Bloody Mary Bars are as much about the garnishes as they are the bloody marys themselves. Today, we're not only going to cover fun and exciting ways to slam out the ultimate bloody mary bar for your guests, but we'll also be serving up some hosting tips that keep you sane come party time!
Whether you want to keep it simple or go entirely over the top, we are about to share everything you need to serve up an eye-catching and exciting Bloody Mary Bar spread! But first, be sure you're equipped with the best Bloody Mary recipe, and consider adding our Mexican Shrimp Cocktail to your party menu as well!
DISPLAYING YOUR BLOODY MARY BAR
Your Bloody Mary bar can be as over the top or simple as you want it to be.
If you don't have a designated bar area in your home, you can create a station by using a large board or serving dish as you would typically use for a charcuterie board.
For a fancier feel, serve store-bought bloody mary mix or tomato juice from a large pitcher.
You may also find larger mason jars particularly handy for housing tall items like celery and strips of bacon. Smaller jars are great for holding items like pickled green beans and pepperoncini, and small bowls also work great to house small items like shrimp, olives, horseradish, and such
WHAT YOU'LL NEED FOR A DIY BLOODY MARY BAR
To really take your Bloody Mary Bar to the next level you need 2 things: High-quality Bloody Marys and epic add-ins and garnishes. Fortunately, we've got you covered on both fronts!
MUST-HAVE BLOODY MARY BASICS
Bloody Mary Mix | Using a store-bought bloody mary mix (like Zing Zang or Mr. & Mrs. T's) is a super easy way to save time and money. The mixes come equipped with spices like celery salt, lemon pepper, and garlic powder that plain tomato juice won't have and there's no need for you to go to the trouble of measuring them out yourself.
Vodka | Feel free to use regular vodka or pepper flavored, if you prefer a little more spice, but the main thing is to go for a smooth, high quality choice.
Worcestershire sauce | This one is essential for those complex and savory flavors we all want. The mistake most people make is not adding enough of it!
Lemon and lime wedges | Fresh citrus juice balances out the more savory flavors with brighter, fresher notes.
Hot sauce | Just go for your personal favorite hot sauce. The whole purpose is to add some heat!
Pepper | A pinch is all it takes to finish off the perfectly balanced flavors of this classic cocktail.
BLOODY MARY BAR EXTRAS
Olives | The perfect way to add a bit of a briny touch.
Celery | This one is such a classic, it's a must-have in your lineup and the perfect way to add some crunch!
Tequila | Bloody Marias, anyone? If your peeps aren't vodka fans, a little tequila on the side might be just the ticket!
Tomato Juice | While I highly recommend using a pre-spiced Bloody Mary mix over straight tomato juice, this ingredient certainly wouldn't be out of place on a Bloody Mary Bar.
Prepared Horseradish | Prepared horseradish is made with grated horseradish root, vinegar, and salt. It is perfect for adding both a bit of a vinegary zing to your Bloody Mary's, as well as a touch of heat.
Creole Seasoning | For those who like it hot, an extra pinch of Tony C's or Cajun seasoning does the trick.
Pickle Spears | If you are not yet aware, pickle spears soaked in Bloody Mary juice are the most delicious! This is a popular and delicious addition to Bloody Mary Bars.
Pickled Okra | Looking to keep your Bloody Mary Bar extra Southern? Pickled okra it is.
Pickled Green Beans | Keeping along the lines of things both delicious and Southern, pickled green beans also make for a yummy addition!
Pepperoncinis | These semi-spicy peppers add color and zing to your Bloody Mary Bar.
Bacon | Cause who doesn't want a little protein with their cocktails? Roast some bacon in the oven, serve it as a garnish, and watch the crowd go wild.
Shrimp | Now we're really pulling out the big guns. Grab yourself a package of cooked shrimp from the seafood aisle and serve it up as a show-stopping garnish at your bloody mary bar.
WRITE IT OUT FOR A CROWD
Unless you just adore playing bartender, I recommend you have some basic Bloody Mary-making instructions written out for your friends. Since not everyone knows their way around cocktails at home, this little hosting trick is especially handy if you've got a crowd on your hands.
I often display instructions like this on a handwritten note, enclosed in a cute, 4x6" frame next to the drink/cocktail area.
Your Bloody Mary recipe instructions could read a little something like this:
Fill your glass with ice, add 1-2 ounces of vodka, 3 big dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 1 good dash of hot sauce, add a squeeze of lemon and lime, fill your glass (almost to the top) with Bloody Mary mix, stir to combine, and garnish away!"
Once your guests have a general idea as to what those Bloody Mary key ingredients are, they can let loose with additional add-ins like olive juice, horseradish, celery salt, and garnishes.
PREP SEASONED RIMS IN ADVANCE
Fact: Your guests will likely (unintentionally) make a mess trying to add a salt or spice rim to their cocktail glasses, so if you'd like to provide a spruced-up rim as an option, I suggest you do that part yourself in advance.
For Bloody Marys, you could do either Kosher salt or Cajun seasoning on the rim; both are absolutely delicious.
To add a seasoned rim, add about ⅓ cup Kosher salt to a small plate or a few tablespoons of Cajun seasoning if preferred. Then, run a lime wedge along the rim of your glass to moisten it, swirl it around on the plate, and gently press the seasoning onto the edge of the glass.
Pat away any excess and your rims are officially perfectly seasoned!
6 MORE COCKTAILS YOU’LL LOVE
Easy Vodka Mojito - Quick and Refreshing!
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Colorado Bulldog | Easy Cocktail Recipe
Spiked Apple Cider
Setting up a Bloody Mary Bar is a super easy way to make cocktails a fun, interactive, and tasty experience for your guests!
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of vodka
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle Worcestershire sauce
- 1 (5 ounce) bottle of hot sauce
- 4 lemons, cut into wedges
- 4 limes, cut into wedges
- Coarse ground black pepepr
- 1 (50-ounce) bottle of Zing Zang or Mr. & Mrs. T's Bloody Mary Mix
- Pimento stuffed olives
- Stalks of celery
- Prepared horseradish
- Creole seasoning
- Pickle spears
- Pickled okra
- Pickled green beans
- Cooked strips of bacon
- Cooked shrimp
Serve the bloody mix from a large pitcher, if desired. Place small garnishes like olives or pepperoncinis in small bowls. For taller items like pickles, bacon strips, and celery, use small pitchers or mason jars.
Group the bloody mary ingredients together on a board or platter, if desired. Surround the ingredients with desired garnishes and set out drinking glasses, ice, measuring tools (like a jigger or a small, glass measuring pitcher), and straws nearby.
Fill your glass with ice and add 1-2 ounces of vodka, 3 big dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 1 dash of hot sauce, a squeeze of lemon, a squeeze of lime, and a pinch of black pepper.
Fill the glass almost to the top with bloody mary mix (saving room for garnishes), stir, and garnish!