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TIP OF THE DAY: Customize Bloody Mary Drinks With A Bloody Mary Bar

The Bloody Mary is one of the most popular drinks in America (some studies put it at the top of the list). No wonder innovative Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of The National in New York City decided to take the standard up a notch.

At The National, a “Bloody Mary specialist” wheels the “Bloody Mary cart” tableside, to create guests’ dream Bloody Mary drinks. With or without a cart, you can do something similar at home for a memorable Bloody Mary experience. Just follow these steps:

1. Mix Up A Batch Of Basic Bloody Mary
Start with a basic pitcher of Bloody Mary. You can also have a second pitcher of Bloody Maria, substituting tequila for the vodka. Using a chipotle-flavored hot sauce turns a Bloody Maria into a Chipotle Maria.

  • Mary. Here’s the classic Bloody Mary recipe, as well as the original recipe. While the original didn’t use prepared horseradish, the classic does. We love horseradish, but some guests might not like the heat and spice. So, add a bit to the basic and enable guests to add more in Part 2, below. (We love loading our drink with horseradish.)
  • Ice. While your pitcher should be sitting in ice to keep the base chilled, some people like ice in their drinks.


    Custom garnishing makes this the best
    Bloody Mary. Photo courtesy


    2. Customize Your Seasonings
    You can add any or all of the following seasonings:

  • Worcestershire Sauce. While Worcestershire sauce is part of your basic mix, a substantial number of people (like us) prefer a Bloody Mary with extra Worcestershire sauce. With all due respect to Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, a venerable brand, the American version is made with high fructose corn syrup. If you don’t want HFCS, look for a substitute at your natural foods store or try online.
  • Beer. Adding beer turns a Bloody Mary into a Michelada.
  • Beef Bouillon. This turns a Bloody Mary into a Bloody Bull. Maggi Seasoning Sauce, a concentrated bouillon liquid, turns a Bloody Mary into a Michelada Clementina or “Chelada.”
  • Clam Juice. This turns a Bloody Mary into a Bloody Mariner.
  • Hot Sauce. Use Tabasco, sriracha (an Asian hot sauce), your favorite or ours (our favorite hot sauce is Big Papi En Fuego).
  • More Heat. Prepared horseradish, fresh or dried jalapeño or habanero, cracked black pepper and/or cayenne pepper.
  • Celery Salt. We love the flavor it imparts to a Bloody Mary.
    While the classic Bloody Mary drink contains some hot sauce and pepper, there are many who like it extra-hot and spicy.
    3. Choose Your Garnishes
    Dress up the drink with any or all of the these garnishes—speared onto a cocktail pick, added to the rim of the glass, set onto a service plate or inserted into the drink itself, as appropriate:

  • Bagel chip
  • Bacon or candied bacon strip (speared)
  • Blue cheese wedge
  • Celery or fennel stalk
  • Gherkins, dill pickle spears or pickle chips
  • Jerky (speared)
  • Lemon or lime wedge
  • Olives
  • Pearl onions
  • Peppadews
  • Pepperoncini
    The National serves Bloody Marys in a 14-ounce iced tea glass. You can use a classic 11-ounce collins glass.

    If you have a rolling cart, now you have another use for it. Of course, you can use your bar, a buffet or a table.

    If you’ve always wanted a rolling cart from which to serve tea, coffee or cocktails, you can get one from about $50.00.

    The history of the Bloody Mary.

    Bloody Mary recipes.

    More of our favorite cocktail recipes.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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