A Bloody Mary is three things: firstly, a sophisticated drink available at any respectable New York bar for those with a palate. Second, a very customizable drink that any sports bar will love to adorn to excess with burgers, shrimp, and bacon. And third, a hearty breakfast for the hungover social drinker. But what is the best vodka for Bloody Mary mixes? We’ve looked into the best cocktail combinations for this versatile drink and you’ll be sure to find something that works for you.

A delicious, yes simple mixed cocktail
The Bloody Mary can be a relaxing or exciting mixer, depending on the surroundings. Source: Liquor
"To make a pitcher of Bloody Marys (any smaller amount is worthless) take a good sized pitcher and put in it as big a lump of ice as it will hold. (This to prevent too rapid melting and watering of our product.) Mix a pint of good Russian vodka and an equal amount of chilled tomato juice.." - Ernest Hemingway

The Basics

What's better than a drink? Food that comes with the drink!
Shrimp cocktails that you can drink. Source: Open Table

Knowing the breakdown of the Bloody Mary is essential in creating the right blend. Start with vodka, although some have been known to mix gin or rum instead. Next is tomato juice, some prefer their Bloody Mary recipe V8-style, however some think the canned drink is too salty and throws off the flavor balance.

Next is the ice. Ice is a core ingredient because the Bloody Mary is meant to be drunk cold and continuously watered down. This is especially true for readers who enjoy a spicy Bloody Mary. Traditionally this is topped with a celery stick. Here’s a basic breakdown of what to add to your perfect Bloody Mary recipe:

  1. Juices
    • Tomato juice
    • Vegetable juice
    • V8
    • Clamato
    • Lemon and lime
  2. Garnishes
    • Olives
    • Celery
    • Pickle
    • Bacon
    • Carrots
    • Asparagus
    • Cauliflower
  3. Spices
    • Hot sauce
    • Paprika
    • Cracked pepper
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Horseradish
    • Worcestershire sauce
  4. Optional Rimmers
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Cayenne
    • Celery seeds
    • Wasabi (for the daring)
  5. Exotic Additions
    • Sliders
    • Pizza
    • BBQ
    • Shrimp
    • Lobster
    • Grilled cheese
    • Actual, whole cheeseburgers
It's not just a drink, it's also dinner
Dinner and a show! Source: Travel and Leisure

The Vodka

Equally important in knowing how to make the cocktail is knowing which vodka to use. Now usually this is simply a matter of personal preference, but if you want to impress your guests you’re going to want to know which vodkas work best for what mixes. For example, any simple Bloody Mary recipe can benefit from Russian vodka, while a spicy Bloody Mary recipe could be a candidate for seasoned vodkas. These new additions to your bar will be a perfect hit with company.

Russian Standard

Russian standard vodka actually is a standard
You can never go wrong with Russian vodka. Source: Reserve Bar

Russia takes its vodka game pretty seriously, and you can’t beat the value of the Russian Standard. Don’t let the lettering fool you, it’s a solid vodka and an all-around great product, especially for the price. And it’s not just a great Bloody Mary mix, it goes well with all chasers and all occasions.


Bacon infused vodka? What's not to love?
Add a little spice for your drink or some toast for your breakfast. Source: Applejack

For the bacon lovers out there, why not a bacon-infused vodka for those morning after drinks? Works especially well when topped with actual bacon, because nothing says classy like breakfast with your morning drink. Either way, Bakon makes for the perfect perfect Bloody Mary recipe. Goes great with eggs.

Grey Goose

For the best in smooth taste and style
The Goose is always a staple in the vodka world. Source: The Whiskey Exchange

The ultimate in distilled perfection, you honestly can’t go wrong with Grey Goose. Arguably one of the smoothest alcohols available on the market, if you’ve never had it you’ll be shocked at just how easily it goes down. Thus its only flaw if you’re going for a more spicy Bloody Mary recipe. You can lose the incredible smoothness in the harsh spicy flavor. But that’s okay with most vodka enthusiasts.


Another top shelf brand that won't break the bank.
Good vodka comes in many forms. Source: Reserve Bar

Possibly (and arguably) the Polish equivalent to the Russian Standard, Belvedere has a crisp, smooth flavor that blends perfectly with all the Bloody Mary ingredients. Salt, tomato juice, and celery just seem to complement the gentle notes found in Belvedere vodka. While it may be a little pricey, it’s still more reasonable than Grey Goose and just as good in a Bloody Mary.

Any bartender tips or tricks you’d like to share? What’s your favorite vodka for mixing Bloody Marys? Let us know in the comments below!

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