Oh my goodness, I love these!! If I have these I just might start watching football!

  2. Avatar

    It’s about bloody time I make a bloody for myself at home! Definitely pinning this for our next football bash or brunch.

  3. Avatar

    Classic cocktail, so much better homemade!

  4. Avatar

    My husband is in love with Bloody’s and this one would be right up his alley! Football and Bloody Mary for the win!

  5. Avatar

    Very unique way to get your veggies!

  6. Avatar

    How fun, you ladies KNOW how to throw a party!

    • Avatar

      Thanks, Melissa!


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