Drinks

Find Your Ultimate Bloody Mary Recipe

Spicy, strong, garnished, salt-rimmed—the beauty of this quintessential brunch cocktail is that nobody prepares it quite the same way, but these seven recipes make for a good start
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A Family’s Secret Recipe

Restaurateur Brooks Reitz (Leon’s Oyster Shop and Little Jack’s Tavern) says his parents never travel without their Bloody Mary “kit,” which began simply as an extra tote bag stuffed with ingredients but grew much more sophisticated with time. According to Reitz, here’s what belongs in every Bloody Mary kit—and his secret for mixing up the perfect cocktail. 

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

The Commander’s Palace Bloody Mary 

“Our kitchen makes our Bloody Mary mix every couple of days from scratch,” says Ferrel Dugas, Bar Chef at Commander’s Palace. “We blend celery, carrots, and fresh tomatoes, plus horseradish to taste, and then let it marinate.” Although Dugas doesn’t give away all the secrets of the Commander’s version, she does divulge two key ingredients: Creole seasoning and Crystal hot sauce.

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photo: ERIC MEDSKER, COURTESY OF TEN SPEED PRESS

The Bloody Jerk

Swapping vodka for rum, New Orleans mixologist Nick Dietrich puts a Caribbean spin on the Bloody Mary in this jerk-inspired riff that manages to be savory, spicy, and sweet. A mix of fresh, local Creole and Roma tomatoes forms the drink’s base. To that, he adds allspice, onion, and garlic for the umami factor; ginger and vinegar for pucker; and chiles in place of horseradish for heat.

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photo: JOHNNY AUTRY

The Redless Snapper

A gin-based variation on the Bloody Mary, this a smoother quaff than the original but just as flavorful, thanks to homemade tomato water and the garnish trifecta of a citrus wedge, an olive, and something pickled.

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photo: STACEY VAN BERKEL

Tomatillo Bloody Mary

New Orleans bartender Jimmy Syock has us thinking green. Built on a tomatillo base, his tangy and highly colorful take on the Bloody Mary keeps thirsty patrons lining up every weekend at Atchafalaya Restaurant’s Bloody Mary bar. For a seasonal update, try swapping tomatillos for fresh green tomatoes in the summer and fall.

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photo: MARGARET HOUSTON

A Smokin’ Good Bloody

Made from a mix that you can prepare ahead of time and store in your refrigerator, this cocktail is a step above your typical morning-after libation—complete with barbecue bitters.

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photo: PETER FRANK EDWARDS

The Cochon Bloody Mary

Start with a V8 base and add some pork jus for flavor and body. Then it’s all about the spice: pepper, grainy mustard, fresh lemon juice. And snacks—chef Donald Link’s Bloody Mary has to have pickled okra and a long stem of celery, preferably a crisp inner stalk with tender light green leaves.

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photo: TERRY KUZNIAR

Emeril Lagasse’s Cajun Bloody Mary

Chef and TV host Emeril Lagasse serves these Cajun-style drinks during Mardi Gras. “You can’t go wrong with a Bloody in the morning,” he says. “Kicking them up with the extra spice will make sure you’re awake and ready for the day.”

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photo: Courtesy of Emeril’s Homebase

Build a Bloody Mary Bar

Still not sure which cocktail fits your brunch? No problem. Ready your hot sauces and pickle those dilly beans for a DIY Bloody Mary bar and allow guests to choose for themselves.

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