In my group of friends, everyone has an exact way they like their Bloody Mary. With a self-serve Bloody Mary Bar everyone can create their own version of their best ..and your friends will love you for it. I promise. We typically host a Sunday brunch party during Tulsa Tough ( the most amazing bicycle race ever that actually takes place In Tulsa. You will be able to read more about that soon in my Tulsa travel guide) But do take a peak at this video to get intrigued if you have never heard of it. 

Everyone brings a brunch item for everyone to share and we supply the bloody mary bar...which really can be a meal in itself. 

Love this old window frame I borrowed from a friend to display the bloody mary making steps for my party guests. 

Love this old window frame I borrowed from a friend to display the bloody mary making steps for my party guests. 

The way I see it, the Bloody Mary is about three things: good vodka, (all though my family prefers tequila) really good garnishes, and a great mix. 

I am a Tito's gal myself.... I love anything from Texas and it's great vodka!

Now, on to the garneshing, or “garden-ishing,” as I call this part. Bloody Mary purists would probably scoff at my anything-goes approach, but I think add-in’s are important, and I like a lot of salad bar blast in my glass.

Lemons, limes, and celery are a given, then I add in a three-deep toothpick of olives (stuffed with blue cheese or pimentos, or simply pitted, depending on my mood) and a pickle spear (something I learned in Minneapolis). In New Orleans, pickled beans and okra rule the day, and in Maryland, no Bloody is complete without a rim of Old Bay on the glass.

I’ve seen every vegetable under the sun added to a Bloody Mary–from beets to pearl onions to a muffaletta-style carrots-cauliflower-pepperoncini salad– cheese filled cherry tomatoes, so it’s always best to include a large but carefully curated selection of garnishes to suit any palate. For the final flourishes, think dashables like hot sauce (Tabasco, Texas Pete, Cholula, and Frank’s Red Hot are natural choices), Worcestershire, and even BBQ and steak sauces. Spices like celery salt and seasoned salts, garlic powder, and lots of black pepper add a finishing touch. And, if you really want to get crazy, include some protein in the mix. Boiled shrimp, steamed oysters, strips or crumbles of bacon, beef jerky, and pepperoni sticks all have a place on an eclectic Bloody Mary bar.

And finally, some thoughts on the mix.

When it comes to a party, the one in your glass should be assembled like the one in your event space, home, or tailgate: with thoughtful consideration to the right mix of ingredients. The right blend makes all the difference. McClure's and Mrs. T’s are beloved classics, as are V-8, Clamato, Stirrings, and straight-up tomato juice. But with so many boutique Bloody Mary mixes coming out of the South these days, it’s fun to test out some newcomers.  

Now maybe we should just host Bloody Mary party’s everyday!


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