Bartender’s Secret Bloody Mary Mix Recipe

2 glasses of bloody mary garnished with olives, celery, and lemon slices.

This is THE bloody mary mix recipe you need, vetted by hundreds of picky bar customers, and crafted by a seasoned bartender. Just add your alcohol of choice, or enjoy it as a virgin bloody mary.  Boastfully, I will tell you that this recipe will change your Sunday brunch forever. 

two glasses of bloody mary with pickle, olive, celery, and lemon

Want the complete brunch experience? Pair this bloody mary with sour cream blueberry scones and the perfect soft scrambled eggs or my amazing ratatouille shakshuka with kale and feta cheese. 

In my past life, I was a bartender at a very busy classic restaurant in Greenwich Village, NYC.  It was a quirky place, filled with neighborhood locals, historic NYC village legends (a story for another day), and yes even celebrities… who I’m proud to say, all agreed that I made the ultimate bloody mary.  A recipe mastered during the dreaded Sunday brunch shift, a shift made better by savory, spicy, salty bloody mary mix.

Do not be fooled by lazy restaurant bloody marys. Tomato juice and a splash of Tabasco does not count as a bloody mary. It should be robust, chewy (yes), spicy, and make your taste buds tingle.

While I’ve enjoyed many versions of this classic cocktail through the years (an epic one in New Orleans is coming to mind served with pickled okra!) this mix remains my absolute favorite.  I know you are going to love it!

It’s been a long time since I was behind that bar, but I still love whipping up a batch of my bloody mary mix for parties and celebrations. My preference now is to enjoy it without alcohol, but I have alcohol options below 🙂

Table of contents

You’ll Love this Recipe

  • A time-tested classic. Some cocktail enthusiasts will argue the merits of upscaled ingredients like fresh grated horseradish or a specialty hot sauce.  After sampling tons of bloody mary mixes, this is still my all-time favorite. Sticking with good basic ingredients to make a classic bloody mary cocktail mix has proven a winning formula.
  • Not just a weekend hangover cure, this delicious bloody mary mix is so good it can be enjoyed anytime without alcohol.  AKA a virgin mary. 
  • Virgin Bloody Mary without the alcohol, this is actually a pretty healthy drink.  Dense with nutrients and vitamins b, and c this mix also contains hoseradish which helps promote healthy digestion, making this a very appealing savory drink that’s filling enough to be a healthy snack.

Let’s get mixing!

Ingredients in small bowls on a wood background for blood mary mix

Ingredients and Helpful Substitution Tips

Detailed measurements and ingredients can be found within the recipe card at the end of this post.

This homemade mix will make the best bloody marys you’ve ever had.  Everything you need can be found at your local grocery store. 

  • Tomato juice – I prefer Sacramento brand tomato Juice OR RW Knudsen Organic Tomato Juice – The key to a good bloody mary is the right tomato juice. Sacramento is the bartender’s classic and for good reason.  It has the perfect balance of acid and sweetness.  
  • Horseradish with some horseradish juice – I like a spicy bloody mary mix not just from tabasco but from sinus clearing horseradish – a non-negotiable.  
  • Gluten-free Worcestershire sauce – Feel free to use regular Worcestershire if you are not serving anyone with a gluten sensitivity. 
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Seasonings – Celery salt and black pepper
  • Tabasco Sauce – This is my favorite hot sauce for a classic bloody mary recipe.  
  • Olive brine and pickle juice – These both give that briney salty hit that a bloody mary needs.

For Garnish – The world is your oyster here, see some fun options below especially if you want to have a bloody mary bar with lots of garnish options.

  • Celery stalk
  • Lemon wedges or slices for garnish
  • Green olives
  • Other options: cocktail onions

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Combine all ingredients into a large pitcher and stir with a wooden spoon.  
  2. To serve as a cocktail add 2 ounces of vodka or your favorite spirit to a glass filled with ice, cover with bloody mary mix and garnish with your favorites.
  3. Optional – rim the glass with celery salt by adding celery salt to a small glass, run the rim of a tall glass with a lemon wedge and dip in the celery salt.
one glass of bloody mary with pickle, olive, celery, and lemon

Bloody Mary Garnish

A bloody mary is made exceptional with garnish – this is a fact. Here are some ideas to take your bloody mary over the top.

  • Salt the rim – I like to use celery salt, but chili lime or Tajin is also delicious
  • Celery = Traditional, you need it.
  • Cucumber
  • Pickled Carrot
  • Olives – YES
  • Pickles – YES!
  • Anything pickled – like anything / okra, peppers, green beans, etc.
  • Bacon – not my jam but you do you
  • Shrimp Cocktail – Sure, why not!
  • Cheese curd – had this in Wisconsin and I wasn’t mad about it

Bloody Mary Tips and Variations

The classic bloody mary is served with vodka and garnished with celery. I recommend trying a jalapeno or cucumber vodka! Here are a few other variations:

  • Bloody Maria – Swap the vodka for your favorite tequila. I prefer a white tequila in this recipe.
  • Red Snapper – My true preference, despite its awful name, swap the vodka for gin. Hendricks Gin is my preference and served with cucumber rather than celery.

Entertaining Tip:

  • When entertaining prepare a gallon of bloody mary mix ahead of time.  Keep it refrigerated and then serve in carafes or pitchers alongside options of various spirits and all the garnishes for your own bloody mary bar. 
hand holding one glass of bloody mary with pickle, olive, celery, and lemon

Storage

  • STORAGE – can be refrigerated in a covered pitcher for 5-7 days.

FAQ

How long is bloody mary mix good for?

About 7 days. I actually think it can improve after a day in the fridge as the flavors have time to blend together. Since this is made with fresh citrus try to use it within a week. Pre-mixed pre-packaged bloody mary mixes can last longer but don’t taste nearly as good.

How can you tell if bloody mary mix has gone bad?

If the mix starts giving off a bad odor or has changed color it has gone bad.

two glasses of bloody mary with pickle, olive, celery, and lemon

I can’t wait for you to try this! When you make it, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @abrapappa or use the hashtag #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo! 

If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!

2 glasses of bloody mary garnished with olives, celery, and lemon slices.

Bartender’s Secret Bloody Mary Mix Recipe

Abra Pappa, MS, CNS, LDN

This is THE bloody mary mix recipe you need, vetted by hundreds of picky bar customers, and crafted by a seasoned bartender.

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Prep Time 5 minutes

Course Drinks

Cuisine American

Servings 6 servings

Calories 49 kcal

Ingredients  

  • 46 ounces tomato juice I prefer Sacramento Tomato Juice OR RW Knudsen Organic Tomato Juice 
  • 4 tbsp horseradish with some horseradish juice
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free Worcestershire sauce or your preference of worcestershire sauce
  • juice of 2 fresh lemons
  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp Tabasco 10-15 shakes
  • 1 tbsp olive brine aka olive juice
  • 1 tbsp pickle juice optional

Garnish

  • 1 tbsp celery salt for glasses
  • celery
  • olives
  • pickles
  • sliced lemon

Instructions 

  • Squeeze the juice from 2 fresh lemons into a large pitcher

  • Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir to thoroughly mix. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired (i.e. sometimes I prefer super spice, I would double the tabasco if you like it very spicy)

Garnish/ Putting it all together

  • Prepare a small plate with celery salt to rim the glasses (if you’d like)

  • Run a lemon wedge around the rim of a glass. Coat the rim glass with the celery salt by dipping the lemon-coated rim into the mixture on the plate.

  • Fill glasses with ice add 2 ounces of your spirit of choice (if using) Top with bloody mary mix.

  • Garnish with a celery stalk, lemon slice, and green olives and a pickle on a cocktail skewer or toothpick.

Notes

Nutrition information is without garnish or alcohol
Expert tip:

  • When entertaining prepare a gallon of bloody mary mix ahead of time.  Keep it refrigerated and then serve in carafes or pitchers alongside options of vodka and gin with all the garnishes for your own bloody mary bar. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1glassCalories: 49kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gSodium: 967mgPotassium: 578mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 987IUVitamin C: 44mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg

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