The classic tomato juice cocktail just isn’t complete without one, two or 12 of the best Bloody Mary garnishes! Set up a Bloody Mary bar for guests filled with these ideas to deck the best brunch drink with everything from veggies to hamburgers!
Oh, Bloody Marys. The quintessential brunch cocktail.
These ruby red beauties made with savory tomato juice are a classic. Game day, brunch and hangovers just aren’t the same without them.
And the best part? The garnishes!
Whether you make your tomato cocktails with store-bought or homemade Bloody Mary mix, or even if you shake them up one at a time in a cocktail shaker, a decked-out bloody is a sight to behold.
What is a Bloody Mary?
Known for its place on brunch menus and nicknamed “the unofficial hangover cure,” the classic Bloody Mary is a savory cocktail that is traditionally made with vodka and tomato juice, though it is quite versatile.
Though the main ingredient is tomato juice, sometimes clamato juice is used instead.
If you switch up the vodka for something else, however, the name changes. Tequila gets the name “Bloody Maria,” bourbon gets the “Bloody Derby” moniker, rum gets the name “Cubanita” and gin requires the name “Red Snapper.”
However you mix it up, the Bloody Mary is usually jazzed up with more flavors like horseradish, lemon juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. I always add an extra dash of hot sauce to mine!
How to Set up a Bloody Mary Bar
If you are setting up a Bloody Mary bar for a party, it’s a good idea to set up an area where guests can build their perfect Bloody Mary.
Add bottles of booze, an ice bucket, a pitcher of Bloody Mary mix, an array of hot sauces and a bunch of garnishes for guests to choose from.
You should also stock up on cocktail skewers to create gorgeous garnishes that can rest atop the drink.
You will want to stock up on an array of fresh veggies, pickled veggies, meats and cheese cubes so that there is a variety to choose from. I’m talking more than just the classic celery stalks! The more creative, the better.
The Best Bloody Mary Garnish Ideas
Bloody Marys are famous for their edible garnishes.
A celery stick and dill pickles are the classic garnishes for the original Bloody Mary, though some restaurants and bars get really crazy, going as far as adding onion rings and mini cheeseburgers.
However, it’s your Bloody Mary so you can adorn yours with as much fresh produce, pickled veggies, herbs, meats, cheeses and rim salts as you desire. You do you!
You could pick up a Bloody Mary bar kit or hit up the grocery store to see what you can find!
Below is the ultimate list of the best Bloody Mary garnishes out there. I recommend picking a few from each category when building your bloody bar!
Raid the produce section of the grocery store to find these fresh veggies for Bloody Mary toppings:
- celery ribs
- cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
- cherry peppers
- hot peppers like jalapeños
- shishito peppers
- cucumber slices
- green beans
- artichoke hearts
- carrot sticks
- bell peppers, fresh or roasted
- pepperoncini peppers
- baby corn
Lemon wedges are a common garnish for the classic Bloody Mary recipe.
If you’re making a Bloody Maria (with tequila), you should switch that out for a lime wedge. (And you would use fresh lime juice instead of fresh lemon juice when making a homemade mix, too.)
And don’t forget that tomatoes are technically a fruit!
You can also add sprigs of fresh herbs to dress up your own Bloody Mary bar. Even better if you grow them in your own herb garden!
The smell of fresh herbs will bring their fragrance to the nose with every sip, melding with the flavors of the cocktail. Try adding one of these:
- rosemary sprigs
- fresh basil
- fresh dill
Pick up a few jars of pickled vegetables, like pickles and olives, to add some more vinegar flavor to your bloodies. Some people even add extra olive brine or pickle juice to create their best Bloody Mary recipe. It’s all about what you love!
I love these Bloody Mary olives, but you can have a lot of fun dressing up the classic drink with any of these pickled veggies:
- dill pickle spears
- cornichons (baby pickles)
- quick pickles
- pickled okra
- cocktail onions
- pickled jalapeños
- pickled carrots
- pickled asparagus
- pickled beets
- green olives stuffed with blue cheese, pimento, garlic or jalapeño
- black olives
- marinated olives
One way to liven up your Bloody Mary cocktails is to add some meaty garnishes! Some people go really crazy here and even add a little bacon cheeseburger.
Whether you use just one of these ideas or make your Bloody into a meaty monstrosity is up to you! Try one of these proteins as a garnish on your vodka drink:
- candied bacon
- oysters or fried oysters
- hot dogs or little smokies
- rolls of prosciutto and/or salami
- sausage balls
- cheeseburger sliders
- chicken sliders
- fried chicken
- chicken meatballs
- chicken nuggets
- bacon-wrapped dates
- beef sticks
- beef jerky
Try adding sticks, slices, chunks or cubes of cheese as a Bloody Mary topping! Try a few of these types of cheeses you can find at any grocery store:
- cheddar cheese
- pepper jack cheese
- colby cheese
- gouda cheese
- blue cheese
- small mozzarella balls (called perline)
- brie cheese
You could also give fried cheese curds, quesadilla wedges, mozzarella sticks or fried mac and cheese bites a try! Or how about some mini grilled cheese sandwiches?
If you want to add a little something to the rim, your Bloody Mary will look so fancy and professional! Follow the instructions for rimming a margarita with salt to get a similar effect with your Bloody Mary.
Try one of these salt rims:
- Bloody Mary rim salt (made with salt, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder)
- homemade ranch seasoning
- Old Bay seasoning
- citrus salt
- a mix of celery salt and black pepper
- crushed potato chips
Other Garnish Ideas
Take your perfect Bloody Mary recipe up another notch with one of these ideas! Trust me, this is the good stuff your friends will be talking about for years to come:
- onion rings
- bagel bites
- chicken wings
- tater tots
- blt sandwiches
- deviled eggs
- waffle fries
- sweet potato fries
- soft pretzels
- barbecue sandwiches
Breakfast & Brunch Garnishes
Just for fun, here are a few Bloody Mary toppings that would work well for brunch Bloody Marys.
- mini waffles or waffle sticks
- chicken nuggets (for chicken & waffles)
- silver dollar pancakes
- sausage links
- hard-boiled eggs
- mini bagels with cream cheese
- poached eggs
- mini avocado toasts
- smoked salmon
- Everything Bagel seasoning on the rim
Bloody Maria Garnishes
If you’re making a Bloody Maria with tequila or even a spicy Bloody Mary, try one of these ideas:
- sliced jalapeño peppers
- jalapeño poppers
- spicy pickles
- shishito peppers
- spicy bacon
- pepper jack cheese cubes
- spicy shrimp
- mini tacos
- tortilla chips (whole or crushed for the rim)
Italian Bloody Mary Garnishes
If you’re looking to make an Italian-style Bloody Mary, you can have a ton of fun with edible garnishes. Think pasta night and cheese boards for inspiration:
- caprese skewers (tomatoes, basil, mozzarella)
- sun-dried tomatoes
- slices of bread
- bruschetta pinwheels
- toasted ravioli
- breadsticks (hard or soft)
- pieces of pasta or gnocchi
New Orleans Bloody Mary Garnishes
For a New Orleans Bloody Mary, try some of these Louisiana-inspired garnishes.
- spicy salt — for the rims of the glass
- shrimp — this cajun shrimp would be incredible
- boiled crawfish
- fried oysters
- fresh crab claw or soft shell crab
- pickled okra
- spicy green beans
- fried green tomatoes
- mini po-boy sandwiches
- savory beignets such as crawfish beignets
- boudin balls
- crab hush puppies
- crushed voodoo potato chips for the rim
I’d love to hear what fun garnishes you put on your Bloody Mary bar. Let me know what crazy combinations you try!