A bloody mary is the ultimate brunch cocktail, and this ultimate bloody mary recipe breaks it all down so you can serve up this award winning version at home.

Bloody mary with shrimp, bacon, and celery in a female's hand.

Spicy, tart, smooth, and delicious, this 5-star bloody mary recipe is the only one you’ll ever need. 

This recipe breaks down all the ingredients so you can mix up the best bloody mary in no time. And, because this cocktail can be premade, you can mix once and sip all day.

About this recipe

Making a bloody mary is really simple, but balancing the right combination of ingredients can be tricky. This best spicy recipe shows you how to combine the perfect ratio of each ingredient so you can enjoy the best bloody mary every time. 

Two glasses of bloody marys on ice with toppings.

Brunch and a bloody mary bar go together like, well, brunch and a bloody mary, so don’t be afraid to make a show of your beautiful cocktail!

An easy way to entertain with a bloody mary brunch and bar is to mix up a pitcher of bloody mary mix and leave the vodka on the side along with extra hot sauce and allllll the garnishes. That way people can add their own vodka or enjoy a virgin mocktail, and everyone can season and garnish their drink just the way they like. You could also add a bottle of tequila for bloody marias!

If you set up a brunch bar (perhaps with a pancake board or a bacon jalapeno sheet pan pancake) with your bloody mary bar, you’ll be free to mingle and eat and everyone can select their favorite snacks and cocktail combinations. That’s definitely a win-win party plan!

Overhead view of tomato-based drinks with celery, lemon wheels, shrimp, and bacon.

What you need

  • Tomato Juice: Any brand will work, really. Campbell’s, Welch’s, R.W Knudsen, V8, etc.
  • Vodka: Since it’s getting mixed with a number of things, it doesn’t have to be top top shelf, but pick a good mid-range vodka. Pinnacle (pictured) and Tito’s are good choices.
  • Pickle Brine or Pickled Okra Brine: The pickled flavor is a key competent of a bloody mary and you can use the pickles or pickled okra as garnishes.
  • Hot Sauce: Use as little or as much as you like to make it as spicy or as mild as you like. This recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, which will be a fairly mild bloody mary. If you set up a bar with toppings, you may wish to leave out the hot sauce so people can add more if they’d like.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This adds depth and richness to the flavor.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice balances out the flavors and adds needed brightness.
  • Spices & Seasonings: This recipe uses onion powder, garlic powder, old bay seasoning (or celery seasoning, if you’d prefer), smoked paprika (use sweet paprika if you don’t want the smoky flavor), and black pepper.
  • Garnishes: Always the most fun part if you ask me. Keep it simple, or go crazy! Some ideas are cocktail shrimp, bacon, pickled okra or mini pickles, celery sticks, and lemon slices.
Overhead view of ingredients, tomato juice, vodka, shrimp, bacon, celery, spices, and more.

How to make it

Pour the tomato juice, vodka, okra brine, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, sliced lemon, onion powder, garlic powder, old bay seasoning, smoked paprika, and black pepper into a large pitcher. Stir to combine.

Vodka being poured into a pitcher of tomato juice.

Pour over ice and serve with your favorite garnishes.

Tomato juice based bloody mary being poured over ice.

How to make these cocktails your own

  • If you do not like old bay seasoning you can easily substitute celery seed.
  • It’s easy to make a non-alcoholic version, or to serve the vodka on the side. Simply mix everything else in the pitcher and leave the vodka nearby. To make a bloody mary, add your vodka to your glass, pour the bloody mary mix over your vodka, and stir. 
  • You can make your bloody mary as spicy or mild as you prefer! If you’re hosting a party, consider making one pitcher spicy and one mild, and serve up your garnishes on the side.
Pitcher of tomato based beverage.

Make Ahead Ideas

You can store a premade pitcher of bloody mary in the fridge for up to a week! Great for parties and other times when you want to mix your drinks ahead of time. 

Storage Suggestions

Make sure to store without ice!

Close up of loaded bloody mary drink.

More breakfast and brunch drink recipes

Hand holding a bloody mary cocktail with bacon, shrimp, okra, and celery.

Get the Recipe: Ultimate Bloody Mary

A bloody mary is the ultimate brunch cocktail, and this ultimate bloody mary recipe breaks it all down so you can serve up this award winning version at home.
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 4 cup tomato juice
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons pickled okra brine or pickle brine
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning or celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Cocktail shrimp, crispy thick-cut bacon, pickled okra, celery sticks, and lemon wheels for garnishing

Instructions

  • Pour the tomato juice, vodka, okra brine, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, sliced lemon, onion powder, garlic powder, old bay seasoning, smoked paprika, and black pepper into a large pitcher. Stir to combine.
  • Pour over ice and serve with your favorite garnishes.

Notes

  • Nutrition information does not include garnishes.
  • If you do not like old bay seasoning, substitute celery seed.
  • You can also serve this nonalcoholic, or vodka on the side. Simple mix everything the same way in the pitcher except leave the vodka out. You can have the bottle of vodka on the side so everyone can add the amount they prefer to their glass, then pour the bloody Mary mix on top. Stir to combine.
Calories: 200kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 189mg, Potassium: 646mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1363IU, Vitamin C: 61mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 2mg