How to Build a Bloody Mary Bar
Food and Drink

How to Build a Bloody Mary Bar

A bit of horseradish woven into fresh tomato juice, and a nip of “spirit”ual encouragement, all stirred up with a branch of celery is a great cocktail no matter what time of day. It is the cocktail equivalent of a cup of coffee. It’s also the dream drink for tailgating or entertaining guests at home.

How about creating a Bloody Mary bar and let your guests create their own masterpiece? We have a few stellar ideas that would make exemplary additions to your next gathering.


The Foundation

Vodka, Tomato juice, Clamato juice, Horseradish, lemon juice, pickle juice, olive brine

Sauces: Tabasco sauce, Chohlula, Frank’s Red Hot sauce, Louisiana hot sauce, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, BBQ sauce 

Seasonings: Old Bay seasoning, Cajun seasoning, garlic salt, garlic powder, celery salt, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, lemon pepper, freshly ground black pepper, seasoned salts

The Finishing Touches

Garnishing a Bloody Mary is an art form. Some bartenders add crazy toppings like mini burgers or bacon on top. Go minimalist with the old school stalk of celery or load the drink up with all sorts of pickled and briny bites.

Garnishes: lemon and lime wedges, celery stalks, pickles spears, olives, cheese squares, pickled beans, pickled asparagus, pickled okra, pepperoncini, cucumber slices, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes, sliders, chilled shrimp, bacon, pepperoni, salami, steak bites.


The Set Up 

Arrange the items on the bar with the cups on the left, then flavorings, then mixes, then garnishes—the basic order in which folks will make their drinks.

Bloody Mary’s look great in wide mouth mason jars. There is room for the big celery stick and the glass is easy to fill with ice.

Have skewers or toothpicks on hand for guests to assemble their own garnishes. Make sure they are long enough to fit the size of your trimmings for maximum loadability.

Mercadito Cantina Bloody Mary

Mercadito Cantina, New York City, NY

"If you want to make a Bloody Mary undeniably unique, you have to concoct your own mix. Mercadito Cantina feeds its thirsty with a hearty pint glass full of vitamins, herbs, vegetables and the fifth food group—vodka. "

1 1/2 ounces vodka

4 ounces tomato juice

1 1/4 ounces Bloody Mary mix

1/2 ounces lemon juice


Mercadito’s mix:

1 onion

2 cucumbers

4 stalks of celery

1 cup of loosely packed cilantro

2 barspoons of horseradish

60 oz. of Worcestershire sauce

1/2 oz. TABASCO®

1 oz. Valentina

3 barspoons salt and pepper mix

For the Mercadito’s Mix: Chop onion, peeled cucumber and celery into medium dice. Add everything to a blender, puree and refrigerate.

For the Bloody Mary: Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Shake and pour over ice. Garnish pint glass with a salt and pepper rim, a speared curl of cucumber, a sprig of cilantro, a lemon and lime wedge and a pinch of pico piquin.