Create your own DIY At-Home Bloody Mary Bar

By Brian Thalhammer | Photography by Holly Leitner

In 1921, a young bartender named Fernand “Pete” Petiot was working at a bar in Paris incongruously named Harry’s New York Bar, when he had a moment of inspiration. Paris in the 1920s was a melting pot of people seeking refuge in the City of Light, and Petiot used this mingling of cultures to combine a Russian staple — vodka — with a new canned product imported by American expats called a tomato juice cocktail. He combined the two with a little lemon juice and a handful of spices and voilà! The Bloody Mary cocktail was born.

Today, the classic Bloody Mary has evolved into a playground of creativity, with bars and eateries constantly reinventing this iconic brunch cocktail. From extravagant garnishes to fiery infusions and unconventional twists, the possibilities are endless. Bartenders are now infusing Bloody Marys with bold flavors, from jalapeño-infused vodka to bacon-infused spirits or even daring elements like ghost peppers. The glass rims are no longer just seasoned with salt; they boast crushed potato chips, bacon bits and Old Bay seasoning. Forget the traditional tomato base — some variations feature carrot, beet or Clamato juice for added depth and a harmonious blend of flavors.

Why limit the Bloody Mary experience to bar and restaurant outings? Create a DIY Bloody Mary bar at home and let the creativity flow! Start with a base of quality vodka and diverse mixers, then embrace the unconventional with innovative garnishes such as crispy bacon strips, pickled vegetables like asparagus spears, green beans or spicy pickled okra for that extra kick. If you’re feeling especially inventive, mini cheeseburgers perched atop the glass are just as delicious as they are aesthetically pleasing!

Spice it up by incorporating unique seasonings to enhance the flavor profile. Consider infusing the vodka with garlic, jalapeño or herbs for a personalized touch. Explore exotic spice blends like smoked paprika, celery salt or even a pinch of curry powder to create a bold, zesty concoction. Gourmet mixes featuring flavors like horseradish, chipotle or white tomato juice add a distinct twist. For the adventurous, experiment with sauces ranging from mild to fiery, adjusting the heat to your own preference.

Encourage guests to experiment, mix and match ingredients to craft their ultimate creation. With nearly limitless ingredients and combinations, your at-home bar will be the talk of the town, offering a personalized twist to this beloved cocktail.

  1. Gourmet Red Hot Sauce, Hellfire Hot Sauce,
  2. Cheese & Sausage Sampler, Highfield Farm Creamery, Walworth.
  3. Basil & Garlic Pickled Mushrooms, River Valley Ranch & Kitchens, Burlington.
  4. Tito’s Vodka (a local favorite), Walworth Cellars, Walworth.
  5. Bloody Mary Seasoning, Lake Geneva Spice Company, Lake Geneva.
Author: atthelake

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