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The Bloody Mary is said to have originated at New York City’s King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel when bartender Fernand “Pete” Petiot brought it over from Paris and called it the Red Snapper. Since then, it’s become a boozy brunch staple—a late morning Bloody Mary somehow just tastes better than at any other time of the day. This is not the type of drink you usually want to have more than one of, after all, and it’s not really made for contemplative sipping. No, the Bloody Mary is all about big flavors to perk you up and is best enjoyed with friends.
The basic ingredients are tomato juice and vodka, with various levels of spice and heat supplied by the addition of lemon, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco or other hot sauce. And then there are the garnishes, which can range from a simple stalk of celery and some olives to the over-the-top addition of entire pieces of bacon or hunks of cheese. But you might not have all of these ingredients on hand, or maybe you are making a bunch of drinks for friends. In these cases, a good Bloody Mary mix is the answer, and fortunately, there are many to choose from. Here are some of the best Bloody Mary mixes on the market now, from spicy to mild and everything in between.
Best Overall: McClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer
McClure’s is known for making some tasty pickles, so this Bloody Mary mix incorporates some of those briny, salty flavors. McClure’s uses the pickle brine from its other products in the mix, along with dill, garlic, and black pepper for seasoning. There are two versions available, mild and spicy, and each delivers exactly what you are looking for in this classic drink at different levels on the spice spectrum.
Best Mild: Collins Classic Bloody Mary Mix
Collins is a classic brand of bottled mixers, with everything in the catalogue from Margarita to Cosmopolitan. The Bloody Mary mix is dependable and mild, providing a big dose of flavor minus the heat. Tomato juice, real sugar (instead of high fructose corn syrup), and a blend of spices are in the ingredients list, so all you need to do is add a few ounces of vodka and you are ready to drink.
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Best Value: Finest Call Bloody Mary Mix
Finest Call is a good value option that still has good flavor, in part due to the fact that it is made using real California Roma tomatoes. This budget Bloody Mary mix can be found behind many bars, and the brand claims it’s based around what is essentially the original list of ingredients—tomato juice, black pepper, lemon juice, and a blend of savory spices. It’s relatively mild, so you can amp up the spice factor with Tabasco or horseradish if you desire.
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Best for Micheladas: Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
Zing Zang is made from a blend of seven vegetable juices, including tomato, celery, beet, and carrot. The brand adds some Tabasco, Worcestershire, and a blend of spices, resulting in a Bloody Mary mix that also works incredibly well in a Michelada. This drink is sort of the Mexican cousin to a Bloody Mary, essentially spicy tomato juice with beer instead of vodka. Choose your favorite lager, add some Zing Zang, and don’t forget to salt the rim of your glass for some extra flavor.
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Best Canned: Mr. and Mrs. T Bloody Mary Mix
Having smaller canned servings of Bloody Mary mix on hand is a good option for those times when you just want to make a single serving and don’t want to open a whole bottle to take up space in the fridge. Mr. and Mrs. T has two flavors available in canned form, Original and Bold & Spicy (two others, Horseradish and Fiery Pepper, are only available in bottles). Pop one open, pour it in a glass, add your favorite vodka, and enjoy a delicious brunch beverage.
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Best Organic: Tres Agaves Bloody Mary Mix
If you’re looking for an organic option for your Bloody Mary mix, check out this one from tequila brand Tres Agaves. The ingredients list is simple and to the point—just tomato, citrus, peppers, lime, and agave nectar, all certified organic. This mix works well in a classic Bloody Mary, but why not switch it up and try swapping out tequila instead to make a version of a Sangrita.
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Best for Food Pairing: Toma Bloody Mary Mix
Toma comes in three different flavors, each made with a specificity and complexity of flavor that makes them a good choice when enjoying a Bloody Mary with your meal. The Original is made with the brand’s proprietary sriracha and chipotle tomatillo sauce, the Horseradish focuses on that spicy root, and the Mild tones down the heat a bit. Try pairing the spicier options with some steak and eggs, while the milder version might go well with a cheese and charcuterie plate.
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Best Ready-to-Drink Cocktail: Crispy Pig Whiskey Bloody Mary
There are a few different pre-batched Bloody Marys available, but one of the newest and most interesting options comes from Crispy Pig. Instead of vodka, each can contains whiskey as the base spirit, rounded out by a Bloody Mary mix made with maple syrup, tamari, lemon, tomato paste, and spices. Crispy Pig is a fun version of this classic drink that’s a little bit sweet, a little bit hot, and has a bit of smoke from the whiskey.
Most Versatile: Stirrings Simple Bloody Mary
Stirrings keeps things relatively simple with its Bloody Mary mix, using just horseradish, tomato, hot sauce, spice and a pinch of sugar to flavor its product. But this allows for great versatility in how you use it, whether you want to swap out a different base spirit for vodka or try using it in various other cocktail recipes. Maybe add some mezcal for a Smoky Mary, or try combining it with gin and lime juice for a spicy take on a Bloody Negroni.
Best New: Taffer’s Bloody Mary Mix
Jon Taffer is well known as the sometimes tough, sometimes soft, usually shouting host of the TV show Bar Rescue. He also happens to have a brand of mixers named after himself, which includes this spicy Bloody Mary mix. It’s made with simple, familiar ingredients, including the addition of roasted bell pepper puree for some extra color and flavor. Equal parts savory and spicy, this is a good new addition to the world of Bloody Mary mixes.
We chose McClure's Bloody Mary Mixer for best overall because it uses the same tasty, briny flavors in its mix as it does in its famous pickles. Looking to experiment with your Bloody Mary? We like the versatile Stirrings Bloody Mary Mixer for this due to its simple ingredients.
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Jonah Flicker is an experienced writer who has been covering spirits and traveling the world visiting distilleries for many years. His work has appeared in many different national outlets covering trends, new releases, and the stories and innovators behind the spirits. His first love remains whiskey, but he is partial to tequila, rum, gin, cognac, and all things distilled.
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