The Perfect Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar

Bacon Bloody Marys? If you missed them at Chicago's BaconFest, don't worry, this is one cocktail you can definitely try at home. Bartenders around the country have been taking the brunch regular up few notches, infusing Bloody Marys with greenmarket herbs and produce and even adding lobster to them, like Brant Point Grill in Nantucket.

Others are ditching tomato juice altogether, instead pureeing fresh heirloom tomatoes of all colors to create their own base. If that's too ambitious, you can still get creative with your brunch beverage by setting up a Make-Your-Own-Bloody-Mary bar.

All you need are a couple foundation ingredients, along with a spread of different flavorings, spices, and garnishes. Make it super spicy, add a little curry powder and a dollop of yogurt or squeeze a good amount of lime juice and add some salt around the rim, margarita-style. Or just mix up a classic batch with Worcestershire and celery — anyway you make it, each time you come out with a signature Bloody.

New to the Bloody Mary? It's downright easy: The foundation is a 2:1 rations of tomato juice, Clamato (which has clam juice) or a tomato-vegetable mix like V-8 and, of course, vodka. Pour over ice cubes in a tall glass and season with a variety of flavorings and spice. Here's where you get to add a truly imaginative flourish – finish with a garnish, from the classic celery stalk to olives, green beans, pickles or maybe shrimp.



A Make-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar Checklist:

The Basics:

  • Vodka (you can also try gin, bourbon or tequila)
  • Tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix (chilled, preferably)
  • Ice cubes, for serving
  • Lots of tall glasses
  • Cocktail picks (for skewering garnishes)

Classic Spices:

  • Prepared horseradish
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco
  • Hot sauce (go with your favorite)
  • Cayenne

Classic Flavor Infusions:

  • Lemon juice
  • Olive and/or pickle juice
  • Celery salt
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

Classic Garnishes:

  • Lemon wedges
  • Lime wedges
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Celery stalks

Go Wild Garnishes and Infusions:

  • Bacon bits or pieces of cooked bacon
  • Cucumber wedges & watercress
  • Pickled antipasti vegetables & sliced salami or sopressata
  • Cubed ham & swiss cheese
  • Blanched asparagus stalks
  • Edamame & bonito flakes
  • Chipotle peppers & tomatillo sauce  


Looking to add a special, homemade touch to your Bloody Mary bar? Try making your own infused vodka, or homemade Bloody Mary mix.