these best bloody marys are going to be your favorite addition to your weekend brunch line up! best bloody marys start with a perfect homemade bloody mary mix, which infuses tomato juice with tons of flavor from citrusy lemons & limes, tang from worcestershire, & punchy heat from hot sauce & fresh horseradish. invite your friends over for a casual saturday brunch & prepare diy build your own bloody mary bar for a fun way to let your guests build their own best bloody marys!
hey, hey, hey!
let’s chat about one of my all-time favorite topics: day drinking.
i feel like that sounds a lot worse when i say that out loud, but if you’re totally judging right now, hear me out:
to me, fondness for the idea of day drinking is truly fondness for that which underlies the actual drinking itself: casual weekend (or vacation) vibes socializing with friends & loved ones while adventuring around town & checking out new restaurants or hitting up tried & true favorite local bars.
there we go. that sounds MUCH better. weekends + friends + restaurants + adventures. are ya with me now?
i think my fondness for day drinking is deep-rooted in spending my coming of age years in milwaukee, wi. before chris & i moved to minneapolis a few years back, i lived in milwaukee for the better part of a decade (aka my entire adult life). my college hometown (go marquette!) & the place where i tried to figure out life as a post-grad twenty-something, milwaukee will always hold a very special place in my heart.
socializing over drinks is a HUGE part of the culture in milwaukee (it isn’t called brew city for nothin’, after all!). we regularly spent our weekends doing brewery tours (shout out to my fave, lakefront brewery!), grabbing happy hour tacos & margs (bel aire cantina, i miss you so…), walking along the beautiful riverfront in the third ward or sitting lakeside at the knick with their perfectly charred grilled wings, or gathering with a huge group of friends for a saturday brunch.
& in milwaukee, brunch is not complete without a bloody mary.
& we’re not talking your average vodka + tomato juice + a piddly plain old pickle garnish. no, sir. we’re talking the ultimate, best bloody marys. the kind of best bloody marys that can stand on their own as a meal. bloody marys that are garnished with cheese curds, beef sticks, or even an entire fried chicken.
the thing is, as fun as it is to go out, it’s so stinkin’ easy to ditch the wait time (& the expensive check!) at the best brunch spots & just make your own best bloody marys at home. better yet, invite a few of your favorite friends over for brunch & a build your own bloody mary bar.
3 essentials for the best bloody marys at home:
perfect bloody mary mix.
i’m not trying to brag on myself, but i’ve perfected the BEST recipe for bloody mary mix.
not lying. we often give it away as gifts in bloody mary care packages, & people RAVE about it.
it’s a standard tomato juice bloody mary mix (the stuff in the juice aisle of the grocery store is just fine), but the flavors get amped up with lots of citrusy lemon & lime, spicy hot sauce, savory worcestershire sauce, & punchy fresh horseradish.
& it’s your lucky day because i’m sharing my secret recipe with you! check it out below. you’re DEFINITELY going to want to pin this one for later. i suggest keeping a jar of bloody mary mix in your fridge at all times, because the longer it sits, the more the flavor develops.
you don’t need to go crazy on a super premium vodka here, because we’re mixing it with our super flavorful, best-ever bloody mary mix (see above), but you do want one that’s going to read drink pretty smooth. i personally love skaalvenn, which is local to the twin cities. ask your friends behind the counter at the liquor store what they would recommend in terms of a locally produced vodka.
if you want to change things up a bit & try something new, give aquavit a try. aquavit (pronounced ah-kwah-veet) is a super-trendy scandanavian spirit. the process of making aquavit is similar to making gin (aka vodka + spices), but rather than being juniper berry-forward like most dry gins, aquavit has more pronounced caraway & dill notes, making it the perfect base liquor for a bloody mary.
our favorite aquavit comes from another local minneapolis distillery, tattersall, but you should be able to find aquavit in the spirits section of any liquor store. give it a try!
tons of garnishes.
okay, so maybe an entire fried chicken is overkill (but kind of awesome overkill, #amirite?!), but the best bloody marys absolutely have more garnishes than the simple combination of lemon slice + lime slice + pickle.
the best part of a bloody mary (especially after a long night of fun) is absolutely the delicious garnishes that come with it. set out a variety of garnishes in different bowls & dishes with some cocktail picks, & let your guests build their favorite combination.
some of our go-tos are:
- beef sticks (yes.)
- smoked mozzarella sticks (adds such a great smoky flavor to the bloodys!…also delicious.)
- cheese curds (fresh if you can get your hands on them, fried if you’re a total gangster)
- celery sticks
- lemon & lime wedges
- celery salt & pepper to rim your glasses
- fun straws (not edible, but festive nonetheless)
& lastly…good company.
because good friends & good laughs make everything better, right?
- 12 C tomato juice (the stuff from the juice aisle at the grocery store is just fine!)
- juice of 4 lemons (about 1 C of fresh lemon juice)
- juice of 8 limes (about 1/2 C of fresh lime juice)
- 1/4 C worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 C hot sauce*
- 1/4 C fresh horseradish*
- 1.5 T celery salt
- 1.5 T kosher salt
- 1 T pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher & store in fridge until you're ready to serve. I'd recommend giving it time (a couple hours at least) to let the flavors meld. I'd also recommend just keeping a jar of bloody mary mix in your fridge at all times. It'll keep in the fridge, sealed, for 2 weeks.
- *this recipe will give you bloody marys that have a pretty good, but not crazy, level of spice. if you don't have a taste for spice, cut the hot sauce & horseradish in half. if you love the heat, add a little bit more hot sauce & horseradish, tasting as you go. (you can also throw in some chopped chipotles for some smoky heat...beyond delicious!)
- **to serve, combine bloody mary mix with 2 oz of vodka (or aquavit) & garnish as you please!
so tell me…what’s your favorite bloody mary garnish? where have you gotten your best bloody marys from? what would you put on your diy build your own bloody mary bar? let me know in the comments below…i’d LOVE to chat!
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