How to Build Your Bloody Mary Bar (with Garden-Fresh Garnishes You've Never Tried)

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How to Build Your Bloody Mary Bar (with Garden-Fresh Garnishes You've Never Tried)

There is nothing quite like waking up on a weekend to a delicious brunch and Bloody Marys. Sure, you can go out for brunch, but with these delicious garnishes, you will want to host your own Bloody Mary party at home. Simply make a large batch of Bloody Marys, set out garden-fresh add-ins in little bowls and on platters, then let everyone go garnish-happy. It's easy to source from ingredients you might already have on hand, especially if your garden is flourishing!

Related: Garden-Fresh Cocktail Recipes

Basic Blood Mary Recipe

22 ounces reduced-sodium V8

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon horseradish

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

10 dashes Tabasco

Freshly ground pepper to taste

3 ounces vodka (optional)

Combine V8, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, Tabasco, pepper and vodka, if using, in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake. Fill 2 tall glasses with ice and divide the Bloody Mary between them. This recipe makes enough for 2 servings, so adjust ingredient amounts as necessary for more people. Then try some of these garden-inspired garnish ideas:

Picked from the Garden

Garden vegetable garnish

One of the best parts of gardening is having fresh vegetables ready for any recipe or, in this case, Bloody Mary garnish. It's easy to look to your garden for a bit of inspiration for gorgeous garnishes that everyone will enjoy. While you can find inspiration in the garden year-round, summer is the perfect time to really dig into the garden. These fresh garnishes are sure to make your Bloody Mary Instagram-worthy!

Garden-Fresh Inspiration:

  • Salt + Pepper Butter Radishes (pictured): This favorite snack-turned-garnish is a fun way to add a peppery kick to your garnishes. Trim most of the greens from the radishes, slice in half, then thread onto a skewer. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Refrigerate to solidify the butter.
  • Roasted Cherry Tomatoes + Mozzarella: Roasted tomatoes are a summer treat. Simply toss a couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes in a roasting pan and bake at 425˚F until the tomatoes start to burst (but have some firmness left). Let cool and thread onto a skewer with fresh baby mozzarella balls.

Herb Infusion

Herb garnish

Whether you live in an apartment or have a big yard, you should grow herbs. So many different herbs grow well in pots, both indoors and outdoors. This way you can always toss fresh herbs into your cooking or, as in the case of these drinks, add them to your Bloody Marys. Rosemary sprigs are a creative garnish holder, while other herbs can be added in whole.

Herbal Inspiration:

  • Rosemary + Smoked Sausage (pictured): Rosemary sprigs are so hearty that they can easily be used as a skewer. Simply trim a sprig that is roughly 6 inches long and remove three-fourths of the rosemary. Thread on slices of smoked sausage and you have a beautiful herbal garnish.
  • Dill Cucumbers: There's nothing quite as refreshing as the combination of dill and cucumbers. Simply toss a bit of chopped dill with fresh cucumber slices, then pair with a lemon wedge on a skewer.

Pickled Fun

Bloody mary

Sure, you have probably had a Bloody Mary completed with a pickle (or even added a bit of pickle juice to the mix). However, you don't have to stop with regular cucumber-based pickles. Go wild with pickled items, since most garden vegetables make great quick pickles. And if you have pickles left over, they make a fine afternoon snack.

Pickled Inspiration:

  • Sweet Pickled Peppers: If you're a big fan of sweet and spicy, this garnish is for you. Pickled peppers are easy to make and this is a great use for them if you're growing an abundance of peppers in your garden.
  • Dilly Beans (pictured): Make these dilly beans and place one or two in the glass as a garnish. Even better, thread onto a skewer with some of the pickled shallots and peppers for a beautiful combination.

Related: How to Pickle Anything (No Canning Necessary)

Mix-In Power

Bloody mary add-ins

One of the best ways to please everyone is to start with a simple Bloody Mary base and let your friends add in as they please. Have an array of salts, spices and hot sauces. This way people can make a drink as spicy as they like. Plus, these add-ins are great in combination with the garden inspiration from above!

Mix-In Inspiration:

  • Smoked Paprika: Add ½ teaspoon or so of smoked paprika to the drink for a campfire Bloody Mary feel.
  • Sriracha (pictured with dill cucumbers): You can use any hot sauce you like, but using Sriracha not only gives the drink a spice boost, it also provides a nice flavor boost. Use as much or as little as you like. Got garden peppers to use up? Make your own Quick Sriracha or homemade hot sauce for an extra-special mix-in.

Watch: How to Make Homemade Hot Sauce

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Take your Bloody Marys from basic to brunch-worthy with these over-the-top garnishes from the garden.
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Penelope Wall
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How to Build Your Bloody Mary Bar (with Garden-Fresh Garnishes You've Never Tried)