A proper bloody mary is the last word in savoury cocktails. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a cocktail mover and shaker you need to read these tips

The beauty of a bloody mary is that it's really easy to make and it will cure all your woes. The classic recipe is time-honoured for good reason, but there are also a few killer ingredients you can swap in to make something that will really blow your socks off.

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Clamato juice

Via: soap.com


Clamato juice

Swap tomato juice for the utterly-more-funky clamato juice. No, we haven’t just gone all posh. This vamped-up tomato juice is made with clam broth to give your BM a salty-sour smack (much nicer than it sounds! Promise).


Infused vodka

Infuse your booze to give your bloody mary the edge: we’re talking garlic, chorizo, chilli – whatever takes your fancy. Stick your favourite flavouring in a bottle of vodka and leave to infuse for a few days, then strain and label.

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Dry sherry 

Fancy a bloody mary that's fully loaded? Add a dash of dry sherry to make it more sweet, rich and just a little more alcoholic.


Worcestershire sauce

A non-negotiable part of any real bloody mary is a good dash of Worcestershire sauce. True, we may not be quite sure how on earth to say it or even know what’s in it (anchovies, onion, who knows?), but you always need Lea & P for a self-respecting bloody mary. End of.

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Lea & Perrins Worchester sauce

Via: PR

A bit of a kick

For an extra blast of flavour, get heavy-handed with the Tabasco or horseradish or even wasabi. Fresh horseradish can be a bit harsh (and let’s face it, tricky to find) so just stir in a tiny dolllop of the creamed stuff from a jar. Simples.

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Bloody Mary with salt rim

Via: Rockit Bar & Grill / thrillist.com


Lemon and lime

A citrusy sour tang really livens things up, so squeeze in some lemon or lime. Just a squeeze, mind – it's a balance of flavours you're aiming for.


Herbs and spices

Add a pinch of celery salt and dried dill for a deep savoury note, then finish with lots of freshly ground black pepper (don't use the powdered stuff, it's not the same). Moisten the rim of your glass with lemon juice (if you can be bothered) and dip in good quality salt and pepper for a heavily-seasoned sip. 


Pedro Garvoa, head barman at Beagle restaurant doesn't think you should stop there. He says: "Try adding fresh herbs like coriander or thyme, different kind of chillies or hot sauces or even wasabi. In the summer try yellow tomato juice from the Isle of Wight to make a sunshine mary."



Skewer juicy prawns, olives, pickles or even a slice of salami onto a stick and lay it proudly across your drink. Snacks are always welcome, after all. A celery stalk makes a decent stirrer (use the hearts – they're less stringy) or pop in a Peperami as a meaty alternative.

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No ordinary ice

To get your bloody mary cold but not diluted, don't stir it or shake it, but roll. Pour into a cocktail shaker with ice and roll it on the table (make sure the lid is on firmly!) or if you don't have a shaker, tip the bloody mary from one ice-filled glass to another.

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Whatever you do, make sure your tomato juice and vodka are chilled before you start. If you're a true aficionado, make bloody mary ice cubes to keep things chilled but not watered down. 

Spirit yourself away

Don't get your knickers in a twist about using vodka in your BM either. Pedro from Beagle says: "Tequila or gin lift a slightly hotter BM and work really well with the spices. Tequila, in my opinion, works better in a bloody mary-style drink because of its peppery and herbaceous notes."

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Via: Beagle / Homemade

Turn up the heat

If you are taking this whole business very seriously indeed, Pedro has got something in store for you. This version of his signature cocktail – the Maria Maria – takes a bit of effort, but my is it worth the wait.


To make the Maria mix, combine this lot and leave to infuse for a least 48 hours:

5 toasted dried chipotle chillies

1 tbs of toasted cumin seeds

2 tbs of black pepper corns

5 tbs of sea salt

1 btl (150ml) Bittermens habanero shrub

1 btl (150ml) cholula hot sauce

1 bottle (100ml) Maggi liquid seasoning


To make 1 Maria Maria cocktail

35ml Tequila blanco

10ml lemon juice

10ml orange juice

15ml Maria mix (as above)

70ml tomato juice


Roll ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain into a glass rimmed with smoked sea salt and chilli. You'll go down in history.

Beef stock? Mushroom ketchup? Brine? What do you add to your BM to make it extra special? Barking mad suggestions welcome in the comments box below