The Best Bloody Mary
What makes a great Bloody Mary?
To make a great Bloody Mary start with a homemade mix. I use tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, celery seeds, celery salt, salt and pepper, and plenty of Sriracha to get a lot of flavor and texture. I use Ina Garten's technique of pureeing lots of celery and a little bit of onion in a food processor before I add tomato juice and the seasonings. The pureed celery and onions add great texture. I add some Spanish paprika to give the mix a little smoky goodness. Don't omit the Spanish paprika; it makes a big difference.
After that, it is all about the garnish
If the garnish is good, I am almost happy to eat the garnish and skip the Bloody Mary. Of course you need a big crunchy stick of celery, but I add blue-cheese stuffed olives, caperberries, a slice of chorizo and a miniature pickle. This Bloody Mary really is a cocktail and appetizer in a glass.
If you like a salty rim, use celery salt or a mix of celery and margarita salt.
Make mix a day in advance
The mix gets better with time. Make the mix a day ahead so the flavors have a chance to meld.
I let guests add their own vodka so they can customize their drink. A standard bar pour would be 1/4 cup vodka per drink. I provide extra horseradish, Worcestershire and Sriracha for those that like more spice.
The best Bloody Mary
Yield 6 cocktails
These handcrafted Bloody Marys have great texture and flavor. Generously garnished, they are practically a meal in themselves.
- 9 large celery stalks, including leaves, divided
- 1 T grated onion
- 32-ounces tomato juice
- 1 T prepared horseradish
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 1/2 t sriracha or other hot sauce
- 1 1/2 t celery salt, plus more for rims
- 1 t celery seeds
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- 1 t Spanish paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 lime, cut in 8 wedges - for garnish
- 6 caperberries - for garnish
- 6 green olives stuffed with blue cheese - for garnish
- 6 miniature pickles - for garnish
- 6 slices chorizo - for garnish
- 1 1/2 cups of vodka, varies according to preference
- Clean celery, retaining the leaves. I peel the outside of the celery with a vegetable peeler. Chop 3 of the larger stalks into 2" pieces and reserve the remaining 6 stalks for garnish. Put celery pieces and grated onion in a food processor or blender and puree until very fine. Add tomato juice, horseradish, lemon juice, sriracha and seasonings and pulse to mix. Pour into a pitcher, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to serve, salt 6 glasses by running a lime wedge around the rim and turning the glass upside down in a plate of celery salt to coat the rim. Fill the glasses with ice and divide the mix between the 6 glasses. Add 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of vodka to each glass and stir.
- String one olive, one caperberry, one slice of chorizo, and one miniature pickle each on to 6 long toothpicks. Garnish each Bloody Mary with one stalk of celery, one garnished toothpick and a wedge of lime.
- Note: This recipe is best when chilled overnight.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH