Looking for the Best Bloody Mary Mix in 2018?
The bloody mary is a complex beverage, so with it comes a complex discussion about what makes the best bloody mary mix.
Think of the best bloody mary you’ve ever had. We’re assuming it was at a bar with a masterfully skilled bartender who is a master over brunch cocktails.
But we think it’s possible, and actually, our mission is to give you a similar experience of the best bloody mary that you can make any time.
But in order to make the best Bloody Mary, you need the best Bloody Mary mix.
So…lets break it down.
What Makes The Best Bloody Mary Mix
Most people have their favorite mix that they can purchase, like Zing Zang or Mr. & Mrs. T’s but these are often just the popular or more available options, not necessarily the best.
We wanted to give you the criteria of what makes the best Bloody.
For us, an amazing bloody mary mix MUST meet or exceed in the following standards:
- Balance or Ratio
- Quality All Natural Ingredients (no artificial crap)
- Versatile (you don’t want a one size fits all)
- Bonus Criteria: Shelflife
If it doesn’t meet each and every one of these areas, it might be a really good mix, but can it really be the best? That’s a rhetorical question…it can’t.
Let’s investigate, shall we?
Best Bloody Mary Mix Criteria #1: Flavor
Obviously, the most important criteria for the best bloody mary is the flavor.
On the surface, a bloody mary can be considered a pretty simple drink. The cocktail consists of vodka, tomato juice, and spices.
But once you start breaking down each portion you can see it’s actually very complex.
- Vodka: (traditionally but you can add other liquor).
- What kind of vodka do you use?
- Tomato Juice:
- What kind of tomato juice? Or do you use vegetable juice like V8?
- How much vodka or tomato juice? Do you like it thick or watered down?
- Spices: Often hot spicy peppers, hot sauce, black pepper, celery salt, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce)
- How spicy? Do you like the eyes to water with overwhelming heat or just some mildness too it?
- A Special Ingredient: (Usually lemon juice, but we love pickles and prefer pickle juice)
- Do you use lemon juice, pickle juice, bone broth, or nothing at all?
- Garnish: Celery stalk and lemon wedge (although garnishes can get crazy)
- What kind of garnish do you use? Just a simple celery stick, bacon or do you go nuts and add an entire deep-fried chicken?
It seems like a simple drink, but there are so many variations it’s really hard to get the flavor right. The Bloody Mary is the most personalized cocktail you can create. Just take a look at that ingredient list and you can see how one can perfect their mix to fit their individual tastes.
As you can see, the flavor isn’t so simple to get right because everyone has THEIR favorite way to make a Bloody Mary. Getting the flavor right requires skill, and depending on your taste buds, a balancing act to get it just right which is probably why a bartender makes your favorite version.
But having severed thousands of Bloody Marys and helping people across the US to make perfect bloody marys,
we have some tips on what makes the best mix.
The Breakdown of Perfect Bloody Mary Flavor
- Spicy Bite: The heat that you need, without being overwhelmingly hot. (For a definition on Bite click here)
- Complexity: A complexity of flavors that dance in synch with each other.
- Texture: Beautiful texture so that you can feel the spices on your tongue.
- Smooth Finish: Finish with a little bit of smokey heat on the back end, but again nothing that overwhelms.
If you have that going for your bloody Mary mix then you have a winner in the flavor category.
You will be left with a Bloody Mary that shows off what it’s made of and a flavor profile that we based STUs on.
A Bloody Mary that starts off tart and tomato-y and then finishes off spicy and full. You’re left with a Bloody Mary that’s perfect. Every time. And that’s what everyone likes.
Best Bloody Mary Mix Criteria #2: Balance and Ratio
Taste is paramount, but ratios help achieve that flavor profile. A good bartender knows that any quality cocktail is about achieving balance, and the Bloody Mary should not be any different.
The best bloody mary must be at the perfect consistency and ingredient ratios. Too thin of a drink and you are drinking flavored water, too thick and you are downing yourself in tomato paste, too spicy and too sharp of a bite and you’re focused on why your eyes are watering and not on your drink, too boozy and you need a designated buddy to help you finish.
Whatever ingredients you use, a key is getting the proportions right.
The Proper Bloody Mary Mix Ratio
For the sake of conversation, let’s use Stu’s This Is Bloody Mary Mix as an example.
Always remember: the golden ratio for the best Bloody Mary is a simple 2-6-1.
- 2 oz STUs This Is Bloody Mary Mix Concentrate or another mix.
- 6 oz tomato juice
- 1 oz vodka
Follow this 2-6-1 ratio and you will never be disappointed.
STUs THIS IS BLOODY MARY Mix has the perfect mix of pickle juice brine, spices and kick to make the perfect bloody. This mix takes the guesswork out of a good bloody.
With STU’s you get the perfect Bloody, every time.
Best Bloody Mary Mix Criteria #3: Quality All Natural Ingredients
Like we said earlier, each of these criteria builds off of each other. You must have quality ingredients to get the right flavor and give you the right balance.
Here’s a quick test for you. If you have a bottle of store-bought bloody mary mix laying around, go look at the ingredient list. Go on…we’ll wait.
I bet some of them shocked you.
Have you ever paid attention to what’s in your Bloody Mary mix?
If you take a look at the ingredient list you might be surprised to find that many ingredients are hard to pronounce.
In most Mixes you’ll find things like:
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (Not Good)
- Monosodium Glutamate (also known as MSG = Very Bad)
- Hydrolyzed Corn Protein (an ingredient to disguise it’s really MSG = Very Bad)
- Many other nasty preservatives and processed items.
Splurge on the ingredients.
Tomato juice makes up most of the Bloody Mary’s volume, so use high-quality juice that has a deep, rich flavor.
Our personal favorite is to create our own. It’s easier than it sounds. Here’s a recipe for a Semi-Homemade Tomato Juice. If you’re in the mood for a store bought juice, RW Knudsen makes a good organic product that won’t break your bank.
Spend more on the mix and the juice ingredients than on the high quality of the booze. It’s not a martini, the intense, spicy flavor of a Bloody Mary will mask the vodka (assuming you don’t pour too much). Because of this, using premium vodka makes little sense.
If you’re making your own, organic and fresh ingredients are best. If you’re buying a mix (we have a recommendation 🙂 ) then look at the back of the label. Can you buy these ingredients or do you need to be a chemist to recreate it?
Stu’s This Is Bloody Mary Mix has an ingredient list of:
Pickle brine from hand-packed Midwestern pickles (vinegar, water, salt, spices) White vinegar, molasses, water, sugar, onion, anchovies, salt, garlic, clove, tamarind extract, natural flavorings, chili pepper extract, chili peppers, horseradish.
That’s it. You can literally buy all of these in the store.
We obviously think our mix kicks ass, so do thousands of other people, but if you buy another make sure you’re using natural ingredients too.
Best Bloody Mary Mix Criteria #4 Versatility
As we mentioned earlier, everyone has a preference for how they prefer their Bloody. So that makes it difficult to please everyone with one mix, but versatility is important. If you love the mix but everyone else is miserable, that doesn’t do much for a good Bloody Mary Bar.
So it’s important to not have a one size fits all mix. Most recipes can’t handle any way tp personalize your mix, but again we are talking about what makes THE BEST, not just a good one.
One way to customize your mix is to keep the tomato juice separate.
Keeping the mix separate from the juice allows you and your guests to personalize the juice to their preference.
You can have a traditional Bloody Mary, your buddy from Canada can have a Bloody Caesar, another guest who doesn’t like tomato juice can have a Michelada, your foodie friend can use tomatillo juice and have a Green Bloody Mary and a health-conscious guest can have a low carb bloody mary.
Best Bloody Mary Mix Criteria: Bonus – Shelflife
Ever have to throw out your Bloody Mary mix because you didn’t drink all of it in 7 to 10 days? How was fun that? We’re guessing not super awesome to watch that tomato gold and your hard earned cash literally go down the drain.
Tomato juice starts to spoil as soon as you open it. That’s why most other mixes use artificial ingredients and nasty preservatives…because they have to.
STUs lasts up to six months as long as you keep it refrigerated.
Here’s how to get the most out of your mix:
Keep your mix and your tomato juice separate. Don’t blend them!
STU’s Bloody Mary Mix is a concentrate, meaning that’s there is NO tomato juice in STUs. You add your own. This also helps with our final criteria.
Our Pick for the Best Pre-Made Bloody Mary
Why Is Stu’s The Best Bloody Mary Mix?
The Bloody Mary Mix to rule them all. What’s so kickass about STU’s?
Here’s where STU’s comes roaring out of left field with a proposition that could change this unfortunate nightlife standard.
With STU’s, you only need three items to make a kickass Bloody Mary: STU’s, your spirit of choice and tomato juice. If every bartender had some STU’s This is Bloody Mary Mix behind the counter, the war on the post 5 p.m. Bloody Mary would be over.
The key to a top bloody Mary mix is, of course, the ingredients.
You can look on the back of our ingredient list and probably have most of these in your refrigerator or pantry. So the secret to ours being the best bloody Mary mix is not some secret sauce. The key to the best Bloody Mary mix is the ratio.
And that is where STUs shines. We have the absolute perfect blend of spices and ingredients to give you the perfect amount of spice and bite, but without the overpowering aftertaste. Our bloody Mary mix smooths out at the aftertaste.
We also have the perfect bloody Mary mix because it does not contain tomato juice. That allows you to truly make it your own. If you want more spice, add more stews. If you want less space, and less STUs or add more tomato juice. No tomato juice also allows our shelflife to be dramatically better than other mixes. Most bloody Mary mixes will expire in a week or two weeks tops. If you really want to push your luck you can keep them in your fridge for a month. But stews bloody Mary mix after you open it is good for six months in the shelf refrigerator.
We rarely have the problem of keeping an open bottle around for six months, but this is perfect for even those who don’t consume bloody Mary’s regularly. You can have one every once in a while and still get a full use of our bottle.