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Homemade Bloody Mary

I'm interested in recipes for a great homemade Bloody Mary. I am not talking about using any mix -- there's another thread for that. I'm referring to using fresh tomatoes and other ingredients.

I'd also like feedback on spirit. I'm considering offering vodka, gin, and akvavit. Ransom Old Tom gin also sounds interesting.

I admit to not being a big Bloody Mary fan, but I've been tasked with bringing them.


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  1. I love ransom old tom, it is definitely one of my favorite gins, if not my absolute favorite but I'm not sure how it would be in a BM.

    1. Some of the best bloody mary's I have had have been closer to diluted cocktail sauce with either shrimp or crab chopped up in them.

      1. Best Bloody Mary I ever had was sort of the result of an accident. I was playing around with making peppercorn-infused vodkas, and made one with green peppercorns. (Doesn't take long, a few days is plenty of infusion time.) Tried it with vermouth, and it was undrinkable--harsh, biting, and generally unpleasant.

        Reluctant to toss the whole batch, i figured I'd try it in a Bloody Mary...and damn, that was great.Just the perfect complement to all the other flavors in the drink.

        We use a fairly classic recipe: Worcestershire, horseradish, Tabasco, lemon juice, and fresh-ground pepper. Sometimes we use V-8 instead of straight tomato juice.

        1. If you have a juicer, get hold of the fresh, summer, local tomatoes that will soon becoming into season. Hold at room temp. until they are perfectly ripe, juice them, and start from there. The juice will be a lot lighter, and brighter tasting than canned juice.

          If using canned juice you can also use v-8 or clamato.

          My favorite spirits are gin and akavit for Bloody Mary's. Also tequila and mezcal are good.

          Ingredients: celery salt, fresh ground pepper, horseradish, lemon juice, worchestershire sauce, hot sauce of choice.

          Additional ingredients: ground cumin or roasted cumin, ground rosemary, bay, thyme, oregano, Szechuan pepper, etc.

          1. I hope you aren't on task for Saturday morning as this will be too late. But if it's Sunday and you aren't happy with where you're at, an easy recipe follows my rant.

            So, I worked in a place where we made as many things as we possibly could from scratch and 90% of the time, I felt like that made us a better than average cocktail bar. We made our own tomato juice, spice mixture, pickled veg for garnish and even our own hot sauce almost--all in the name of bloodies. But I feel this is a drink more about purpose than pure execution. And with this drink, I felt like we did too much in the name of "scratch mixing."

            Now I love bloodies, I just didn't LOVE those completely scratch bloodies. Please do not mistake this for laziness or lack of commitment. I just think a Bloody Mary's purpose in life is to deliver a savory burst of salt, spice, acid and a reddish tomato informed base to assuage the "earlier" morning guilt one might feel from indiscretions the night before or those about to take place later in the day. Attaching a cheeseburger to the rim, slapping on oyster on top or grating fresh horseradish over it just seems like gilding the lily in every bad sense of that phrase (not that I think you were planning on doing that). Moreover, the better the brunch food, I believe the more the Mary should stay out of the way and just take the role of a fortifying savory morning drink much easier to make than the brutally labor intensive--though awesome--fizzes that almost suggest a 1-to-1 ratio of bartender to customer if anyone wants a drink in less than 10 minutes. Anyway.

            Here is what I batch out for weekend parties when I'm not trying to impress as much as provide. And maddeningly, every time I try to make it a little more "crafted", the consumption goes down. Recipe is for one drink but I can't remember I didn't tweak the proportions a little bit based on the morning or the people involved.

            -5 oz. Clamato
            -2 oz. spirit
            -.5 oz. A-1 sauce
            -.25 oz lime juice
            -4 dashes green Tabasco
            Served in a pint glass (this is meant for a 16 oz. container
            filled ice)
            Garnish with celery stalk, pimento stuffed green olive, lemon wedge
            In a perfect world, a quick shake works well but I'm not always in the mood for noise or exercise first thing in the morning.

            --This recipe is for vodka. Lighter gins and tequila's usually work great but for the uninitiated, the more forward flavors of something like mezcal or genever might be too much without prior experience. Haven't tried Old Tom but am wondering about the "sweeter" profile in a savory drink.
            --I like lime juice in the drink with lemon garnish. These can be switched up depending on personal taste.
            --More Tabasco can always be added to ratchet up the heat
            --I've made this with Heinz 57 in place of A-1 but I don't feel it gives quite the depth of flavor though it does provide similar viscosity which I consider important.

            1. I have no recipe but a list of ingredients:

              Campbell's low sodium tomato juice
              Worcestershire sauce
              Tabasco (can use chipotle flavor if you like)
              Vodka (I like Finlandia)
              Celery seed
              Black pepper
              Garnishes- I like olives but celery is nice or go crazy with a fun rim of old bay, so many ideas, wedge of lemon or lime is refreshing.
              Mix up a batch of the mix. Put ice in glass with vodka and pour mix over, stir and garnish.

              1 Reply
              1. I have used this recipe to rave reviews:


                Make sure you use golden beets, not red ones, or you will have a bloody mess on your hands. And I would go with gin.

                7 Replies
                1. re: cobpdx

                  Looks tasty enough, but certainly doesn't look like a Bloody Mary...especially if you use gin.

                  1. re: The Professor

                    I'm curious as to why you think it doesn't "look like a Bloody Mary?"

                    The OP asked for a Bloody Mary mix and this is a very good one.

                    He also asked for opinions on using different kinds of spirits. Obviously, BY DEFINITION, a Bloody Mary is made with vodka. But martinis are also supposed to be made with gin and people use vodka all the time (and I am not wanting to open this tired conversation again, just using it as an example). People have their reasons for wanting to try something a little different now and again.

                    1. re: The Professor

                      I don't understand why you think it doesn't look like a Bloody Mary.

                      1. re: JMF

                        Understandable...I was not very clear.
                        What I should have said was that it doesn't look like a 'traditional' Bloody Mary (or any that I have ever seen or tasted for that matter).

                        Bottom line is that really, a Bloody Mary can certainly have in it whatever the person making it bloody well chooses.
                        Let's just say that if I ordered a Bloody Mary in a bar and received (without warning) the poultice described above, I might be at least a bit disappointed...as I would be if handed a 'martini' made with vodka. LOL ;-)
                        But as always...to each his own.

                        1. re: The Professor

                          I guess you've never had a Bloody Mary made from freshly juiced ingredients before?

                          1. re: JMF

                            Actually, no!
                            But that observation (along with cobpdx's post below) opened my eyes a bit. I actually love V-8 juice (though I do wish they still made the no salt/no salt substitute version that they discontinued at least a decade ago).
                            Interestingly (and strangely, I suppose), as much as I love V-8, I never used it or thought of using it in a Bloody Mary. The recipe I originally questioned does admittedly now seem a bit less alien to me.
                            I guess I was viewing it from the wrong perspective.
                            Gonna try one made with V-8 tonight. I actually feel a bit silly for not ever trying it before.

                            I still won't ever use vodka for Martinis though. ;-)

                          2. re: The Professor

                            I understand your point, I suppose, but many people (and maybe even some bars), might consider V8 an acceptable base upon which to add horseradish, worcesteshire, etc. to make a bloody mary. Out of curiosity, I researched the ingredients in V8:

                            V8® 100% Vegetable Juice contains the juices of tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress and spinach.

                            If you are truly a Bloody Mary purist, the V8 (and the recipe I suggested) would not be acceptable. If, however, V8 is OK, then this is a perfectly reasonable alternative. It was hard to know how far "off the reservation" the OP wanted to go with his post, but once I saw Aquavit as a spirit alternative I figured all bets were off ;-)

                    2. I make my own Bloody Mary vodka. I infuse vodka with fresh horseradish root, ancho chili, garlic, peppercorns and lemon rind. All you need for an amazing bloody is fresh squeezed tomato juice (bottled is fine too) and then garnish with a steamed shrimp and lemon wedge. Old Bay optional.

                      1. By the way, on Sunday I made Bloody Mary's from scratch. A modern, refined version that I have been playing with for 4-5 years. I had a dozen tomatoes that I had let get super ripe. Then I juiced them with a cayenne pepper, stirred in some prepared horseradish, and put in a coffee filter lined colander in the fridge, and let the tomato/cayenne water drain though, it took several hours. It was a clear yellow/pink liquid.

                        Then I added some Worcestershire sauce, ground celery seed, some home made smoked salt, fresh lemon juice, and gin. I adjusted the flavor until it was an elegant tasting version of a Bloody Mary. I let sit in fridge for a few hours and filtered it again. Then served over ice. Very tasty, and got rave reviews. It didn't look like a Bloody Mary, being all clear juice, but sure tasted like one.

                        1. I ended up with pureed fresh peeled and seeded tomatoes, pureed red & sweet onion, salt, pepper, celery seed, a tiny amount of habanero sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and prepared horseradish. Maybe lemon (can't remember). It lacked depth, so I added a can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes. It went over well. I think mid-summer with great tomatoes, the can would be unneeded.

                          I offered an aged rye gin, akvavit, and vodka.

                          I still put Bloody Marys with Irish Coffee and Cuba Libre -- less than the sum of their parts.

                          Thanks for the help, folks. I appreciate it.