Liven up brunch and tailgates with Homemade Bloody Mary Mix! Mix up a big batch of this flavorful cocktail mix for guests to make their own tomato juice vodka drinks.
There’s nothing like a good Bloody Mary, is there?
I distinctly remember all the good Bloody Mary cocktails that I’ve enjoyed with friends. For me, they simply make the day memorable, from the celery stalk garnishes to the complex savory flavors.
Similarly, it’s easy to remember a bad Bloody Mary too! That’s why the mix you use is important.
I prefer making my own homemade Bloody Mary mix because the store-bought stuff is hit or miss for me.
(When I can grow the ingredients, I love making a Garden Bloody Mary with fresh tomatoes and other items from my garden, but it’s not always summertime so homemade Bloody Mary mix is the answer.)
What is a Bloody Mary?
A classic cocktail made with vodka and tomato juice, the classic Bloody Mary is known for its spot on brunch menus everywhere. It has spicy, sour and umami flavors packed into every sip.
Nicknamed a “hangover cure,” this savory drink is often jazzed up with embellishments like lemon juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce and garnished with as many fresh and pickled veggies, bacon, shrimp and lemon as you desire. (More ideas below!)
You can enjoy them while watching football, for brunch with friends or any time you are in the mood. I love serving them with some Bloody Mary salsa, which is made with vodka too!
Homemade Bloody Mary Mix recipe
If you enjoy Bloody Marys often, you probably already have your favorite ingredients on hand.
Instead of mixing them into a single cocktail each time, you can make a mixture that you store in the fridge so you can have one of these classic drinks any time you get the craving.
My homemade Bloody Mary mix recipe calls for all the flavors of a basic Bloody Mary: tomato juice, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, two kinds of salt, black pepper and hot sauce.
If you’re having friends over for brunch or watching the big game, why not whip up a pitcher of homemade mix to keep on hand? You can also take it on the go for a tailgate or a picnic.
What is Bloody Mary Mix?
Though Bloody Marys can be made by the glass, Bloody Mary mix is a pre-made solution that makes it easier to whip up a Bloody Mary. Once made, all you need to do is mix it with vodka (or your spirit of choice), add your garnishes and drink up!
You can buy Bloody Mary mix (in fact, this Bloody Mary mix is one of my faves), but in about 10 minutes, you can make your own mix and be more in control of the flavors. You might enjoy having that control especially if you like to tailor your Bloodies to your taste, for example, scaling back on horseradish or adding more hot sauce.
The mix can be used to make Bloody Marys of course, but it can also be used to make a number of other savory tomato juice cocktails that are similar to a Bloody Mary.
Bloody Mary variations
The Bloody Mary recipe is made with Bloody Mary mix and vodka, but its sisters are made by substituting the vodka for something else.
- The Bloody Maria is made with tequila or mezcal. This one is often made spicy with spicy jalapeno-infused tequila.
- Next is the Bloody Derby, which is made with bourbon.
- The Red Snapper — AKA the Bloody Bulldog — is made with gin.
- The Cubanita is made with rum.
- Then there’s the Michelada, which is is like a Bloody Mary mixed with a beer margarita. It doesn’t use Bloody Mary mix, however. It is made with tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce and beer.
- A Virgin Mary is made with zero-proof alcohol, a little bit of olive brine or is simply sipped
There are also a host of other cocktails that are made with different types of mixers.
- The green Bloody Mary is made with tomatillo, yellow tomato and cucumber.
- The Bloody Caesar is another similar one that is made with clamato juice not Bloody Mary mix. Clamato juice is a mixture of tomato juice, dried clam broth and spices. This one is Canada’s national cocktail.
- The Bloody Bull is made with Bloody Mary mix, but also has beef stock added in. It’s a great way to add in some extra flavor.
There are so many choices! Set up a Bloody Mary bar with your Bloody Mary mix, lots of optional garnishes and a few types of booze for your guests to decide how to create their favorite bloody!
Ingredients for Bloody Mary mix
To make homemade Bloody Mary mix, here’s what you will need to stock up on:
Tomato juice is the key to your Bloody Mary mix! You’ll need 46 ounces of tomato juice. Use organic tomato juice if you can.
Make sure to pick up on one that is 100% pure juice with no added sugar. You don’t want your bloodies to be sweet!
Horseradish is a spicy, pungent condiment made from a root vegetable of the same name in the mustard family.
You can make your own prepared horseradish with vinegar and horseradish root, or you can buy it grated and bottled. Be careful not to buy “horseradish sauce.” You are looking for pure, ground, prepared horseradish. You’ll need about 1/4 cup for this recipe.
When it comes to any cocktail, fresh lemon juice is always going to yield the best result, though you can use the bottled concentrate if you’re in a pinch. You’ll need 3/4 cup for this recipe, which is about 4 lemons’ worth.
You probably already have this flavorful, all-purpose sauce on hand, as Worcestershire sauce is used in tons of dishes like burgers, Caesar salad dressing and shrimp cocktail sauce.
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented condiment made from vinegar and flavored with anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic and other seasonings.
You can buy it at any grocery store, though I have my eye on this bourbon-barrel aged Worcestershire sauce — it would be incredible in Bloody Mary mix!
Freshly cracked black pepper will add the most flavor to your Bloodies, but you can use pre-ground pepper too.
I love to cook with finely-ground sea salt so I always have it on hand but feel free to substitute kosher salt.
Celery salt is salt that’s mixed with ground celery seed and is often used in soups and meat dishes. Since celery is a must-have garnish for Bloody Marys, this salt infuses more celery flavor into your homemade bloody mix. It’s a great secret ingredient, but if you don’t have it, just substitute more sea salt.
Hot sauce can be spicy, but you’re only using three or so teaspoons for about a half-gallon of the mix. It will dilute and mainly provide peppery flavor.
Tabasco, Tapatio and Texas Pete are common and well-loved choices, so use your favorite. Hot pepper sauce can also be used.
When you’re making homemade Bloody Mary mix, it’s wise not to waste your alcohol by pre-mixing it unless you know you’re going to drink it all. I hate wasting booze!
But keep your favorite vodka on hand for mixing. I always recommend using the best vodka you can afford. A premium vodka will make a big difference.
My go-tos are Absolut, Deep Eddy and Tito’s, but on occasion, I will splurge on Reyka or something local. Check out my Vodka 101 guide to help you choose a favorite.
If you like, you can use a savory, infused vodka like this hatch chile vodka.
How to make the best Bloody Mary Mix
In a big bowl with a spout or even in a pitcher, combine all the ingredients (except the alcohol), and stir everything together until combined. I use a wooden spoon or spatula — something long to stir it together.
You can pour it back into your tomato juice bottle to store it, or keep it in a large pitcher. Store the mix in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
I like to use two of these carafes with lids for parties. Divide the mix in two, and keep the spare in the fridge for when you run out.
When you’re ready to mix up your own Bloody Mary, add vodka to an ice-filled glass. (Be sure to rim it first if you’re adding a rim of Bloody Mary Rim Salt.)
Then top with Bloody Mary mix. Add any garnishes, such as a celery stick, some pickled veggies, maybe some bacon! You can get really crazy and have so much fun with garnishes.
Store it in the fridge and enjoy within one week.
How to adjust the recipe
If you make this recipe as I prescribed it, you will have a classic Bloody Mary mix on your hands. But the beauty of making it yourself is having an easy mix that’s a base for making it your own.
Too bland? You can make this a spicy Bloody Mary mix by adding more hot sauce or horseradish. You can also use spicy tequila or flavored vodka.
Needs more flavor? Add dill pickle juice or olive brine. More Worcestershire sauce is also an option.
Too salty? Add 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar to add a touch of sweetness and some balance for the salty and sour flavors.
Bloody Mary garnish ideas
Bloody Marys aren’t the same without garnishes! Serve up a bunch of options and a handful of bamboo cocktail skewers.
Here are some favorite garnishes for the ultimate Bloody Mary:
- spicy salt — for the rims of the glass (or salt with Old Bay Seasoning)
- celery stalks
- a dill pickle spear, sliced dill pickles or cornichons
- a skewer of pickled vegetables, such as okra, jalapeños, cauliflower, green beans or asparagus
- olives — these blue cheese olives would be good, or these Bloody Mary olives are marinated in a savory Bloody Mary brine
- cocktail onions
- bacon — I like to bake bacon ahead of time to serve with Bloody Marys
- a lemon wedge or lime wedge
- shrimp — this Old Bay steamed shrimp would be incredible
- grape or cherry tomatoes
- cheese cubes
Not enough ideas? Check out my Ultimate List of Bloody Mary Garnishes.
More brunch recipes
Bloody Marys are just one of many easy recipes you can enjoy at brunchtime.
Set up a mimosa bar to go with your Bloody Mary bar! Pour a few different types of juices (like apple cider, cranberry or guava juice) into bottles or pitchers and place them next to a few bottles of champagne, a bottle of triple sec and garnishes for an easy and impressive DIY drink station. (Maybe some beer too, for a beermosa!)
This breakfast martini would also be perfect alongside a Bloody Mary! It’s made with orange marmalade, gin and citrus juices.
- 46 ounces tomato juice
- 1/4 cup horseradish
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 3 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
- 2 to 3 teaspoons hot sauce, to taste
- In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Decant into a pitcher or bottle. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Stir or shake well before using.
- If rimming glasses with salt, rub a lemon wedge around the outer edge of the glass. Place the rim salt on a small plate and roll the glass in the salt.
- Fill tall glasses with ice.
- If adding vodka or tequila, add 2 ounces of alcohol to the glass.
- Top with Bloody Mary mix.
- Garnish with a leafy celery rib, a wooden skewer of olives, bacon and/or a lemon wedge.
This Bloody Mary mix will keep in the fridge for about 1 week.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 597mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g