If you love Bloody Marys but are in search of the best Bloody Mary mixes, you’re in the right place. We did a taste test so you don’t have to!
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There’s nothing like a Bloody Mary to go with weekend brunch, is there?
If you love Bloody Marys, you know that the Bloody Mary mix you use is tantamount to a great-tasting drink.
That, plus the booze you use. You could go classic with vodka or you can make them with tequila, rum, bourbon and gin. Or even skip the booze for a non-alcoholic version.
Oh, and you can’t forget the garnishes. A loaded Bloody Mary is important — sometimes these drinks are a meal unto themselves. Or a snack, at the very least. (If you want to get really crazy, don’t miss this list of the ultimate Bloody Mary garnishes.)
Okay, so every ingredient matters in a Bloody Mary. But the mix is where most of the flavor and personality is, so it’s got to be perfect.
Below I’ll walk you through my Bloody Mary taste test so you know what to bring to your next game day gathering, sip at Sunday brunch or take as the “hair of the dog” next time you need a hangover cure
Bloody Mary taste test
Here you’ll find the results of my ultimate Bloody Mary mix taste test. I sought out the top brands I could find and tasted them all with and without alcohol.
It was really hard work to try all those Bloody Marys, you guys! But I did it for you. I compiled the results in this blog post. If your favorite isn’t listed, leave a comment at the end of the post — I’d love to find it and try it!
Recently I joined my friends on the Amused Bouche podcast to give them a Bloody Mary taste test. We tried a bunch of different mixes and combinations. It’s a really fun episode!
Listen to the podcast!
Catch me on Batch #47 of the Amused Bouche podcast to hear me walk hosts Jen and Abby through the ultimate Bloody Mary taste test.
If you want to do your own taste test: Buy a few mixes and portion them out into cups (I used these condiment cups with lids). Be sure to have some essential garnishes and snacks on hand, like oyster crackers, celeries, cheese, olives and pickles.
What is Bloody Mary Mix?
Bloody Mary mix is the essential mixer for the savory cocktail known as the Bloody Mary. The classic recipe combines vodka with this tomato-based mix.
Bloody Mary mix starts with a base of tomato juice or tomato paste, then gets a number of mix-ins to add flavor and texture. Those can include a combination of the following:
- lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- black pepper
- salt and/or celery salt
- hot sauce
- pickle juice or olive brine
- clam juice — when this is added, it’s usually called Clamato juice and is used to make the Bloody Caesar cocktail
- beef broth
The best homemade Bloody Mary Mix
If you’re up for it, making your own homemade Bloody Mary mix is super easy to do. You can stock up on ingredients that are either shelf-stable or will last for a while in the fridge.
I recommend making your own for a few reasons:
- If you make your own Bloody Marys regularly, homemade mix lasts in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
- If you want pure ingredients, as many store-bought, bottled mixes contain preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.
- You can make it vegan if needed. A lot of mixes contain Worcestershire sauce, which contains anchovies. You can use vegan Worcestershire sauce instead.
My recipe for homemade Bloody Mary mix is so good. It’s punchy yet balanced, and very customizable if you want to make it spicier or milder. I may be a little biased, but a lot of people agree — this mix is one of my most popular recipes and has more than 100+ 5-star reviews!
Buying store-bought mix is super convenient, however, especially if you need to make a lot of Bloody Marys or want to set up a Bloody Mary bar for a party.
The best Bloody Mary Mix brands
Now, let’s get into the Bloody Mary mix brands! In addition to my own mix, the other six I tried are in no particular order, but you’ll find my winner at the end:
1. Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
Zing Zang is perhaps the most ubiquitous Bloody Mary mix, the one you are most likely to find in grocery stores or be served at restaurants and bars when you order one of these cocktails.
It’s a classic Bloody Mary mix and makes a very traditional Bloody Mary. The flavor is well-balanced but features a lot of black pepper. The texture doesn’t contain a lot of sediment like other brands.
To name a few, its ingredients include vegetable juices (a mix of carrot, celery, parsley, beet, lettuce, watercress and spinach juices), vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, celery seed and pepper sauce.
Garnishes: Go classic with a celery stick, lemon wedge, olives and Bloody Mary salt on the rim.
2. Old Bay Bloody Mary Mix
Old Bay Bloody Mary Mix really kicks. It is smooth, without a lot of sediment, but has a strong flavor of garlic, lemon, cayenne, celery and horseradish.
To me, the Old Bay flavor wasn’t very pronounced. If that’s important to you, add some clam juice to the Old Bay mix to make a Clamato mix with more of a seafood flavor.
Garnishes: Use Old Bay seasoning on the rim of the glass and seafood garnishes like popcorn shrimp or crab legs.
3. Filthy Bloody Mary Mix
Filthy Bloody Mary Mix was full of flavor, extremely thick and has lots of sediment. Hence the name, filthy. It comes in a convenient pouch, not a bottle, which makes storing it easy. (It has a base so it stands up, but can also lie flat.)
In this one, you’ll find horseradish is prominent, as well as flavors of turmeric, cayenne pepper, onion, paprika and garlic.
Garnishes: This one has shrimp cocktail sauce vibes, so garnish it with a few shrimp and dip it in the drink.
4. McClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer
McClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer comes from a company known for its pickles, so you can expect this mix to be full of pickle flavor.
You’ll find it’s thinner than a regular mix, with a strong vinegar, pickle, brine and salty flavor.
Garnishes: Go with some McClure’s garlic pickle spears, of course.
5. Trader Joe’s Bloody Mary Mixer with Clam Juice
Trader Joe’s does it again. The Trader Joe’s Bloody Mary Mixer has very strong tomato and celery flavors with a hint of seafood and clams.
Since it contains clam juice, it’s more like Clamato juice, which means it would be great for Bloody Caesars.
Garnishes: The classic Caesar garnishes are a celery stick and a lemon wedge.
6. The Real Dill Bloody Mary Mix
This one holds up to its name, it is the real deal. Er, dill. The Real Dill Bloody Mary Mix has a very strong pickle flavor. It’s vinegary and briny with a heavy dill flavor.
In other words, if you love dill pickles, you will adore this mix.
Garnishes: Pickles, pickles and more pickles. You could go with regular pickles, like dill pickle spears or cornichons, or go with pickled anything else, like pickled onions, pickled asparagus or pickled green beans. A sprig of fresh dill instead of parsley would make sense, too!
Below are the brands that didn’t make it into this taste test, but are made by popular brands, so they’re worth mentioning.
- Barsmith Bloody Mary Mix
- Charleston Bloody Mary Mix
- Clamato Tomato Cocktail
- Fever-Tree Classic Bloody Mary Mix
- Hella Cocktail Co. Classic Bloody Mary
- Master of Mixes Bloody Mary Mixer
- Miss Mary’s Original Bloody Mary Mix
- Mr. & Mrs. T Bloody Mary Mix (This is the one you can order on most airlines!)
- Ocean Spray Bloody Mary Mix
- Powell & Mahoney Classic Bloody Mary Mix
- Q Mixers Spectacular Bloody Mary Mix
- Stirrings Simple Bloody Mary
- Tabasco Brand Bloody Mary Mix
- Tres Agaves Bloody Mary Mix
- V8 Bloody Mary Original
If I try any of these or others, I promise to add them and keep this list up to date! If your favorite isn’t here or you know which one I should try next, feel free to comment with it below!
The best store-bought mix
Based on the taste test above, my favorite was the one from Filthy. (It was also the favorite of my friends at the Amused Bouche podcast.)
Not only does it come in a convenient pouch (which made it easy to stash in my pantry between other bottles), but it is also full of flavor, making it an excellent match for vodka as well as other spirits. It is almost as good as my homemade recipe, so that’s why it gets my winning vote.
It’s a little on the thick side, but when you mix it with your alcohol of choice, add a dash of hot sauce or squeeze in some lemon juice, it becomes more of a drinkable consistency.
It does contain a lot of sediment, so if that kind of texture bothers you, run it through a fine-mesh strainer to weed out the bits.
Where to buy it
You can find Bloody Mary mix at most grocery stores. You’ll likely find Zing Zang and a few other name-brand options like Ocean Spray or V8.
Look in the section where you’d find specialty cocktail mixers. (At my local grocery store, there are mixers in the juice aisle, soda aisle and the beer & wine section.)
Another place to try is a specialty grocery store, which is more likely to carry some of the other brands listed here. Some liquor stores may carry drink mixers as well.
You may have better luck ordering the best Bloody Mary mixes online — check out my Amazon shop where I’ve added a few favorites.
And, of course, you can always make your own. (Highly recommend it!)
How to spruce up Bloody Mary mix
When you buy a pre-made mix, you aren’t stuck with it the way it comes. If you taste it and you feel like it needs something, try one of these suggestions to tweak the base:
Needs more flavor? Add a splash of dill pickle juice, olive brine, clam juice or beef broth. 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 variations
A classic Bloody Mary is made with vodka. If you order one of these, that’s how it will come.
However, the base Bloody Mary recipe is incredibly versatile — feel free to substitute the vodka for something else to get an entirely new drink:
- Bloody Maria: You have a choice of bright and clean tequila or smoky mezcal. This one is often made into a spicy Bloody Mary, too.
- Bloody Derby: Bourbon is the star of this sweet-and-salty spin. If you use Irish whiskey, it’s a Bloody Molly.
- Red Snapper: Also known as the Bloody Bulldog, this one calls for gin in lieu of vodka.
- Cubanita: This version is a rum Bloody Mary. This one would be great spicy, too!
- Michelada: This one is like a Bloody Mary with beer. It doesn’t usually contain Bloody Mary mix — it uses a simple combo of tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce and beer. But you can absolutely use a mix if that’s what you have on hand.
- Bloody Caesar: AKA the Caesar, the national drink of Canada, is made with clamato juice, which is Bloody Mary mix with clam juice added.
- Bloody Bull: To make a Bloody Bull, add a splash of beef broth to your cocktail.
- Virgin Mary: You can use zero-proof alcohol or a little bit of olive juice or pickle brine to make a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary. It can also just be a glass of Bloody Mary mix — it’s pretty good on its own.
No, though Bloody Mary is made with tomato juice, it also includes a number of other ingredients that add flavor and texture, including lemon juice, horseradish, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
To add more flavor to a pre-made Bloody Mary mix, add more classic ingredients like horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice or hot sauce to strengthen those flavors. You can also add other flavorings like olive brine, pickle juice, clam juice or beef broth. When making the cocktail, you can use a flavored alcohol like jalapeño tequila or black pepper-infused vodka.
Bloody Mary mix typically contains tomato juice, prepared horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, celery salt and hot sauce.