Whether you prefer a Bloody Mary for a light brunch or to shake off the excesses of the night before, it is a favorite for many of us. Rather than needing to rummage around in the pantry or refrigerator to round up the key ingredients and then spend time making the drink, the Bloody Mary mix is ideal to keep on standby as most just need you to add alcohol and your garnish of choice.In this article we review a selection of Bloody Mary mixes, from the more traditional to those with a twist, in order to help you find the best Bloody Mary mix for your taste buds. We also look at the key ingredients of a traditional Bloody Mary, how the drink was created, and we focus on nutritional aspects of the Bloody Mary, particularly its high sodium levels.
The traditional flavored and spicy Ocean Spray Bloody Mary mix 32 fl. oz (Pack of 12) is our best pick for drinking with or without alcohol.
For a dill twist on a traditional Bloody Mary, McClure’s Bloody Mary mixer 32 fl. oz is our gluten free and kosher budget pick of the mixes.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Bloody Mary Mix
- 1. Ocean Spray Bloody Mary Mix
- 2. McClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer
- 3. Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
- 4. V8 Bloody Mary Mix
- 5. Demitri's Extra Horseradish Bloody Mary Seasoning Mix
- 6. Bloody Revolution Original Gourmet Bloody Mary Mix
- 7. Charleston Bloody Mary Mix ‘Bold & Spicy’
- 8. Master of Mixes 5 Pepper Bloody Mary Mix
- 9. Fast Mary’s Bloody Mary Enhancer
- 10. Mr & Mrs T Original Bloody Mary Mix
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Bloody Mary Mix
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Bloody Mary Mix
1. Ocean Spray Bloody Mary Mix
The Ocean Spray Bloody Mary mix 32 fl. oz (Pack of 12) includes tomato juice from concentrate, cranberry and grapefruit juices as well as Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and spices. This can be drunk as it is or with alcohol, although the mix actually recommends you add extra ingredients for a Bloody Mary.This is a spicy and thick mix, although some may find it a little too thick for mixing. This mix comes in a patented BarPac bottle with a spout - ideal for home bars.
2. McClure’s Bloody Mary Mixer
As well as the essential tomato, McClure’s Bloody Mary mixer 32 fl. oz contains peppers, pickle brine, garlic and dill to give a tangy and bold mix. As this does not contain more traditional ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce or horseradish, it does offer a twist to a regular Bloody Mary, although you may find the pickle juice flavor dominates your drink.This is gluten free, kosher certified and made with all-natural products. You will just need to add alcohol or serve as is.
3. Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix
A traditional style of mix, the Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix 32 oz is ready to serve with vodka or beer. Like most mixes, you can find this salty as it does contain around 20% of your % Daily Value of sodium in one serving. It also contains soy and some preservatives and is suitable to store at room temperature.
4. V8 Bloody Mary Mix
Made with pure tomato juice, vinegar, pepper, salt, celery extract and onion extract, the V8 Bloody Mary mix 46 fl. oz has at least one full serving of vegetables and contains vitamin A and vitamin C. This mix is ideal as a standalone drink and each serving contains 40 calories.This juice does not contain all of the ‘typical’ ingredients for a Bloody Mary mix, so you may want to add Tabasco sauce or other ingredients, although a number of drinkers have commented that it is spicy.
5. Demitri's Extra Horseradish Bloody Mary Seasoning Mix
Containing extra horseradish, Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasoning 16 fl. oz just needs the addition of tomato juice (and alcohol!). This is a spicy mix that is also suitable for use as a marinade. Like most Bloody Mary mixes or seasoning this is high in sodium, so you may choose to mix with a lower sodium tomato juice to reduce your salt intake. The packaging may be less than ideal on this and there is a risk of the bottle seals rupturing during shipping
6. Bloody Revolution Original Gourmet Bloody Mary Mix
A traditional Bloody Mary mix containing Worcestershire sauce, tomato, vegetable juice concentrate, pepper, horseradish, celery salt, garlic and onion, the Bloody Revolution Original Gourmet Bloody Mary mix 32 fl. oz is also ideal for using as a marinade. This thick and spicy mix can be drunk as it is or added to alcohol.
7. Charleston Bloody Mary Mix ‘Bold & Spicy’
Using a proprietary blend of habanero mash, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and spices, the Charleston Bloody Mary mix ‘Bold & Spicy’ 32 oz (pack of 2) does not contain horseradish. This bold flavored award winning mix is free from high fructose corn syrup and MSG and is suitable for gluten free diets. This mix does contain beef broth and anchovies so may not be suitable for all diets.
8. Master of Mixes 5 Pepper Bloody Mary Mix
The Master of Mixes 5 Pepper Bloody Mary mix 33.8 fl. oz (pack of 3) contains a blend of Jalapeno, De Arbol Chili, Habanero, Chipotle and Ancho Chili peppers along with vine ripened tomato juice and lemon juice. This is a ready to drink mix, just needs alcohol adding.This mix is gluten free and dairy free and although some drinkers have commented that this mix is hot and spicy, it can lack other flavors. Like most mixes, this is high sodium, with one serving giving 30% of your sodium % Daily Value.
9. Fast Mary’s Bloody Mary Enhancer
Containing a traditional blend of seasoning, the Fast Mary’s Bloody Mary Enhancer – Mild Bangin’ Blend also includes a predominant dill flavor. As well as adding to tomato juice and using in drinks, this enhancer can be used as a marinade or for BBQ.This is naturally vegan, does not contain any MSG and is also gluten free. This is also shelf stable and stays fresh for up to three years, although refrigeration is recommended once opened.
10. Mr & Mrs T Original Bloody Mary Mix
Containing 95% tomato juice, lemon and coarse black pepper, the Mr & Mrs T Original Bloody Mary mix 5.5 fl. oz (pack of 24) just needs alcohol adding, or some prefer to add ‘extras’ such as Worcestershire sauce and celery salt. These are smaller cans, so may use more if making pitchers or if travelling. There can also be a risk of the cans arriving damaged or leaking.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Bloody Mary Mix
Often a popular ‘tonic’ for the excesses of the night before, the Bloody Mary cocktail is popular because of the high salt content to replace electrolytes, its vegetable base to settle the stomach and the alcohol content, well, enough said!
Using a Bloody Mary mix is ideal as few of us have all the fresh ingredients to hand when the craving arises, or even the energy to actually make the drink. If a mix is not spicy enough, it is easy to add extra spice, but if you are not as keen on the spiciness, you can thin out the mix with either extra tomato juice or some water.
If you are new to Bloody Mary mixes, or are wanting to try some different flavors it is worth looking at the ingredients before buying. Not all will have the flavors that you particularly like, for example, a number do not contain horseradish or Worcestershire or Tabasco sauce, whereas others will have more of a dill or briny tang.
Although some Bloody Mary mixes will not need refrigerating, a Bloody Mary is always best served cold and over plenty of ice.
Nutritional and Sodium Considerations of a Bloody Mary Mix
An average serving of a Bloody Mary mix can provide between 40 and 70 calories, 9 to 13 grams of carbs, 4 to 7 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber and 1 to 2 grams of protein. It may also contain as much as 1489 mg of sodium.
The sodium levels in a mix, or even a homemade Bloody Mary are quite high due to the added salt, as well as the salt already contained in other ingredients such as Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. A healthy individual should not have more than 2,300 mg of sodium every day.
If you use Bloody Mary seasonings or enhancers which do not contain tomato, these do offer you the option to add low sodium tomato juice to your drink to reduce some of the sodium content.
When calculating the nutrition of your Bloody Mary, you also need to add in the nutrition of your alcohol and garnish. For example, although a pickle spear only contains around 4 calories it can have around 300 mg of sodium.
Because a Bloody Mary contains tomatoes and other fresh ingredients, it is a source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. How much will depend on the mix and what else you choose to add to it when serving.
Origins of the Bloody Mary
During the 1920s, vodka was becoming popular in Europe as immigrants came into Europe to escape the Russian Revolution and so bars were beginning to experiment with vodka in cocktails.
The Bloody Mary is said by many to have been created by Fernand Petiot at the New York Bar in Paris in 1921, later known as Harry’s New York Bar – a place where American migrants such as Ernest Hemingway could regularly be found.
When Petiot moved back the US, he tried the recipe out in the King Cole Bar in New York, but the clientele were not impressed, saying the drink was too bland. Petiot then added black pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and Tabasco sauce and so the Bloody Mary was born. The 21 Club in New York also lays claim to it being invented there in the 1930s. There is also a chance that the Hollywood star of the 19202 to 1950s, George Jessel, was the creator of the blend of tomato juice and vodka.
Although the name is linked with Queen Mary 1 of England who tried to re-establish the Catholic Church in England, it could be that the drink was named after a waitress called Mary who worked in the Bucket of Blood bar in Chicago. When Petiot mixed a drink for one of his patrons at the New York Bar in Paris, the patron commented that it reminded him of his girlfriend (Mary) who he had met in a cabaret and so the drink was named Bloody Mary.
A 1942 edition of Life magazine claimed the cocktail mix of tomato juice, vodka and lemon juice as a ‘Red Hammer’ and a later advertisement in the magazine for a Worcestershire sauce suggested it be added to a ‘Tomato Juice Cocktail’ along with salt and pepper.
The Key Ingredients for a Bloody Mary
Although many people have their own twist on this popular drink, the most important ingredients are tomato juice and vodka. Peppers, celery seed, horseradish, olive brine, molasses are often added, and salt or celery salt can be added to the rim or mixed in the drink. Other twists include pickle juice or clam juice.
The lemon or lime is also important in a Bloody Mary. Although you may think that the drink is acidic enough because of the tomato juice, the citrus actually helps cut through rich tomato juice and will also balance the drink if the tomato is a little too sweet.
Worcestershire sauce is often considered by many to be a key ingredient, as well as Tabasco or other hot sauce.
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented sauce created by two chemists in Worcester, UK. Called John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, they devised the sauce recipe in the 1830s when Lord Sandys asked them to recreate a taste he had acquired from his travels in Bengal. Ingredients in the original sauce include vinegar, molasses, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onion, garlic, spices and flavorings, although varieties of Worcestershire sauces today are often anchovy-free.
The first batch of the sauce was not great and was left in the barrel and forgotten about. A while later the barrel was re-discovered, and the sauce had mellowed into today’s Worcestershire Sauce. In 1876, a legal ruling said that other manufacturers could call their product Worcestershire sauce after the English High Court ruled that Lea & Perrins could not own a trademark to the county of Worcestershire.
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, now owned by Heinz, is still the leading global brand and is matured for 18 months before bottling. Only a few people know the exact recipe.
A Bloody Mary is usually served on the rocks in a highball with a celery, cucumber, pickle spear or olive garnish or even the addition of bacon, chicken, smoked salmon, or shrimp to the glass. Garnish on a Bloody Mary is often just limited by imagination – or the contents of your kitchen!
Variants on a vodka Bloody Mary include gin, tequila, rye or bourbon. Other more unusual combinations can include Mezcal or Aquavit. A Virgin Mary is the same ingredients as the Bloody Mary except for the alcohol.
Since its first appearance as a cocktail, the Bloody Mary has become a drink which can have almost anything added to it, although many of its original and core ingredients remain. Bloody Mary mixes are ideal as they need little effort to make up and you can still add what you fancy to it. Aside from the alcohol content, one concern for a number of drinkers is the high sodium content of Bloody Mary mixes and in this article, we have looked at how you can reduce some of the salt content in the drink.If you want a handy mix to whip up a pitcher when your friends call unexpectedly, or just to help shake off your excesses, we hope our reviews on the best Bloody Mary mix has helped you choose the best mix for spicing up your glass, whether you prefer it with alcohol or just on the rocks.