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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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  • Anne @The Cooking Campaign

    I have never actually had a bloody mary, but as the weather gets warmer, I think it’s definitely something I need to try!

  • domesticfits

    i just started getting into bloody mary’s from a friend of mine who used to bartend in NYC, I like mine spicy!

    • Yes! Spicy is good πŸ™‚ We can get spicy pickled green beans and okra here. So, so good πŸ™‚

  • Sara

    bloody marys & ceasars are my favorite! Have you ever tried it with fresh tomato juice?

    • No, but I really need to. I just don’t have a way to make great fresh tomato juice right now. I need to break down and get a nice juicer.

  • BurgerMary

    LOVE it. Keepin it simple is the best.

  • Christy Brackenhackenberg

    How did I miss this post? LOL I too usually use Zing Zang and have also have cobbled something together with whatever was on had. And I love a ton of garnishes. Letting the mix sit so the flavors to develop – brilliant! I’ll remember that next time.

    • Glad you like the recipe, Christy! πŸ™‚ I really love a good bloody mary!

  • jay sea

    I don’t use horseradish, but I like them spicey. Added a 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

    • Nice! that’s a great substitution, Jay. Thanks for the tip! πŸ™‚

  • jay sea

    I like to experiment with my bloody Mary. I found a little BBQ sauce gives it a sweet touch. Pickled asparagus, and carrots pickled with jalapeΓ±os are some of my favorite garnish.

    • Yum, all those things sound great, Jay! I never thought of BBQ Sauce. Thanks for the tip!

  • dogfood

    Delish! Enjoying one now!

  • I made these this evening (our wedding anniversary) so the flavors would “marry” for tomorrow morning.
    so far, delicious.

    • That’s great, Meredith! Let me know how y’all like them! πŸ™‚ And Happy Anniversary!

  • Hello! I would love to send you a bottle of our Bloody Lobster Cocktail. Leg me know the best way to do that….thanks!

  • Sorry for the typo!

    • Hi Kayli, no worries! I know I make mistakes when typing fast as well. I’ll contact you via email about getting a bottle of your bloody lobster cocktail.


  • Fares Saleh

    Please how much is the Vodka cup;300ml or250ml?

    • Hi Fares, 1 cup of vodka equals 8 fluid ounces, which is equivalent to 23 centiliters (if you’re in the metric system). I hope this helps!

      • Fares Saleh

        Thank you for your reply;this mean Alc.conc.(volume) in the drink is bout 7.4%-7.5%(Vodka is 40%alc. by volume).
        What about if we wish to increase the Alc.conc in the drink-to what maximum & still consider BloodyMaryfrom the taste point of view
        Thanks again

        • Fares, you can easily double the volume of vodka and it should still taste like a Bloody Mary. Any more than that, it would not really taste like a bloody mary any longer. I hope this is helpful. πŸ™‚

  • Nels Johnson

    Are you certain it’s one cup of vodka per quart? that seems like it would be too much.

    • Hi Nels, Yes, that’s the proportion I wanted to use. There are four servings in this recipe and that’s just about two shots of liquor per serving. Feel free to cut the alcohol in half to suit your taste. Thanks for the comment! πŸ™‚

  • Bethany C

    I will make this recipe for my next Bloody Mary’s for sure! I’m so glad I found you through BRM on FB πŸ™‚ I’m just a stones throw from you…Fort Polk, LA! Thanks for all you do

    • Thanks so much, Bethany! Good to hear from a fellow Louisianian! πŸ™‚ I appreciate the comment and hope that these Bloody Marys make your next party extra special!

  • Jenn

    I was searching online trying replicate the Bloody Mary’s we have as part of out Jazzfest ritual each year (we get one in the French Quarter and drink it while walking out Esplanade to the Fairgrounds.) Your recipe is excellent! Thank you so much for reverse engineering the New Orleans style of Bloody Mary. The olive juice is genius.

    I made a virgin version for a work brunch and people went nuts for it. Great recipe!

    • Thanks, Jenn! I’m so happy you liked it. This one is a favorite at our house for our annual Porch Fest during Jazz Fest. Glad it was a hit with your crowd, too. Thanks so much for letting me know! πŸ™‚

  • Debbie

    Zing Zang bloody mary mix is really good but ocean spray seen on is delicious. I ordered a virgin bloody mary at Red Lobster and it was fantastic. They use Ocean Spray bloody Mary Mix Wonderful and only a celery stick and lime slice for garnish (although I do like a pickle, olive and okra)

  • TJ Lee Williams

    This looks good, and so I’ll try it. But if I’m disappointed I shall use the garnish skewer to commit Seppuku! Ceremonially of course. Ever since Christmas ’88 we don’t allow actual Seppuku in our family. There’s always an in-law or two around, and man do they freak out. Total snitches. This used to be a free country! Anyhow, thanks for the recipe!!! πŸ™‚