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How to Make an Epic Bloody Mary

Updated: Apr 20

Okay y'all, it's time to ride the crimson wave and go EPIC with everyone's favorite "hair of the dog" day-drinkin' booze-fest cocktail! Go BIG on that Mary or go home!

Below I've summed up some essential ingredients and prep hints, some exotic "pro" ingredients, some epic garnishes, and even the beginnings of an epic music playlist, perfect for your next Bloody Mary blowout.

(BTW, some of you may be underwhelmed by this, but I am an epic VIRGIN Mary devotee — they are just as delicious to me, without the vodka — it's a badge of honor I wear proudly.)

So, let's kick off, shall we?!


Let's start with my basic go-to recipe for a one-serving (non-virgin) Mary, that includes the classic, non-negotiable ingredients. The quantities are up to you, but rock 'em sock 'em is the best policy. Mix this up in a 12 ounce (minimum) chilled glass with a few cubes of ice. If you have more room in your glass of choice, add a bit more voddy, or tomato juice, or a bit more of anything else, as your heart desires. You can't go wrong with this basic recipe.

1 1/2 ounces vodka (the better the quality, the better the Mary)

3/4 cup chilled tomato juice, from a glass or plastic bottle, NOT a can

4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 teaspoons prepared horseradish (I prefer HOT but standard is okie-dokey)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon favorite hot sauce (I like Crystal, or Texas Pete)

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

Couple coarse grinds fresh black pepper

Celery stalk (WITH leaves), for garnish

Booze-o-rific Variations:

1. Swap out the vodka for tequila and you've got yourself a "Bloody Maria." (How do you solve a problem like too many Bloody Marias?! Have a couple more! haha)

2. Swap out the vodka for gin and you've got yourself a "Red Snapper." Bet you haven't heard of THAT one before.


So, we've covered the essential ingredients, now we have what I call, the PRO ingredients. I've collected these from my own experience, and from the advice of friends on social media.

Number one: put some salt on the rim of the glass. Two saucers, one with lemon or lime juice and one with celery salt is the way I like to go. Pro-tip from an Off-Broadway director I'm fortunate to know: use THIS on your rim — Tajín Clásico: "A unique blend of 100% natural chili peppers, lime & sea salt that makes everything bueno."

Number two: make sure everything is FRESH, and COLD. (cold, unless it's a garnish like a mini hamburger slider — see below.) Enough said.

Other pro ingredients and tips/ideas. Use with experimental enthusiasm.

1. Pickle juice (different than pickle jar marinade) - perhaps a tablespoon per drink. It's an 'acid' so you can take the lemon juice down by a bit to balance :-)

2. Olive brine (think filthy martini)

3. Fish sauce (think salty, briny, caramel-y sweetness)

4. Cucumber juice - YUM

5. Old Bay Seafood Seasoning (basically celery salt, red and black pepper, and paprika — they've done all the work for you)

6. Minced parsley (EVERYTHING is better with minced parsley.)

7. Minced dill (skewer some smoked salmon to go with)

8. Minced chives

9. Chopped basil (Grazie mille. Prego!)

10. Chopped cilantro (some guests may have the genetic variant, so know your audience)

11. Some people like a squeeze of ketchup or two. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

12. CREATE an epic Bloody Mary BAR so your guests can mix up their own. Have the tomato juice with other key ingredients such as horseradish and Worcestershire already stirred in, then offer up multiple (flavored?) vodka and hot sauce options, tasty vegetables: celery, okra, baby corn, pickles. There are so many epic heavy hors d'oeuvres-type garnishes to choose from as well (see below).


Skewer and rest atop, or slice and rest on glass rim, or skewer and plunge the following into your Marys for added appeal. It can be breakfast lunch and dinner all in one drink.

Lemon wedges

Lime wedges

ESSENTIAL: All manner stuffed olives: garlic clove or pimento or blue cheese you-name-it

Pickled okra

Pickled green beans

Marinated carrot sticks

Pickled peperoncinis (my PASSION)

Celery stalks (with leaves, preferred)

Marinated mushrooms

Spicy giardiniera (cauliflower, peppers, carrots)

Baby corn

All manner of pickles (kosher spears, cornichons)

Grape tomatoes

Pearl onions

Crispy bacon strips

Cheese cubes — so many varieties, sky's the limit

Cocktail shrimp (cleaned, cooked, tail-on) — roll in Old Bay for added visual glam and flavor

Boiled eggs!


Mini hamburger sliders!

Cocktail franks!

Smoked salmon!

Pepperoni rounds!

Fried oysters!

Mini grilled cheese sandwiches!

Chicken wings!

Grilled New York Strip!

Those fried onions Aunt Trixie puts in the Thanksgiving green bean casserole


And now, for the . . . PLAYLIST. Every great drinks party must have one.

🍅 🍅 🍅

1. Willie nurses a broken heart on his way to Houston, in this classic "hair of the dog" tune.

2. "Bloody Mary is the girl I love. Now ain't that too damn bad!" From 1958's South Pacific.

3. Lady Gaga goes, well, gaga, in this song from her Grammy-nominated Album of the Year,

Born This Way.

4. MY current vibe: this viral TikTok remix of Wednesday Addams dancing to a sped-up version of Gaga's Bloody Mary.

Here's hoping YOUR bloody mary party is EPIC.

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