Build the Perfect DIY Bloody Mary Bar

Let guests craft their own cocktails with a bloody mary bar

Ah, summer. With warmer outdoor temperatures, the perfect summer cocktail is both refreshing and light—but still with all the complexities of a good mixed drink. That’s where the bloody mary comes in. 

Despite being the perfect go-to summer beverage, every drinker likes their bloody mary served a little differently—which can make serving the cocktail a challenge at larger events. 

To ensure that every guest is satisfied with this tomato-based drink, host a DIY bloody mary bar where attendees can craft their own cocktail. Here’s how to do it:  

1. Make your bloody mary mix.

A bloody mary is only as good as its mix. And though you can buy premade mixes, a house-made bloody mary mix will likely have more flavor—not to mention offer an exclusive beverage experience for attendees.

Try this classic bloody mary recipe from Taste of Home:

Ingredients

2 ounces vodka
1 cup tomato juice, chilled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1½ teaspoons lime juice
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon prepared horseradish, optional
¼ teaspoon celery salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
⅛ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Instructions

Add vodka, juices, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish if desired, celery salt, pepper and pepper sauce to a pitcher. Stir well. Pour into pitcher to be served. 

2. Rim the glass.

Before attendees get to pouring your concoction, make sure they dress their glasses appropriately. Celery salt, paprika salt and lemon pepper are all complementary spices to your mix. Add lemons and limes to your bloody mary bar so attendees can moisten the rim of their glasses (and, later, throw them in their cocktails), and set the spices on small plates for dipping.

3. Spice it up.

After the glass is rimmed appropriately, attendees can pour in the bloody mary mix. For some guests, your mix will already provide the perfect amount of spiciness, while others might seek extra hotness. Keep a variety of hot sauces—Tabasco, Cholula, Tapatio, Louisiana Hot Sauce—and extra horseradish on hand to ensure that every attendee can spice the bloody mary to his or her liking.

4. Throw in the veggies.

Now comes the fun part: loading up the cocktail. Include these bloody mary-approved vegetable pairings in your DIY bar:

  • Celery
  • Pickles
  • Olives
  • Asparagus
  • Jalapenos, pepperoncinis or other peppers
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Marinated onions
  • Cucumber slices
  • Pickled cauliflower 

5. Pick your protein. 

Once you’ve got your vegetables in place, it’s time to throw in some protein. Add oysters, shrimp, bacon, sausage and cheese to your bloody mary bar for the ultimate cocktail. Serve them on skewers for easy drinking.