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Here’s how to make a Bloody Mary! This recipe makes a punchy homemade mix that’s loads better than store-bought.

Bloody mary recipe
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Want to make a Bloody Mary at home? Turns out, making the perfect version of this classic cocktail is easy, once you know a few secrets. It comes out with an intense, punchy flavor that’s loads better than store-bought. Here’s our favorite Bloody Mary recipe: savory, spicy, tangy, and salty all at once. It’s ideal for brunch, but we’ll admit: we crave these anytime!

When was the Bloody Mary invented?

The Bloody Mary cocktail was invented in the 1920’s, most likely at the New York Bar in Paris (where a few other famous cocktails were born, like the French 75 and Between the Sheets).

There are lots of origin stories for the cocktail and the name Bloody Mary. Some people say it’s named after Queen Mary I of England. Others say it’s Mary Pickford, a 1920’s movie star. Whatever the case, this combination of tomato juice and vodka has become one of the most famous brunch cocktails in the world.

Ingredients in a Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is a drink with thousands of variations, so the ingredients vary based on who’s making it. The drink is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, which lists the official ingredients in a Bloody Mary as:

  • Vodka
  • Tomato juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Celery salt
  • Black pepper

The recipe you’ll see below stays true to the classic definition, with the addition of horseradish for a savory, spicy dimension. We’ve also honed the method to make the perfect thickness of texture…keep reading for why.

Bloody Mary recipe

How to make a Bloody Mary: mix or single drink

Most of our cocktail recipes are single servings, but this recipe is for Bloody Mary mix that makes 4 drinks. You can use it for entertaining, or if you want a single serving: refrigerate the remainder and the flavor improves over time. Here’s the best way to make a Bloody Mary:

  • Chill the tomato juice and vodka first. This lets the drink get cold without having to use too much ice to dilute it.
  • Shake the Bloody Mary mix in a cocktail shaker without ice. The best way to make a Bloody Mary is not shaking or stirring it with ice, like you would with a normal drink. Why? It dilutes the mix too much and makes for a watery consistency. Simply mix the mixture without ice, then serve it over ice. This results in the perfect, thick consistency and flavor.
  • Strain and if time, chill. Straining removes the chunks of horseradish from the drink. A cocktail strainer is best (or use a fine mesh strainer). If you have time, chilling the mixture for about 1 hour or overnight lets the flavors meld. But if you want it on demand, serve immediately.
  • Rim the glass and garnish! Serve over ice with the garnishes of your choice.
Bloody mary mix

Chilling allows the flavors to meld

This Bloody Mary recipe tastes great right away, but it’s even better after chilling for 1 hour or overnight. (You can chill up to 1 week.) Why? Chilling helps to meld all the ingredients together into a cohesive flavor, instead of tasting them all separately.

Because Bloody Marys are usually for entertaining and often for brunch, it’s usually easy enough to whip up the mix in advance and chill until serving. Of course if you want to drink it right away: go for it! The flavor is still fantastic.

Best Bloody Mary garnishes

What’s a Bloody Mary without garnishes? This drink has inspired creativity at bars and restaurants worldwide, with all sorts of interesting pickled vegetables and funky toppings. Here are a few favorite garnishes for a Bloody Mary:

  • Celery stalks (required!)
  • Lemon wedges
  • Pimento stuffed olives
  • Cocktail onions
  • Dill pickle spears
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pickled jalapeno peppers
  • Pickled okra
  • Pickled cauliflower
  • Pickled asparagus
Best Bloody mary

Cocktail picks make for easy garnishing

If you’re serving Bloody Marys for guests, it’s nice to use cocktail picks for your garnishes. (If you’re solo, you can just throw them all in!) Thread all your garnishes onto the picks or skewers, which looks stunning and keeps the cocktail easy to drink. Here are the bamboo cocktail picks we use.

How to rim a Bloody Mary

Last up: the Bloody Mary glass rim! Just like with garnishes, there are all sorts of ways you can coat the rim of this drink. We prefer a 50/50 mixture of Old Bay seasoning and kosher salt. If you can’t find Old Bay, you can use celery salt instead. Here’s how to get the perfect rim:

  1. Spread the salt and Oldy Bay on a plate in an even layer.
  2. Take a lemon wedge and cut a notch in the middle: then slide it around the rim of the glass. This perfectly moistens the glass rim without having to use your fingers!
  3. Tilt the glass so that only the outside edge goes into the salt. Shake off any loose salt into the sink.
Bloody mary garnishes

Bloody Mary variations

The Bloody Mary is such a classic, there are many famous variations on the drink! Here are some of our favorites, most of which use this Bloody Mary mix as a basis:

  • Bloody Maria Here’s the Mexican spin on this drink: using tequila!
  • Red Snapper The version with gin!
  • Spicy Mary Love the heat? Make this version with jalapeno peppers.
  • Bloody Caesar The delicious Canadian variation starring Clamato juice.
  • Virgin Mary Who needs vodka? This zero-proof version is just as good.
  • Michelada While not a direct descendant, it’s a Mexican style beer-based variation.

This Bloody Mary recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan (with vegan Worcestershire sauce), plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Bloody Mary

Classic Bloody Mary

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 drinks 1x


Here’s how to make a Bloody Mary! This recipe makes a punchy homemade mix that’s loads better than store-bought.


  • 2 cups tomato juice, chilled
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (vegan as desired)
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) vodka, chilled
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
  • For the rim: Old Bay seasoning (purchased or homemade) and kosher salt
  • For the garnish: celery stalk, lemon wedge, olive, cocktail onion (use cocktail picks if desired)


  1. If time allows, chill the tomato juice and vodka. Shake the tomato juice before pouring.
  2. In a large cocktail shaker, combine the tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, Tabasco, celery salt and black pepper. Shake well to combine (without ice). Strain into a quart mason jar or small pitcher.
  3. Optional: If time, chill at least 1 hour or overnight for the best flavor. (Or, make ahead and store up to 1 week.) But you also can serve right away!
  4. To serve, on a plate place a mixture of roughly half kosher salt and half Old Bay seasoning (or celery salt). Cut a notch in a lemon wedge, then run it around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of salt.
  5. To each glass, add 2 ounces (¼ cup) of vodka and ½ cup of Bloody Mary mix and stir gently to combine. Fill the glass with ice and add the garnishes.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Deon Kotze Mouton says:

    I loved the Bloody Mary Recipe – and loved it all the way.

  2. Alex Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions.

    1. Maria says:

      Which brand of tomato juice do you recommend?

      1. Alex Overhiser says:

        We really like Knudsen, but any will work.