Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar (with Ideas, Ingredients, and Garnishes)

One of my favorite warm weather weekend treats is sitting on the back deck with a Bloody Mary, chocked full of goodies, with every garnish you can think of. It’s become a tradition for Dave and I to keep staples on hand during the summer months so we can whip some up on any given Saturday, but as we all start to barbecue more with friends, setting up a Bloody Mary bar can be the perfect, easy addition to entertain your guests. There’s a reason why “Build Your Own Bloody Mary” bars are becoming more popular at favorite brunch spots – people like to customize their beverages. Whether you are planning for a Memorial Day cookout, a Kentucky Derby party, or are hosting a simple brunch, I’m sharing all the key ideas, ingredients, and garnishes you need to build your own Bloody Mary bar in your own home. Plus, stick around for my favorite, tried and true spicy Bloody Mary recipe 😉

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Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar with Ingredients

HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN BLOODY MARY BAR

Step 1: Decide On Your Bloody Mary Bar Location

Bloody Mary bars require more than a chiller and some cute cocktail glasses. You need some space. Take inventory of areas near/in the kitchen that are convenient, but out of the way – do you have space to set a table in the living room? Dining room? You are going to have a lot of ingredients, garnishes, and condiments so you will need ample room to accommodate them all. It’s also ideal to get guests out of the kitchen and mingling away from where you are prepping the food/main course.

Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar Setup in the Dining Room

Step 2: Pick Your Bloody Mary Mix (and Vodka)

A good Bloody Mary mix is key – it’s even more important than the vodka. My absolute favorite is Zing Zang; it’s really hearty and already has a lot of spices so if you come up short on your ingredients, no need to panic. I always want my Bloody Marys flavorful – almost like a meal in a glass – and always get nervous when someone whips out plain tomato juice. If you have some folks (or a large enough crowd), you can get a few different mixes – some mild and some a little spicier – and label them as such. These carafes work perfectly.

Bloody Mary Bar with Bloody mary Mixes in Carafes

Step 3: Determine Your Bloody Mary Bar Garnishes and Condiments

When it comes to garnishes, I like all things pickled. Okra, baby gherkins, baby corn, and spicy beans are a good start. You don’t have to provide a full meal on the side of a glass like we’ve probably all seen in those viral Facebook photos but for the most part, anything goes. Get creative.

Bloody Mary Bar Items and Garnishes for DIY Bloody Mary Bar

Bloody Mary Garnish Ideas

  • Olives (you can find several with different “stuffing”)
  • Baby Corn
  • Celery
  • Pickled Beans
  • Pickled Okra
  • Pickled Asparagus
  • Lemon/Lime
  • Bacon
  • Cocktail Shrimp
  • Pickles (cocktail sized or slices)
  • Snack-sized Peppers
  • Pearl Onions
  • Variety of Hot Sauces

Bloody Mary Ingredients for a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar

While you can get creative with the garnishes, you can also get creative with the hot sauces. My favorite go-to hot sauce for everything is Frank’s, but we also keep a variety on hand (like this multi-pack of Sharkbite sauce. A little mini creamer filled with worcestershire sauce and a small bowl with horseradish round out this little spicy tray.

Bloody Mary Bar Ideas and Hot Sauce

Bloody Mary Bar Condiments for a DIY Bloody Mary Bar

Step 4: Round Up Your Entertaining Supplies and Build Your Bloody Mary Bar

You know all those platters, bowls, trays and pitchers shoved in the back of your cabinet? Now’s the time to let them shine! Bring them out and position them around your DIY Bloody Mary Bar.

Bloody Mary Bar Items and Garnish Ideas for a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar

When you’re creating a food/beverage display for guests, think about what you can remove from its original container to create a presentation. While I wanted to keep the hot sauce in each bottle, if you are super ambitious, you can create your own label for a cohesive look (I obviously was not this ambitious).

Lime Garnish for Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar

*TIP: Be sure to keep your empty jars so you can replenish with unused ingredients (unless a good bit of time has passed in which case it would be best to toss). With so many garnishes, it’s a good idea to label items in your display, also.

To make sure you have everything you need for guests, do a “dry run” and make your own Bloody. Not only do you need picks, forks, spoons, and measuring implements, but you also need something to place them on to protect your surface.

Bloody Mary Bar Items and Garnishes

THE BEST BLOODY MARY RECIPE

Bloody Mary Ingredients

  • Ice
  • Vodka
  • Bloody Mary Mix (I prefer Zing Zang)
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Horseradish
  • Hot Sauce (I prefer Frank’s)
  • Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garnish (of your choice)

Instructions

  1. Fill your glass with ice
  2. Pour vodka (I usually fill to 1/3 to 1/2 of the glass)
  3. Add Bloody Mary mix (leave at least two fingers from the top of the glass)
  4. Add a dash of worcestershire sauce
  5. Add approx 1/8 tsp. horseradish
  6. Add a few shakes of hot sauce
  7. Squeeze a lime wedge and then toss the wedge in the glass
  8. Add a dash of salt and pepper
  9. Shake and stir until well mixed
  10. Add garnishes

Best Spicy Bloody Mary Recipe with Zing Zang

Have other garnish favorites? A Bloody Mary mix you swear by? Let me know in the comment section below!

Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar with Best Bloody mary Recipe

If you liked this post, here are a few more you may be interested in:

Chairs – Linen | 12-Light Chandelier | Tapered (Brass) Candle Sticks | Pillar (Brass) Candle Holders | Mercury Glass Candle Holders | Mirror: Homegoods – (SIMILAR) | Dining Table:  (84″ in Salvaged Brown) | Buffet: (72″ in Distressed White) | Curtain Panels: (98″ in White) | Gold Bar Cart | Rug: HomeGoods- Calvin Klein | Lamps: HomeGoods – (SIMILAR) | Silver Tea Service: Family Heirloom – (SIMILAR) | Cream Table Runners | Paint: Lauren’s Surprise by Sherwin Williams | Flooring: Nottaway Hickory in Weathered Saddle

How to Build a Bloody Mary Bar- with the best bloody mary recipe

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18 Comments

  1. 5.1.16
    David Lopez said:

    This bar turned out fantastic! Looks like a future great time with good friends.

  2. 5.4.16
    Tana said:

    I know I personally text you, but… this Bloody Mary Bar is phenomenal! You’re so creative. We’ll have to cheers a bm drink face-to-face soon. xo

    • 5.4.16

      Tana, you are so very good to me and I am lucky to have you! Thank you for everything; yes- and until then, we can have a facetime cocktail party 😉

  3. 5.4.16
    Debi said:

    Hey, Kel…this was a delightful, useful, and beautiful post!! ????. You’ve now inspired me to kick up my beverage bar a notch!! This could have been a spread in a Pottery Barn catalog, girl!! Thanks for the lovely details and fun party idea!! I love doing a whole tablescape for the Kentucky Derby every year, and this would have been a fab addition…BUT, this year, I’ll be lying on the beach instead, sipping on whatever the cabana boy will bring me!! ?????. I have my own personal Bloody Mary favorite that I’ll have to share with you via DM, because it won’t allow me to copy and paste here. ? Happy Wednesday, my inspiring friend!! ?xoxo

    • 5.4.16

      Debi, thank you for visiting; I have no doubt you have some AMAZING recipes. We WILL try them out together SOON! Enjoy, my friend. xoxo

  4. 5.4.16
    Jennifer said:

    Kelley!!! I love this! The red roses are a perfect compliment and the picture of the rose on the oranges is perfection! xoxo

    • 5.4.16

      Jen, thank you! We would have so much fun mixing together… AUGUST! xo

  5. 7.18.17
    Margaret Goodman said:

    I know I am late to the Bloody Mary party, but I love this idea and will steal it! 🙂 I think I would add different flavored vodkas (in addition to regular). Bacon flavored, peppered, citrus, etc (identified of course) and I’d put out some cooked bacon strips that you can wrap around some of the other goodies or in shorter pieces to place between the bites of deliciousness! Thanks, Kelley Nan! Great idea!

    • 7.21.17

      Margaret, I love that. Also, shrimp cocktail goes GREAT with bloodies!

  6. 3.28.18
    Gerry said:

    Looks amazing! I must try all these ideas. I like to put celery salt on the rim of the glass too!

    • 4.5.18

      Celery salt is such a perfect addition! When I was in college, I bartended and we had a “build your own bloody mary” Sundays and always included celery salt as an option 😉

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