POPSUGAR Food

Building Blocks For a Bangin' Bloody Mary Bar

Jul 16 2010 - 5:50am

Whether you love them or hate them [1], Bloody Marys are a crucial staple of brunch and daytime entertaining. I personally adore them, and have recently been toying with the idea of creating a Bloody Mary bar the next time I invite friends and family over for brunch. To create your own customizable drink bar, begin with high-quality tomato juice, and take it from there. Here are 10 additions I'd include to make my Bloody Mary bar the best ever.


Source: Flickr User StuartWebster [2]

Use top shelf vodka.

You and your guests won't be getting your day off to a smooth start if you start with a vodka that's got a rocky finish. For the most seamless finish, select something top shelf as your base, like Grey Goose or Square One Organic.

Source: Flickr User Brittany G [3]

Try tequila instead.

Other spirits, like tequila or gin, work well with tomato juice, too. I personally love Bloody Marias [4] — made all the more lethal with shots of fiery Tabasco tequila [5].

Don't forget the clam juice.

Sea-salty clam juice adds a briny dimension to any otherwise ordinary Bloody Mary. I always keep some (made fresh from steaming clams for chowder or pasta) in my freezer, but you could also buy a bottle of clam juice.

Beer: it does a Bloody Mary good!

In addition to being a great chaser for the Bloody Mary, beer also works well as an addition to the drink, for a beverage called the Red Eye [6]. For those who simply will never warm up to tomato juice, beer even tastes great with lime and Worcestershire in a michelada [7].

Source: Flickr User davidgsteadman [8]

All varieties of hot sauce.

More diversity in your hot sauce collection will only make this Bloody Mary bar better. Include Tabasco, Crystal, homemade North African harissa [9], Korean spicy bean paste [10], and your preferred hot sauce brand [11].

Source: Flickr User stevendepolo [12]

Worcestershire is a must.

With an ingredient list of malt vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, anchovies, onions, salt, garlic, tamarind, cloves, and chili pepper extract, what doesn't Worcestershire sauce [13] have? What it does possess: a little bit of sweet, a little bit of salty, a little bit of tangy, and lots of flavor.

Pickled vegetables: a must have.

This is one drink that's not truly a full-blown rendition unless it contains a celery garnish and a generous skewer of pickled vegetables [14] such as beans, onions, and jalapeños. The pickling process is simple enough to make your own.

Add some protein.

If you want to give your garnish selection that extra-luxurious edge, offer guests roasted shrimp [15] to hang off the edge of the glass.

Turn your bloody mary into an oyster shooter!

Oysters add an extra dose of fun and sex appeal. Use them to create spiked oyster shooters [16].

Source: Flickr User tristankenney [17]

Salt the rim.

Give your Bloody Mary a rim job, margarita-style. Go for anything that will add some flavor: celery salt, Old Bay seasoning, Emeril's Essence. It adds visual appeal as well.

Source: Flickr User neil conway [18]


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