Drinks

Everyone Agrees: Here’s the Key to the Perfect Bloody Mary

At long last, the debate is settled. Or is it?

photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

Because we at G&G couldn’t agree, we asked readers for their secrets to make a perfect Bloody Mary. Hundreds of Facebook and Instagram comments later, we’ve found the unequivocal no-doubt-about-it truth on how to make a flawless drink.


YOU MUST USE VODKA …

Vodka is the key!!—Loresia Vallette

Vodka!—Doug Tribou

Lots and lots of vodka.—@jamesroselus

VODKA, VODKA, AND MORE VODKA!—Richard Kowallik

 

… BUT DON’T USE VODKA.

Scotch. Yes, scotch, not vodka. Better consistency and smoky flavor. And save your fancy single malts for straight ups.
—Sharron Bray Reeves

The vodka? Seriously? Nobody cares. Use the cheapest, cheap s— vodka you can find.—Bill Chenausky Sr.

I am surprised I don’t see more people suggesting gin in lieu of vodka. Gin is the key to me. So much more flavor than vodka resulting in a fundamentally better tasting beverage.
Charles Vorbach

The key is using gin.—Joseph M. Tolbert

Forget the vodka. Gin is the right flavor.—Ward Lang

photo: STACEY VAN BERKEL

The Redless Snapper.

Feeling adventurous? Try the Redless Snapper, a gin-based version of the Bloody Mary, or The Bloody Jerk, which calls for rum.


STICK WITH CLASSIC MIXES …

Skip the tomato juice and go with V8.—Thomas Jerome

My new fave, found at Kroger: Fat & Juicy.—Tamara VanTuyl

Cox Bloody Mary spice. Unfortunately it’s only sold in England. Used the last few drops last weekend. I also like Bruce’s mix.—Jan Scott

Charleston’s spicy mix.—Lillian Stewart

No matter what you do, be sure to use Zing Zang. It’s the best!—Rachel Altenbern Waddell

Using Patrick Henry Bloody Mary mix; it is sublime.—Bill Crosby

 

… BUT DEFINITELY BUILD YOUR OWN.

Fresh ingredients—no mixes!!—JoAnn Walker

Make. Your own. Mix. I worked at a bar that had a devoted brunch crowd and one morning I arrived to find that our manager hadn’t bought any Bloody Mary mix (it was very nice, very expensive mix, but still mix) and we were completely out. I went into the kitchen and made my own batch with tomato paste, coarse ground pepper, Worcestershire, tomato juice, and lemon juice. It was peppery and thick and very well received. In my opinion the perfect Bloody Mary.—Colt TheBolt Tallant

Please start with tomato juice and then make everything from scratch—no pre-made anything.—Susan Ingram

Clamato and V8 50/50.—Don Throckmorton

photo: MARGARET HOUSTON

The Tomatillo Bloody Mary.

In the build-your-own-base camp? Try the Tomatillo Bloody Mary, a take on the classic cure-all by New Orleans bartender Jimmy Syock.


KEEP IT COOL …

Take it easy on the Tabasco!—Sherrie Livingston

I’m a purist. Don’t tart it up with a lot of trendy crap.—Jessica Ann Boggs Kaputa

 

… BUT BRING THE HEAT.

I like mine super spiced up and brutally hot but that’s me.
Thomas Jerome

Spicy enough to make you need a kerchief.—Mauri Fagan

The right amount of spiciness/heat. If you don’t want spiciness, order tomato juice!—Michael Scheser


THE SIMPLER THE BETTER …

Don’t put a damn smorgasbord on the top of it.
Spencer Lamb

None of these odd garnishes… just a good green olive or a pod of pickled okra.
Adam Lewis

Stop putting so much wierd crap in them.—Tereasa Cotter

 

… BUT LOAD IT UP.

Clamato, Worcestershire, hot pickled okra, jalapeno baby dills, hot pickled green pepper, season salt/celery salt, sliced summer sausage, and extra sharp cheddar cheese…oh and good Vodka.—Chuck Lehman

Over-the-top garnishes like bacon, sliders, shrimp, mozzarella sticks, etc. One time my husband got a slice of pizza on top.—@rollinwiththebeets

The snacks. I had one topped with pizza (among other things) while in Arkansas, and I think about it all the time. I wish I were kidding.—Bekah Baugh

Pickled bamboo and okra and pimento cheese-stuffed olives and brown sugar bacon will bedazzle any mix.—Millicent Mooring

photo: TBD

Build your own Bloody Mary Bar.

Want to experiment for yourself? Build your own Bloody Mary bar and go to town.


THERE’S ONLY ONE PERSON WHO CAN MAKE A GOOD BLOODY MARY …

Sorry, everyone, but my dad Robin Snoots is definitely the authority on this one.—Heidi Joy Cronin

I can never find a Bloody Mary I really like besides the one my grandma or myself whips up.—Britney Smith

Having my husband, Evans Clements, make it.—Pamela Johnson Clements

 

… OR SO YOU THOUGHT.

The key to a great Bloody Mary is a weekend stay at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA… best bloody I’ve had in my life!—Scott Garner

The Algonquin in NYC at the Blue Bar.
—@mollyallgoodrn

Whiskey Willie’s out of Orange Beach is ALWAYS the way to go!—@rainbow_cadillac

The best ever, Harry’s Bar in Paris on New Year’s Day, 2013.—Debbie Howard Logue

Just go to New Orleans and get one…they are great!!
Debbie McKendree Mathis

Go to Wintzell’s in Mobile, AL. Best I’ve ever had, by a long shot.—Stephen Houk

Go to Frank’s east of Huoma, LA, on Hwy. 90.—Michael Bloodworth

The Proud Mary served at The Rustic Table-Pawleys Island, SC.—Brenda Rayman

photo: TERRY KUZNIAR

The Cochon Bloody Mary.

New Orleans chef Donald Link shares his Bloody Mary secrets, and the recipe for The Cochon Bloody Mary.


IF ALL ELSE FAILS, REMEMBER …

Mainly this is a drink designed to level out the playing field from the day before and/or prime the pump for the deeds of the day yet to come and fortify the soul against the idle chatter of mimosa drinkers sharing the table with you.—Joseph M. Tolbert

After reading through some of these comments, I’m thinking the best Bloody Mary is the one made the way you like it.—Sheila Lee


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