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The Best Bloody Mary Recipe

Wow, only two days left until Jazz Fest starts! I’m really excited about that. I’ve been gearing up around the house – shopping, cleaning and organizing. Getting ready for the our friends who come over each year to celebrate this great time of year with us. We have several Jazz Fest food/beverage rituals, one of which is the classic Bloody Mary cocktail. We typically use Zing Zang mix just because it’s easier and so tasty, too. But I took the opportunity this past weekend to create an actual Bloody Mary recipe from scratch.

The Best Bloody Mary Recipe

I’d never really taken the time before to make a Bloody Mary mix from scratch. I’ve thrown together a few here and there when the party host only had tomato juice instead of the pre-made mix. But never really studied it to see what made a great Bloody Mary mix. I knew “tang” was part of it. And some type of savory “bite” as well. I consulted with a few online recipes and finally settled on my own version below. It was fun to create this, I have to say!

Bloody Mary - prior to adding garnishes

On my first test I used straight up tomato juice. That left the drink tasting too much like tomato so on the second test, I moved over to using classic V8 juice. V8 is concentrated vegetable juice. If I had a Blendtec or some other fancy food processor/juicer, I would definitely be making my own vegetable juice. But alas, I’m juicer-less for the time being. I really wish I had one. I’d do so many awesome things with it! Anyway, step one is to use V8 instead of straight tomato juice.

V8 Vegetable Juice - the ideal Bloody Mary mix base

As far as the seasonings go, which is the remainder of the recipe save for the vodka, citrus juice plays the next biggest role in influencing flavor. I settled on a heavier ratio of lemon juice to lime juice, although I did use both. I like the subtle citrusy flavor of the lime, and the lemon really drives the tanginess I was looking for in a Bloody Mary mix. Citrus is a necessary ingredient for the acidity and depth it lends to the drink.

Key Ingredients for the Best Bloody Mary

The remaining ingredients are the usual suspects – hot sauce (Crystal brand if you can find it), Worcestershire sauce, prepared horseradish, olive juice, celery salt, kosher salt, garlic powder and black pepper. The Worcestershire sauce and the horseradish give the drink its “bite.” I had to tinker with the ratios on these from the first to second batch, but I was really happy with the result. My brother’s girlfriend is a bartender, and she really helped me tear apart the first recipe to see how it could be improved. I am very grateful to her for her help! It’s a much better drink thanks to the work we did.

Bloody Mary - the perfect Jazz Fest breakfast cocktail

Before we finish up, a word on vodka. While you don’t need “top shelf” to have a delicious Bloody Mary, please use something of moderate quality (at worst). I bought some Pinnacle vodka for my test, but something like Absolut, Stoli or Skyy would work just fine, too. Low quality vodka is very nasty tasting (to me — but boy, do I love cheap gin!), and I find it gives a worst hang over the next day, too. Which I haven’t seen in a long, long time, thankfully. What I mean to say here is – quality counts, especially with vodka.

And now finally, my favorite part – garnishes!! One of the best things about Bloody Marys is the “salad” you get on top! My favorite things to garnish with are a celery stick, pickled green beans, pickled okra, olives and a couple of citrus wedges. That’s quite a few garnishes, but they’re all so tasty. Of course, the garnishes are a highly preference based thing so feel free to use whatever you’d like. Below are just my favorites.

The ideal garnishes for The Best Bloody Mary

So there you have it, a fresh, homemade Bloody Mary. The drink is a snap to put together. The hardest part is waiting the two hours for the flavors to meld. What I’d do is make it the day ahead of time and then just have them the next morning. The mix will taste even better because the flavors will have spent a lot more time marrying. Yum, yum Bloody Mary!

The Best Bloody Mary Recipe includes lots and lots of garnishes!


Yield: 4-5 cocktails

The Best Bloody Mary Recipe

This Bloody Mary recipe is as delicious as it is easy to make! Recipe yields four servings for your convenience.


Bloody Mary Mix:
  • 1 quart V8 juice
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (about 2 small limes)
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Crystal brand
  • 1 tablespoon olive juice, preferably from Manzanilla olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Suggested Garnishes:
  • 8 pickled green beans
  • 8 Manzanilla olives, speared two at a time on toothpicks
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 4 lemon wedges, seeds removed
  • 4 pickled okra
  • 4 celery stalks


  1. In a large pitcher or mixing bowl, combine all ingredients in the Bloody Mary Mix section.
  2. Stir well, cover and refrigerate for two hours (up to overnight) until flavors meld.
  3. When ready to serve, divide the Bloody Mary mix between four cups filled with ice.
  4. Garnish liberally with your choice of suggested garnishes listed above. Add more or fewer garnishes depending on your taste.

Note that this recipe yields about 4 servings which means each serving is receiving 2 shots (ounces) of vodka. Adjust to suit your taste from there.

Bloody Mary formula guided by

Prep:15 minutes

Total:2 hours, 30 minutes

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