How to Set Up a Bloody Mary Bar
Everything you’ll need to create a Bloody Mary Bar including a full shopping list and set-up ideas for your bar.
If you have my latest book, The Southern Entertainer’s Cookbook, then you know I love a good Bloody Mary Bar! Mine graces the front cover!
If you have my latest book, The Southern Entertainer’s Cookbook, then you know I love a good Bloody Mary Bar! Mine graces the front cover! Thank you to Kyle Dreier, the amazing photographer for this book.
Hosting a brunch or breakfast celebration and want to include a Bloody Mary Bar? You’ve come to the right place. At least here in the South, Bloody Marys are a way of life! My Mom constantly talks about the elaborate Bloody Mary bars at parties she attended in Charleston, SC.
Bloody Marys are festive, delicious and everyone can garnish their bloody mary as they please! That’s one of the reasons I love serving them “Build Your Own Bloody Mary” style!
What is a Bloody Mary?
First things first, what is a bloody mary exactly? A Bloody Mary is a brunch cocktail made with tomato juice, vodka, and a variety of flavorings and spices such as Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, hot sauce, pepper, etc.
Bloody Marys are often garnished in very creative ways, think full celery stalks, shrimp, bacon and on and on… The sky is the limit when it comes to garnishing a Bloody Mary!
Why is it called a Bloody Mary?
While there are several claims to fame for mixing up the very first Bloody Mary, though most claimed by bartender Fernand Petiot in 1934. It supposedly carries the name Bloody Mary after Queen Mary Tudor during reign in England in the 16th century. She was known as Bloody Mary. You’ll find a few other stories floating around as there are lots of myths out there!
What You’ll Need for a Bloody Mary Bar:
Find my homemade classic bloody mary recipe in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. Here’s a quick guide of all the ingredients and garnishes you’ll need for a your own bloody mary bar.
*You certainly don’t have to have all of these items, it’s just a good overview of ingredients for the bloody mary mix, serving pieces and garnishes you might want to consider!
If you’re hosting a full-on brunch, then serve some brunch faves alongside your cocktails like deviled eggs, biscuits, quiche, chicken and waffle bites, fresh fruit, mini egg sandwiches, muffins, etc.
Tips for Creating a Bloody Mary Bar
MAKE YOUR MIX IN ADVANCE:
First things first, your homemade Bloody Mary mix! The queen of the show, in my opinion. I suggest making it a day in advance and storing in the refrigerator. I think it even allows the flavors to marinate together a bit more too.
STYLING YOUR BLOODY MARY BAR:
When it comes time to prep your bar…
- Start out with a large serving tray to corral all the garnishes.
- Add a large pitcher of your homemade bloody mary mix and vodka (serve this separately in case some guests want a virgin bloody mary). Include a jigger so they can measure their vodka.
- Fill small bowl, small plates and serving dishes with all the garnishes so your guests can pick and choose to make their ultimate bloody mary!
- Be sure to have ice on hand! No one wants a warm bloody mary.
- Add lots of toothpicks and skewers in different sizes so garnishes can be skewered on and added to glasses. PRO TIP: Long skewers also serve as great drink stirrers.
- Line up bloody mary glasses (highball glasses or mason jars work well) so guests can grab one and get mixing!
- Include cocktail napkins as guests will appreciate them with all that garnishing!
Add decorative touches to fancy up your bloody mary bar and make it special. I added a bouquet of flowers and floral touches around your tray. It’s all in the details!
Now it’s time to relax, pour yourself a bloody mary and enjoy! Your Bloody Mary Bar is open! It’s the perfect addition to any brunch celebration or game day party.
One little tip! If you aren’t a vodka lover, then make what is known as a Bloody Maria, the same recipe as the Bloody Mary but it uses tequila instead of vodka!
Bloody Mary Bar
For the Bloody Mary
- 5 cups tomato juice
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 cup beef broth – or beef bouillon
- 1 cup vodka
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
For Glass Rim
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1/4 cup Old Bay Seasoning
- 2 tbsp sea salt
Bloody Mary Garnishes
- celery stalks
- jalapenos – pickled or fresh
- boiled shrimp
- cherry tomatoes
- cocktail onions
- lemon and lime slices
- banana peppers
- fresh herbs – dill - parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme
- olives – green olives or any variety
- cheese cubes
- In a blender, combine tomato juice, lemon juice, lime juice, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder and horseradish. Blend until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until chilled and ready to prep your bloody mary bar.
- To rim glasses, combine Old Bay seasoning and sea salt in a shallow plate. Pour lime juice into a separate shallow plate (or use a lime wedge around the rim of each glass). Dip each glass into lime juice and then into the seasoning to rim glass.
- Fill each glass full with ice and add 1 ounce of vodka. Next, pour the Bloody Mary mix on top until glass is full. Go wild garnishing your bloody mary!
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Beautiful, I would enjoy Mott’s Clamato Juice! minus the tomato juice.. (then it would be perfect!)