Bloody Mary is the best way to enjoy Sunday brunch! This spicy tomato based cocktail is incredibly easy to make with bold ingredients like smoked paprika, horseradish, olive juice and more. Trust me, this classic cocktail is anything but bland!
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I have a little secret ingredient in this Bloody Mary recipe that has forever changed how I enjoy this cocktail! I’ve been sipping on this classic brunch beverage for years, but ever since I swapped one key ingredient with something a little different, I’ve never looked back… Typically, this classic cocktail has a base of tomato juice, but I love to use V8 juice instead!
Before you turn up your nose at my V8 juice, hear me out. Not only does it add bolder flavor from the blend of vegetables, but it also makes the drink a little bit healthier! Plus, V8 is shelf-stable, so it’s easy to always have a bottle ready for mixing up brunch cocktails. When I’m up cooking breakfast or brunch in the morning, I like my recipes to be a little more convenient, so grabbing a trusty container of V8 juice really does the trick for me.
There’s 3 oz of vodka in this recipe, which I’ve found to be just the right amount. It’s certainly a strong drink meant for sipping on slowly and really enjoying the flavors. With that being said, the vodka is tamed by all of the bold ingredients in the mix! Horseradish, smoked paprika, olive juice, hot sauce and more mix with the V8 juice and vodka to create a seriously good (and spicy) Bloody Mary that you won’t soon forget.
V8 Juice – Because the glass is rimmed in salt and there’s sodium from the other ingredients, you may want to use the low-sodium variety.
Vodka – Mix up different blends by using gin, tequila, or even light beer instead.
Horseradish – This adds heat to the drink, but can easily be left out if you don’t like it or don’t have any on hand.
Olive Juice – Any kind will work, but the juice from green or pimento-stuffed olives will blend best with the other flavors.
Hot Sauce – Use your favorite blend of hot sauce, such as Tabasco, Cholula, or Tapatio. Even Sriracha sauce would be a fantastic choice!
Rim Salt – Create your own flavored salt using other spices. Good choices would be cumin, onion powder, cayenne pepper, or celery salt.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
PRO TIP: The colder the better, so refrigerate the V8 before mixing up this drink and make sure to use plenty of ice when preparing. You can even chill your glass in the freezer first if you’d like.
How to Make a Bloody Mary
Make the rim salt blend – Stir the sea salt, paprika, and chili powder together in a small bowl, then spread into a thin layer on a plate or shallow dish (4).
Prep the glass – Run a wedge of lime around the edge of the glass to wet it. Next, flip the glass upside down and tap or twist the rim of the glass in the salt blend until coated.
Make the drink – Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake (1, 2, 3). Pour directly into the glass or add fresh ice to the glass and strain the drink over the top.
Garnish and serve – Serve as is or add as many garnishes as you’d like!
PRO TIP: While this spicy Bloody Mary recipe is delicious freshly made, some say it’s even better when the flavors have had a chance to blend with each other. To do this, combine everything but the vodka and refrigerate for at least an hour, then shake with the alcohol and serve.
Yes! If you’ll be serving this to guests or just want a larger batch ready to go, you can make a pitcher of the drink base and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Just give it a stir and shake individual portions with the vodka, or add the vodka straight to the pitcher and stir well before each pour.
What makes this cocktail on the spicier side are the additions of horseradish and hot sauce. Feel free to add more or less of those two ingredients to adjust the level of spice in your cocktail.
The sky’s the limit! Some restaurants are even known for their elaborate garnishes for this cocktail. Have some fun with any of these options (or whatever else your heart desires):
Olives, pickles, bacon, Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies, cheese cubes, Cajun Grilled Shrimp, jalapeños, crunchy veggies (like carrots or celery), salami, pepperoni, or even a hard boiled egg!
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- 6 oz V8 juice preferably low sodium
- 3 oz vodka
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp horseradish
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika*
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive juice from jar of olives
- 2 tsp lime juice about 1 wedge
- 1-2 dashes hot sauce
- 1 tbsp sea salt flaky or fine
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- In a small bowl, combine sea salt, chili powder, and paprika for the salt rim seasoning and mix it well. Spread it in a small shallow plate.
- Use a lime wedge to rub the rim of a tall glass with some lime juice. (This will help seasoned salt stick to it better.
- Tap the rim of a glass into the seasoned salt all around the perimeter. Fill the glass with ice 1/2-3/4 way full. (It's a personal choice.)
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, close it tight, and vigorously shake for 20-25 seconds.
- Have fun with the garnishes and make them as elaborate as you want.
- Serve right away and enjoy!
- Use V8: Not only does it add bolder flavor from the blend of vegetables, but it also makes the drink a little bit healthier! Plus, V8 is shelf-stable, so it’s easy to always have a bottle ready for mixing up brunch cocktails.
- Refrigerate the V8 before mixing up this drink and make sure to use plenty of ice when preparing. You can even chill your glass in the freezer first if you’d like.
- Make Ahead: While this cocktail is delicious freshly made, some say it’s even better when the flavors have had a chance to blend with each other. To do this, combine everything but the vodka and refrigerate for at least an hour, then shake with the alcohol and serve.