How to Make A Bloody Mary Bar
That Put’s All Other Bloody Mary Bars to Shame
So, you would consider yourself quite the amateur bartender, eh? Or a swell party host? Or maybe just a bloody mary fan?
Well, no matter what you are, as long as you like bloody marys, we like you. And we want your guests to like you too.
So we put together this ultimate guide to make your own bloody mary bar. It’s got tips from us on how to make a bad ass bloody mary bar.
If you take our advice and people will be talking about it for days, serve Stu’s Bloody Mary mix at your bar, and people will be talking about it next year.
Bloody Mary Bar Items: Checklist
Here are the bloody mary items and elements that you’re going to need to make the best bloody mary bar ever.
- Bloody Mary Mix
- Garnishes and Condiments
- Variety of Alcohol
- Food to pair with your bloody mary
- Bar Tools / Items
Next Level Bonus: The Right Decor
- Spacing / Setup
The Right Bloody Mary Mix
The absolute make or break item for a bloody mary bar is the mix. Period.
You can get away with subpar garnishes, well booze and plain ole tomato juice…but if your mix is no good, you’ve got yourself a sub-par bloody mary bar.
The best bloody mary mix needs to be:
- Flavorful (but not overpowering)
- Versatile (not everyone likes plain tomato juice)
- Natural Ingredients (healthy ingredients matter)
- Long Lasting (don’t be wasteful)
If you agree that the above criteria make for a good bloody mary mix, then Stu’s is your best option.
Try one or all of our three flavors:
The Right Juice for a Bloody Mary Bar
The most traditional juice is tomator juice. Every bloody mary bar has to have it. You can go the route of plain ole Cambell’s Tomato juice, or V8 for more flavor, but are a few better options.
Here are a few top picks to keep on hand:
Want to make your own tomator juice?
Yes that’s right. You don’t have to purchase tomato juice–it’s not hard to make. Urban Farmer keeps it real here with these step-by-step instructions.
Wash 5-20 pounds of ripe red tomatoes and then core and quarter them. To “core” the tomato, just dig out the stem. Make sure to get the harder, non-flesh part.
Use a large stainless steel pot so it doesn’t react to the acidity of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in the pot. For flavor add small halved red onion, one celery rib with leaves, lemon juice and carrots for flavor. These ingredients are optional. Try experimenting with different amounts to find what works best for you.
Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring often. Cook for about 30 minutes until tomatoes are soft.
Discard the optional ingredients. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill, which is a mechanical device that forces the tomatoes through a sieve. Discard the solids. Use the smaller holed-insert for your food mill.
Measure the juice. Rinse the pot. Return the juice to the pot. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and up to 1 teaspoon of salt for each 4 cups of tomato juice. Add pepper to taste.
Stir as you bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce the heat to boil gently for 5 minutes.
Allow juice to cool, then chill it in the refrigerator. If desired, you can pour the juice through a sieve to filter out any thick areas or seeds that may have passed through the food mill. May be refrigerated for up to three days.
Other Bloody Mary Juice Options:
People want options. If you take the time to make your own bloody mary bar you give them just that.
So we also recommend clamato options for those who like Bloody Caesar’s.
Or to really kick it up a notch, try having some Green Bloody Mary’s available.
Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar: Garnishes
Garnishes are important to keep it interesting, but there are some more basic condiments that play an integral role in the bloody mary bar experience.
Here is a good range of ideas to start with–you don’t have to include all of these.
Pickled green beans
Cubes of cheese
Skewers (very important unless you want all these snacks sinking to the bottom of your drink)
Other Bloody Mary Bar Garnish Items
This is where the “flare” comes in. Nothing says “badass bloody mary bar” quite like a straw you can eat.
Benny’s is a popular brand for these chewy puppies.
Fried Jalapeño Poppers
All you need is cream cheese, breading and jalapeños. Cut each Jalapeño in half, fill with cream cheese, add breading and drop in a skillet with hot oil.
Stack these hot puppies on your bloody with a long skewer.
You’re going to make your own bloody mary bar, so why not make your own bloody mary ice cubes? These will chill the bloody marys without watering them down.
Take an ice cube tray or two, fill the tray(s) with mary instead of water and pop in the freezer.
Now you have chilled cubes that will keep your drink cool without changing the flavor.
Hot Soft Pretzel
Salted or unsalted this is a delicious addition to the bloody mary bar–and simple, too. Drop the pretzel into your drink to soak up some delicious mary, or keep it on top with a skewer.
The good fat. Here is a more basic flavor that allows the mary to do the talking. Avocado gives you texture more than anything, and the savory notes in the beverage really make this fruit come alive. (Did you know it’s actually a fruit? Fun tip for ya.)
Sometimes people can get overwhelmed and want everything in their drink.
So if you place different foods together that complement each other, or better yet, already on skewers, then people don’t have to think about what to add together. It’s already done for them and then they just choose whatever their taste buds are feeling in that moment.
You can get creative with these and make fun things, like wrap a piece of ham and Havarti cheese around an asparagus for people to grab and throw in their drink. Or kabob shrimp, mushrooms, and onions together. Yum.
For round two, they choose a different food option.
The Right Alcohol for a Bloody Mary Bar
There are many variations of the bloody mary. Feel free to stock only vodka if it suits you, but keep in mind to truly make your own bloody mary bar the spirits should reflect the varied nature of the beverage.
Your liquor choices should be different. Yes, you may like your bloody mary with one type of vodka, but others might hate your Barton’s choice 🙂 Two vodka choices is probably mindful enough. Don’t go insane.
Milagro is the top choice for tequila when you make your own bloody mary bar. It’s a blanco tequila which means it’s much more subtle and great for mixing. It’s also a great bargain at 27 dollars.
This vodka tops the list when it comes to great vodkas under 20 bucks. so let’s save where we can 😉
Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey
Bulleit is high in rye content and has a very nice sugar balance. With the added rye you will really know you made your bloody with whiskey.
Aria Portland Dry Gin
This is a dry gin so almost no sugar is added. Aria Portland Dry Gin comes from American Samoa and is commonly used for martinis or jasmine cocktails.
It has a silky, fruity body and with the lack of sugar there is plenty of room for your bloody mary flavors.
There is no cheap way to host brunch, and a well stocked bar doesn’t come cheap–but each guest getting to make their own drink just how they like it? You seal your hall of fame status for brunch hosting, and that is priceless.
Salt Rimmer Options
Plenty of drinks can be improved with the addition of a salted rim. However, unlike a margarita which is usually plain salt or sugar, bloody marys are different.
If you get yourself a Stu’s Kitchen Mixology Kit, you will get our very own Key Lime and Sweet Corn Rimmers.
If you want other options, we recommend
- Celery Salt
- Smoked Paprika
- Lemon Pepper
- Old Bay Seasoning
Little options like this will give guests some variety, and who knows, maybe they have never had anything like that before and fall in love.
Food To Serve With Your Bloody Marys
Everything and anything goes with bloody marys. Bloody marys aren’t just for the morning. If you are throwing a brunch then have more brunchy foods. We know….a mind-blowing tip.
But seriously…everything goes with bloody marys.
Pickle juice (Stu’s already hasthe brine in the bloody mary mix for you) and pickles are a staple in the bloody mary community that often gets overlooked by the casual drinker..so don’t overlook them.
Keeping out plates of olives, onions, bacon, toast, asparagus, shrimp, beets, green beans, mushrooms, lemons, limes, blue cheese, Havarti cheese, lettuce or spinach, jalapenos… are all great options to have for your guests.
If you have those options then people can make themselves full and not whine about whatever food you are or aren’t serving.
If you do have main dishes that people are getting themselves then place the food on a different table so people know what the difference between the garnishes and the food is.
Bonus Round: Bloody Mary Bar Tips:
Bloody Mary Bar Items and Decorations
It’s fun if you give your bloody mary bar some sort of a theme.
Perhaps it goes with the type of event you are putting on. If your party is centered around a sports event, then put mini jerseys, numbers, logos and team colors around the bar. You could even incorporate these into the garnishes or drinks themselves. If you want to get cute use mason jars for your glassware…people love those things. No matter what the theme is, you can find cool ideas and inspiration everywhere. Pinterest is a good resource for different themes.
The holidays are coming up, you can go as simple as setting a poinsettia on a table. But we don’t really recommend doing that, although it would be kind of funny. At least get some garland and wrap it around your tables and doorways. Tinsel can hang from the ceiling. It’s alright to go a little cheesy, people actually like it.
Careful with the glitter…it gets everywhere. But hey, it’s the holidays, so whatever. Confetti, spices, veggies, you name it, you can put it on the table and it’ll probably look good. This is literally spices and tomatoes, boom, looks good. Decor pro.
If you don’t want a theme, that’s cool too. You can use your fancy serve ware and have a reason to show it off to your guests. And if you could care less about decorations, then that’s fine too.
Bloody mary bars are aesthetically pleasing and the bar itself can serve as your only decor, just make it the focal point of the space….and that doesn’t mean placing a table in a middle of your living room awkwardly in everyone’s way.
Just make it noticeable. The two table option is a good bloody mary bar idea if you don’t want any other decorations.
Spacing and Organization
You’ll want the bar to be in a spot where all of your guests can access it.
Seems like an obvious tip right? Well…it is. But you’ll want your bloody mary bar to be a focal point. So don’t cram it in some corner, leaving it unseen and hard to get to.
When guests go over to the bloody mary bar don’t make them stand on top of each other trying to garnish their drink. Space it out nicely. If you need two tables, then get two tables.
It’d look nice to have two tables set up on two different walls, where the corner of each wall meets up. Make sense? Not only is that option visually appealing, but it also gives your guests two stations.
One table could have the cups, napkins, alcohol and mixes and the next table can have the garnishes and food if you have it.
How you space and organize your bar will depend on the party size. If it is a small gathering, you can keep everything contained to a small area. If it is a larger one, you will have to get a little creative. Everything should be easily accessible without having your guests stepping all over each other.
Also, it is important that your bar is organized in sequential order..so don’t put the alcohol at the end.
So that’s it! Follow those steps to make your own bloody mary bar, that your guests will be raving about for years to come!
Have fun. Imagine something, and then create it. Boom. Done. You can’t really mess it up. Unless you completely nix out all of these bloody mary bar ideas 🙂 then s*** can hit the fan. Literally. Have you ever had someone get drunk and throw shrimp on your ceiling fan? Yea.. you’ve been warned.
Happy creating, concocting, mixing and partying. Share with us your photos of your bloody mary bars!