It’s an eye-opener, it’s a hangover cure, it’s a nutritious breakfast: What can’t the Bloody Mary do? The versatile cocktail, which you can now find on practically every brunch menu across the globe, was supposedly invented at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris during the 1920s. But its history is far from settled, and there are many different takes on the classic spirit-and-tomato-juice combination.
But no matter when, where or by whom it was invented, the Bloody Mary is a superb cocktail, and it keeps evolving. Though most recipes start with vodka and tomato juice, there are endless variations on the traditional formula, and trying new and different iterations is rewarding.
Whether you like your Mary with vodka, gin or even bourbon, and whether you prefer it spicy or herbaceous, check out these dozen recipes. Then get creative the next time your weekend plans call for a Bloody Mary. You just may find your new go-to brunch beverage.
Looks delicious, eh? This unique concoction is actually Canada’s national cocktail. While it calls for the standard vodka, hot sauce and celery stalk, what sets it apart is its four ounces of Clamato, a mix of clam juice and tomato. The unusual ingredient creates a savory drink that is surprisingly quaffable.
There aren’t many people in this world who could convince us to add a raw oyster to a cocktail. But we trust celebrity chef Chris Cosentino. His Bloody Roman, which features Anchor Steam beer, olives and briny bivalves, is a concoction you need to try at least once. And probably twice.
This drink proves that vodka isn’t the only clear spirit that works in a Bloody Mary: This one’s made with gin. The recipe calls for British London dry brand Bulldog, plus a clove of garlic, balsamic vinegar and all the other quintessential Mary mixers.
The secret to this cocktail from San Francisco bartender H. Joseph Ehrmann (he says it’s the world’s best Bloody Mary) is Old Bay Seasoning. But that’s not the only trick up Ehrmann’s sleeve; the recipe also boasts a delicious combination of olive and pickle brines. And to top it off, there’s a garnish of a bacon strip and a dill pickle spear. You can even watch Ehrmann make his beloved Bloody Mary.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
Beef broth in a cocktail? Yes, that is indeed what is happening here. The classic Bloody Mary gets the beef bouillon treatment, which results in a meaty, savory note that courses through the drink. Traditional accompaniments like lemon, Worcestershire and hot sauce complement the vodka and tomato juice and tie the room together. Mix one of these whenever you want a richer, beefier Bloody Mary.
It’s easy to call the Red Snapper “just a Bloody Mary with gin," and you wouldn't be wrong. But while the vodka-spiked version defers to the tomato juice and flavorful accessories, the gin stands tall in a Red Snapper, providing a sturdy backbone that shines through the cocktail’s other components. So if you like gin and really want to taste the booze in your brunch cocktail, this one’s for you.
In this vodka-fueled recipe from bar pro Casey Elsass, the clear spirit gets thrown into the blender with lemon and carrot juices, a chopped shallot, horseradish, black pepper, caraway seeds and celery salt, rendering a vegetal and gently spicy version of the classic brunch cocktail.
The Michelada is Mexico’s answer to the Bloody Mary. Beer is usually the sole source of alcohol in this drink, but Tijuana Picnic's take amps up the booziness with a splash of mezcal, which also adds subtle smoke and agave notes to the blend of spicy and savory sauces, lime juice, agave nectar and Mexican lager beer.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
As its name implies, this, too, is a carrot-juice-based Bloody variation, created at now-closed Brooklyn bar Extra Fancy. It joins vodka or aquavit, lemon juice, caper brine, vinegar-based hot sauce and honey syrup, rendering a sweet-savory brunch favorite.
Taking the Bloody Mary closer to Dirty Martini range is this cocktail from NYC bar pro Nick Mautone. In this drink, Kirby cucumber slices get muddled with citron vodka, dry vermouth and Tabasco sauce before being shaken up and topped with tomato juice.
Similar to a Red Snapper but with the novel additions of cucumber juice, ginger-lemon bitters and ginger beer, this cocktail, created at NYC's now-shuttered Fedora, is a less-spicy and even more refreshing version of the gin-and-tomato juice classic.
Give vodka the boot and take a southern detour with this flavorful tequila version. It’s laced with two brands of hot sauce and a hefty dose of horseradish. Garnish with a cucumber spear, hot peppers and a chunk of queso fresco, and you’ll have quick access to snacks, too.