There’s no better way to chill out on weekends than to sit back with some friends and sip on a nice bloody mary. Whether you’re watching the game, out for a nice brunch, or trying to recover from the night before the combination of tomato juice, vodka, and spices topped with an eclectic array of garnishes is a great way to start your day.
We’ve been working for years to come up with our best bloody mary mix, trying a bit of this adding a dash of that over time. The culmination of all that testing is a full-bodied mix that is simple to make, filled with fresh flavors, and has just the right amount of heat. It’s also an easy mix to adapt to your own whims.
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To make it easy to mix up at home we’ve tried to use ingredients that people who like to cook are likely to have in the house or at least use things that can be used in lots of other dishes. There’s nothing worse than having to buy a $15 bottle of something that only gets used once before taking up permanent residency in the back of the fridge.
A great mix has balanced flavors
An advantage to homemade mixes is that you know what’s in them and that they’re not filled with tons of preservatives and other junk like a lot of the pre-made store mixes.
Making the Best Bloody Mary Mix
This recipe excels when you want to make a large batch of bloody marys for a crowd.
Tomato Juice, V-8, or Clamato are all good choices for the base. We prefer tomato juice because it has a fresher taste than the other two and it’s easier to create a mix that has the body and flavors we’re looking for. Think of it as a blank canvas while the other two are bit more paint by number.
Also, don’t use canned tomato juice. The tomato juice is the base for the mix and all the cocktails that follow from it, so buy something nice if you can find it.
Bloody mary’s are always better when you make them for a group
A great bloody mary mix should be full-bodied, which is why we always add A-1 and Worcestershire to our mix. The A-1 helps thicken the mix while the Worcestershire builds on the tomato juice’s natural umami flavors.
Horseradish adds some kick to get you going in the morning. We use prepared horseradish here because it’s more available but feel free to substitute fresh or a horseradish sauce if that’s what you have on hand. We do highly recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice. Using freshly squeezed adds some bright citrus notes to the mix that bottled juices don’t have.
If there’s a secret ingredient in our recipe it’s the rooster sauce. This sweet, spicy chili sauce adds a whole nother layer to the mix, adding a unique set of flavors that elevate the recipe.
There are some real advantages to making the mix in a blender ahead of time than making bloody marys one by one starting with plain tomato juice. Using a blender helps to smooth out the mix and fully incorporates ingredients like the horseradish and rooster sauce, which can clump when mixed by hand.
Using a blender creates a smoother mix
Just make sure to securely fasten the lid before hitting the go button on the blender – because cleaning tomato juice off the ceiling and from behind the radiator is about as much fun as it sounds.
If your blender doesn’t hold everything at once, you can make it in two batches or just add the extra tomato juice to the mix before it goes into the fridge.
The mix can be served as soon as it’s made but the flavor improves after it’s been chilled for at least 30 minutes, giving the ingredients a chance to get to know each other. It’s even better when it’s made the night before.
This bloody mary mix will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, which makes it easy to make for a crowd or to sip on as the week goes bye.
Making the Mix Your Own, Otherwise Known as Some Like it Hot
One of the best things about making your own homemade bloody mary mix is that you can add whatever you want to it. In our Bloody Mary recipe, we have a whole list of garnishes and accouterments to include in your bloody mary bar. Here we break down some of the things that can be added to the mix itself.
The most common request is to make the mix more or less spicy. The only thing that really works for less spicy is to add more tomato juice. More vodka can also help but often creates a different set of issues down the road.
There’s no better way to chill out on weekends than to sit back with some friends and sip on a nice bloody mary.
An easy way to make a spicy bloody mary mix is to increase the amount of horseradish, tabasco, and rooster sauce. Adding more horseradish will add tons of heat and can easily overpower the other flavors. A few extra shots of Tabasco along with a tsp or two of Rooster Sauce will keep everything in balance while making it kick like a mule.
Throughout our testing and research, we kept coming across a plethora of interesting ingredients that people like to add to their mixes. Feel free to try a few and let us know in the comments how they work out.
To add complexity people often add fresh garlic, brown sugar, pickle juice, or apple cider vinegar. To give a mix fresh flavors and a lighter body add lime juice, or a peeled and seeded cucumber.
To change it into something altogether different add wasabi, aged soy sauce, or curry powder.
Once you’re ready to mix up some cocktails use our Bloody Mary recipe.
- 64 oz tomato juice
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp horseradish , prepared
- 2 tbsp A1 sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Rooster sauce
- 1 tbsp Chipotle Tabasco
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp celery seed , whole
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Add all of the ingredients into the pitcher and then pour in the tomato juice.
- Securely fasten the lid of the blender.
- Run for 30 to 60 seconds until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- The mix can be used right away but is better if it’s been chilled for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors come together.