Bloody Mary Cocktail

The Bloody Mary represents a drink where everybody is welcome to test out their creativity just a little to see what sorts of unique twists they can add to this long-time classic. Start with the basic recipe and then see where that leads you.

1 1/2 vodka

3 oz tomato juice

1/2 oz lemon juice

celery salt to taste

worchestershire sauce to taste

black pepper to taste

1 tsp horseradish sauce

1 Tbs ancho chili powder

garnish with celery stalk


Build in a pint glass.


Robert Hess 17 Aug 2007
9:00 am

For those of you who feel that you do need to take a shortcut with the Bloody Mary, and use some sort of pre-mix, the only one I can really recommend is Demitris Bloody Mary mix, mostly because it isn’t a fully bottled pre-mix, but is a concentrated spice mixture that you add to tomatoe juice. This allows you not only select the brand of tomato juice you want to use, but also adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Perry 19 Sep 2007
3:44 pm

I’m floored there have not been a flurry of posts here. There are those who loathe the bloody mary (my wife included) and those who relish it as I do. I will try the ancho chili powder. Seems a natural.  I’m always looking for some variation on this cocktail. I make it two ways—from scratch and using a pre=made mix that I doctor. Without going into to much detail, one ingredient worth exploring is celery seed. The tomato juice and the pre-mix have plenty of salt for me, so a few dashes of celerry seed (crushed a bit with a muddler) adds wonderful flavor without more salt.  I shake and strain mine into a frozen cosmo glass or double old-fashioned with a little crushed ice. Lemon and pickled asparagus garnish.

Robert Hess 19 Sep 2007
4:28 pm

I find that all mixes are better when doctored up a little bit, if for no other reason then you then feel like you participated a little be more… or perhaps that’s just the chef in me coming out.

Good point on adding celery seed if you’re using an already salted mix, or a tomato juice which might be salty enough already.

Some folks reject the Bloody Mary because they hate tomato juice, my good friend Gary Regan is one of those. But he does like what is known as “Tomato water”, which is the mostly clear juice that you can strain from a tomato. It still has that great tomato flavor you are looking for, but without the texture of tomato juice which some people object to. From there you can add similar style ingredients to it to make a clear bloody mary.

Penny 20 Oct 2007
6:02 pm

I prefer to use a combination of tomato juice and Clamato juice usualy half and half then add the usuals: lemon juice, worchestershire sauce, celery seed, Tobasco, garlic salt, horseradish and my favorite secret ingredient: Pick-a-Peppa sauce (kind of like A-1, but better). Then I salt the rim with a combination of Lawry’s Season Salt and Cajun Spice, garnish with olives and cocktail onions, and you’ve got in my opinion the best Bloody Mary ever!

Charles LeBell, Sr. 31 Dec 2007
12:47 pm

Tomato juice has a slight bite that hits the palette after all the other flavors have passed.  A 1/4 tsp of powdered sugar knocks it right out.

Robert Hess 1 Jan 2008
5:05 pm


Thanks for that. Good point, I’ll have to try it out and see how this changes the drink overall.

Myself, I avoid using powdered sugar as an ingredient in a cocktail since powdered sugar includes cornstarch which can add a bit of a slimey texture to the drink, if not putting little lumps in it as well. Simple syrup works far better, or you can get what is called “bar sugar” which is finely ground sugar which will dissolve quicker than normal granulated sugar.


Rory Goggin 13 Jan 2008
4:53 am

I use V-8 Juice (or any good vegetable juice) and substitute lime juice for lemon juice.  Because the V-8 has celery juice, I don’t add any celery seed/salt. 

I’ve also substituted Ever-clear (grain alcohol) when I awoke to my wife being “out of sorts” and found I had no vodka for my Sunday Morning “Bloody”.  I found that, using an appropriately diminished measure of grain alcohol actually made for a very smooth “bloody”, and I named this drink after my wife - the “Bloody Mary Jo”

Stephen P. Murphy aka "The Murph" 14 Jan 2008
6:48 pm


I love your sight. I just came across it! I have recently launched my very own bottled Bloody Mary Mix. I’d love to get this product into your hands! I also think I may change your opinion about pre-mix Bloody Marys once you have tried mine. I mean no disrespect by that comment. I have a similar passion as you and I get nothing but the highest possible compliements by everyone who tries my mix. I hope to hear back from you.  -“The Murph”

Diann aka "ksirah2" 16 Feb 2008
6:51 am

Fun, fun, fun!  My friend and I have become tomato-growing maniacs and juice it all (we made aout 65 quarts last year and will certainly surpass that this year), then put seasonings right into the quart canning jars, and call it “Precious.” And it is. Quite sublime with the *real* juice (it’s not a pulp!) and a rather more delicate recipe than some.

I’ve enjoyed a powerful version called Reata’s Famous Bloody Mary but with less horseradish and adding some celery salt—not for the timid!  Scroll down at

Roberta Straub’s is awesome, though quite a process (starts with the rimming mix, then 3 more episodes) and expensive because I doubt many have all those exotic ingredients on-hand: You really do need those garnishes, especially the shrimp!

And now to try Robert’s—the Ancho chile is an intriguing addition….

BTW, does anyone else make things in quanitity and then freeze—like: Bloody Mary mix, fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, homemade grenadine, etc. etc.—I never see it mentioned.

And Robert, thanks for all your shows and info—I appreciate and enjoy them all.


Anonymous 13 Apr 2008
9:28 pm

It strikes me as somewhat odd that you would use horseradish sauce in this recipe, rather than prepared horseradish. It’s generally just as easy to find in most markets, and the difference in pungency would really be quite extraordinary (or you could simply use less, I suppose. I, personally, like my Bloody Marys to be a bit on the spicy side.)

Perhaps my favorite spicy element for a Bloody Mary, however, is a pureed can of chipotles in adobo sauce. It definitely provides an interesting change of pace from the biting heat of horseradish or the flaccid flavor profile of most common hot sauces.

Alisa 24 Apr 2008
7:24 pm

I like using Absolute Citron and Absolute Peppar as the vodka to add flavor.  Angostra (spelling?... the bitters people) make a pretty good bloody mary spice sauce you can add to tomato juice and make as mild or spicy as desired.  Love the site!

Simon (London UK) 4 Aug 2008
11:11 am


Thanks for this great site, its so good to see the drinks made and explained.

Worchestershire is pronounced:
Common people in England thinking they are being posh may pronounce the “shire” ending as in <hire> with an <s>, but that is ‘quite wrong’!!!

Of course in England most people would just call it Lee & Perrins, it ‘s great on Pork Sausages for breakfast!!!

Thanks again

Mitch West 27 Aug 2008
12:25 am

I met you a few years ago in London
whilst i was working for Milk and Honey London

I’m currently working in a tiki bar here
you may have heard of Mahiki

Your bloody mary recipe sounds great
there is just one thing that concerned me

As Dale Degroff himself and several experienced
bartenders always told me
“You should never, shake your bloody mary”
Due to a skin on the tomato juice which
would ruin the taste and that a roll technique
was the perferred method.
Wondering what your opinion is on this
i have to say i was shocked to see you shaking
that bloody mary

Mitch West

Robert Hess 27 Aug 2008
5:31 am

Mitch, I frankly haven’t been able to notice a big difference between shaking and “rolling” a Bloody Mary.  A problem with rolling, is that if not done properly, the drink may not get as cold as it should. But I’m more than willing to change my mind on this :->

Jude 21 Sep 2008
8:37 am

The link didn’t work. Here’s what I wrote:

1984. My first day on the job as a bartender.

The manager says, “Never shake a bloody mary. You’ll bruise the tomato juice.”

I heed his advice without question. I make bloody marys in the shaker glass, but gently pour the mixture back and forth instead of actually shaking it. Whenever I train a new bartender, I warn them: “Never shake a bloody mary. You’ll bruise the tomato juice.”

2008. Sitting at home drinking a V-8 for breakfast, thinking, how the hell you gonna bruise tomato juice? It’s already been smashed, screened, pureed, pulverized, and generally beaten to a bloody pulp before it ever goes into the can.

I don’t know what made me think about it this morning, but twenty-eight years later I’m finally realizing that that bar manager was messing with me. And somewhere in the world, some other former bartender is finally realizing that that Jude guy who trained him/her was also full of crap.

Robert Hess 21 Sep 2008
9:12 am


Like you, I have heard from many that “rolling” a Bloody Mary is important, but when I’ve made them by shaking them, I’ve never really notice them to taste off, bitter, or to “break” (or loose their thick texture).

A side-by-side test (for me anyway) shows the two to taste virtually the same, and with the same texture. Even straining out the ice, and drinking it without that getting in the way doesn’t show (again, to me) any real difference.

In fact, I just did another side-by-side, in a blind test, and couldn’t say that one was better, or even different, from the other.

Would love to hear from others on their experiences, and what they may notice as being the difference, and what aspect of making the drink they think might be attributing this effect.


Lawrence Spies 24 Aug 2009
10:37 am

Great Recipe Robert! Love the ancho chile powder addition! I like to use chipotle powder sometimes just to “kick it up a notch” for my ““chile head” friends. Sometimes I add one or two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and/or a tsp or so of the adobo sauce when making a big batch of Bloody Mary mix. The chipoltes add a great smokiness to the mix and a lot of spice/heat!  (puree the chiles and sauce in a blender with a little tomato juice and add as needed) all this to taste of course so experiment to find that perfect heat/spice combo…Also a little shot of Heinz Chili or Cocktail sauce can make a great addition to a Bloody Mary as well…experiment!

Lawrence Spies 24 Aug 2009
10:48 am

oh almost forgot to mention Tabasco Chipotle sauce or their Garlic Hot sauce is great to use as well!

Haiden Goodman 31 Dec 2010
11:15 pm

Mine is pretty unorthodox. I cook sliced potatoes in spicy-hot v8 for quite a while along with a couple of lime wedges, then strain that and let it chill. Afterwards I add the vodka. Cooking the potatoes in the v8 brings out a lot of the potato flavor. I’ve also had moderate success leaving the potatoes in and serving it hot as a soup. I’m still working on the right amount of vodka for that though. It’s delicious.

Jo-Jo the Barkeep 1 Jan 2011
8:25 pm

Shaking aerates the tomato juice giving it a lighter texture.  Some people want it lighter, although most people including myself want it fuller bodied.

My mix is asian inspired:
Wasabi, sriracha sauce, yuzu, sacramento tomato juice, celery salt, black pepper, worcestershire.

It’s so yummy, we called our cocktail “Bloody Wasabi.” I have it featured on our list at Ris ( with Ketel one and a cucumber garnish.

Haiden Goodman 2 Jan 2011
10:09 am

Wow. That sounds good.

Inspired Cocktail 22 Feb 2011
2:08 pm

Hi robert. I haven’t watches video just yet as I’m on my phone…but i was wondering whether you put lemon juice in you bloody Mary?

Inspired Cocktail 22 Feb 2011
2:11 pm

Wait nevermind, I missread the ingredient list

Demitri 28 Dec 2011
11:05 am

Hello Robert: I have a few new flavors for you to try, as well as two new rim salts and a “secret” new product I’m developing. Meet for a cold one or three?

Demitri 28 Dec 2011
11:23 am

PS: Congratulations on Imbibe naming you one of “The 25 Most Influential Cocktail Personalities of the Past Century”!

Federico Cuco 6 Nov 2012
7:24 pm


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