One of the best things about enjoying a Bloody Mary is digging into the Bloody Mary garnish, whether it’s something simple like a celery stick and a couple of olives or a garnish that’s so over the top it counts as a meal!
We’ve rounded up the best Bloody Mary Garnishes, whether you’re making yourself a little hangover cure or setting up a massive DIY Bloody Mary bar for brunch with your friends.
Classic Bloody Mary Garnish Ideas
If you look at the images of Bloody Marys with heaping piles of garnishes and wonder how the glass doesn’t tip over while thinking it’s all just a bit too much, chances are you gravitate more toward classic Bloody Mary garnishes.
For the purists out there, these are great classics to include in your Bloody Mary Bar.
Veggies go perfectly in the classic tomato juice cocktail. Bloody Mary ingredients are typically tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, fresh lemon juice, horseradish, celery salt, and maybe a dash or two of cayenne pepper sauce. It only makes sense that fresh or pickled vegetables pair perfectly. It also explains why these are the most common garnish type for Bloody Mary cocktails.
And, yes, we know that some of the garnishes we list as vegetables are actually fruits!
The classics include garnishes like celery sticks or crisp carrot sticks. Bloody Mary garnishes really don’t get any simpler than fresh veggies. We also really like cucumber slices or a cucumber ribbon pierced onto a skewer and gently placed into the glass.
Pickled veggies are a fun way to add a different spin to typical fresh veggie garnish. You can purchase different types of pickled vegetables individually or purchase a medley.
If you like to make your own craft garnishes, there are lots of great recipes out there for pickling your own vegetables.
Feasting at Home offers an easy and quick recipe for pickling just about any type of veggie or fruit you can imagine. Just make sure you start the process a couple of days before you actually want to use them.
Some great ideas for pickled vegetables include:
- Pickled pearl onions
- Pickled carrots
- Pickled okra
- Pickled asparagus
- Pickled green beans
- Pickled radishes
Sweet fruits probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when coming up with a list of Bloody Mary garnishes, and honestly, most of them don’t go well with Bloody Mary mix at all. The main exception to this rule is citrus.
It’s not uncommon for a little lemon juice or lime juice to be added to Bloody Mary mix to brighten up the flavors. Tomato or vegetable juice can get a bit muddy in flavor once you start adding in all the other savory ingredients. Citrus cuts through and instantly brightens the flavor and lends a fresh taste.
Lemon slices or wedges of lemon and lime are a nice touch. Plus, the color contrast of the Bloody Mary mix and bright citrus looks great.
Fresh herbs add wonderful flavor to cocktails, and in the case of the Bloody Mary, you can really play with all the different flavors in the Bloody Mary Mix. You don’t have to get crazy and muddle herbs into the mix (although you certainly can!). But just adding a simple sprig or two looks nice and adds garden-fresh flavor to this savory cocktail.
- Cilantro (great with a spicy Bloody Mary)
Traditional garnishes are what you’d likely find in your Bloody Mary from your neighborhood bar. Nothing fancy, but classic and pure perfection. The main difference is that when you make your own Bloody Mary recipe and cocktails at home, you can choose higher quality traditional garnishes that add more of an enjoyable flavor punch.
Pickles are popular, with dill pickles being the most common. The dill works wonderfully with the other Bloody Mary ingredients. We also like to add just a splash of pickle juice to go along with it.
Now, let’s talk about olives! The salt and brine complement the tomato flavors and seasoned rim of a Bloody Mary. There are so many great craft olives for cocktails that the option extends far beyond the green olives you get at the grocery store. Try a different type of stuffed olive. Popular choices include garlic, jalapeno, and blue cheese-stuffed olives.
Next Level Bloody Mary Toppings
Let’s say you want something that’s in between classic garnishes and the over-the-top showstoppers you might find somewhere, like at a brunch restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. These next-level Bloody Mary toppings offer the perfect middle ground.
You can create these any way you want or simply offer them on a platter for your guests to pick and choose. We like to make themed skewers, so you only have to grab one and slip it into your glass.
If you’re hosting your own Bloody Mary bar, this is also the most sanitary way of doing things because it eliminates the temptation for guests to stick their fingers into jars or bowls (there’s always that one guest at every party!).
To make this garnish, add different foods to a skewer that you might find on an antipasto platter. We like using garnishes like big juicy olives, artichoke hearts, small mozzarella cheese balls, pepperoncini, cherry tomatoes, and salami.
Add some of those super crunchy little breadsticks to the Bloody Mary spread, and you’ll be all set.
Caprese kabobs are easy to make, and you can let your guests choose if they want to add them to their bloody marys or just enjoy them as a healthy snack.
You only need fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes to make these picture-perfect garnishes. These go best in a bloody mary that uses straight tomato juice rather than V8. Clamato or a spicy Bloody Mary mix.
Charcuterie on a Stick
A charcuterie board goes perfectly with the classic drink, so why not use those very same foods to create the best Bloody Mary garnishes possible?
You can get as fancy as you want here with a selection of cured meats. Think along the line of salami, soppressata, prosciutto, and others. Along with the meats, add a selection of cheese cubes that complement the flavors. Gruyere, gouda, or havarti are wonderful, as is a selection of blue cheese. Add some cherry peppers in there to offer a contrast of texture.
Create a mini shrimp cocktail on a skewer to add to your Bloody Marys. Take a large, cooked shrimp, and add it to a long cocktail pick with a wedge of lemon and fresh parsley. This goes best with a Bloody Mary recipe that has a hefty dose of ground horseradish and Old Bay seasoning.
The perfect Bloody Mary isn’t going to be kind to your breath, so we say throw caution to the wind and indulge in even more garlicky goodness.
Line a skewer with goodies like pickled garlic or roasted garlic, garlic and blue cheese-stuffed olives, and cocktail onions. Add a few sprigs of chives or spring onion as a finishing touch.
You might not want an entire skewer of fried veggies, but adding some tempura garnishes to your Bloody Mary is fun, plus it adds a nice, savory crunch. A few tempura garnishes that we really like in a Bloody Mary cocktail are fried pickles, mini-fried cheese sticks, asparagus, and tempura herbs. For a gorgeous presentation, fried zucchini blossoms are the way to go.
Crazy Bloody Mary Toppings
If you want the ultimate Bloody Mary, like the crazy, over-the-top ones you see pictures of, you really need to think outside of the box when it comes to choosing your garnishes. These ideas go beyond the Bloody Mary being your typical brunch beverage to the point that they pretty much become a brunch meal on their own!
Here are some crazy Bloody Mary toppings ideas. Use as few or as many as you want – just make sure you have a solid, sturdy Bloody Mary glass as you begin piling them on!
Meats & Seafood
- Fried Chicken – chicken wings or strips work best
- Mini Hot Dogs
- Mini Corn Dogs
- Cubes of Steak
- Individual Ribs
- Lobster Tail
- Crab Legs
- Bacon & Oysters combo
- Bacon Wrapped Avocado
- Bacon Wrapped Spam
- Cheeseburger Sliders
- Grilled Cheese Triangles
- Mini Club Sandwiches
- Mini Seafood Salad Sandwiches
- Mini BLTs
- Jalapeno Poppers
- Onion Rings
- Fried Ravioli
- Waffle Fries
- Fried Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
- Fried pickles
- Fried Cheese Sticks or Cheese Balls
Breakfast in a Glass
- Bacon Strips
- Breakfast Sausages
- Hard Boiled Eggs or Deviled Eggs
- Bagel Bites
- Mini Egg Muffin Sandwiches
Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches!
It’s the final touches that bring it all together for the best Bloody Mary. First, start with the best Bloody Mary recipe. Tomato juice, V8, or Clamato juice make good bases. In addition to the base, you’ll want to add ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, hot sauce, ground black pepper, and horseradish. These are the basics, but you can add more.
A seasoned salt rim is also important. Make Bloody Mary salt rims that combine kosher salt, black pepper, celery salt, and seasonings like Old Bay or garlic powder.
Finally, use your favorite top-shelf vodka and the perfect garnish to really take your Bloody Marys over the top.
Are you supposed to eat the Bloody Mary Garnish?
Why would you want all that tasty food to go to waste? Of course, you should eat your Bloody Mary garnishes!
Why are Bloody Marys garnished with celery?
Celery is a mild palate cleanser, and it offers a bit of a salty component. It’s crisp, and a long stalk of celery is good for stirring a Bloody Mary. Whether or not it’s the only or best Bloody Mary garnish is up for debate, but it is a classic.
What sides go in Bloody Marys?
If you can think of it, you can put it in a Bloody Mary.
What kind of olives goes with a Bloody Mary?
Green olives are best, with bonus points for being stuffed. Olives stuffed with pimentos, garlic, jalapenos, and blue cheese are all great choices for the ultimate Bloody Mary.
- Bloody Mary garnishes can be as simple or elaborate as you want them.
- Use a tall, sturdy glass when piling on garnishes.
- Olives, pickles, and veggies are classic garnishes
- When setting up a Bloody Mary bar, be sure to include extras like Tabasco Sauce, pickle juice, and seasoned rim salts
- Skewers are a great way to simplify a bloody mary bar and keep it sanitary