How to Build a Bloody Mary Bar

I still remember the first time I ever had a Bloody Mary. I was in New Orleans visiting a college friend and freshly out of a long-term relationship. We were hung over and walking through the French Quarter about to get lunch when my friends suggested we pop into some bar and get Bloody Marys. While we waited, we chatted with a woman who had her dog on the bar and was feeding it milk while telling us how it soothed the dog's upset stomach.*** We wandered through the French Quarter, drinking Bloody Marys and trying to kill off our hangovers while I talked about my life and what was going on.

I don't think I'm alone in saying that a lot of important conversations in my life have happened while sipping a cocktail. I can remember where/what I was drinking on my first date with G, when I helped my bff through her breakup, the first day I moved into my house, and when I found out my other friend was pregnant. I think that wonderful things can happen when you have the right people, good cocktails, great conversations, and maybe a few snacks thrown in.

I'm also here to tell you that Bloody Marys are THE BOMB. They're filling, savory but refreshing, and a damn good cure for a hangover (sorry 'bout ya if you don't like tomato juice). Plus, they lend themselves to a "make your own" situation at a party perfectly because everyone can throw in what they like. When we were planning our Galentine's Day Brunch last month, we decided this would be the perfect addition to our cocktail area and different than the semi-played out idea of a mimosa bar. Keep reading for all the details on our Bloody Mary Bar!

***How does that woman own a dog and think that giving it milk is going to sooth it's stomach? Dairy can make dog's sick! We talked about that for a long time after it happened. I still may not be over it...

Bloody Mary Bar

Makes enough for a small party

Bloody Mary mix (this is my favorite)
Vodka and/or tequila
Ice
Glasses
Optional additions (listed below)

This is my favorite way to make a Bloody Mary. Fill a pint glass with ice. Add vodka (or tequila if you want a Bloody Maria) until the glass is 1/3-1/2 full. Fill the rest of the glass with Bloody Mary mix, add a few dashes of worchestire sauce, and stir to combine. Add a bunch of accoutrements and enjoy immediately.

The fun of having a Bloody Mary bar is that each person can add whatever accoutrements they want to their Bloody Mary. We offered things to stick directly into the drink like pickle spears and celery stalks, but also wooden skewers to string together small add ins like pickled vegetables and gherkins. Each item was arranged in bowls and small platters so guesses could easily choose what they want to add in.

Things We Had For This Party:
Paprika Salt (ground paprika mixed with coarse salt) for rimming the glass
Celery
Pickles
Kalamata Olives
Blue Cheese Stuffed Green Olives
Marinated Mini Corn on the Cobs
Mini Bell Peppers
Marinated Pearl Onions
Limes
Gherkins
Worchestire Sauce
Sriracha
Wooden Skewers
Straws

Other Things We Didn't Have:
Cheese Cubes
Bacon
Pickled Green beans
Cocktail Shrimp
Jalapeno Peppers
Lemon Slices
Pepperoni
Pepperoncini 

My biggest tips for creating your own Bloody Mary bar are having a variety of options, buying what you like, and raiding the olive bar at your supermarket. You should think about what you prefer in your drink and then what your guests might like. And I found a lot of what we included in our bar in the olive bar section. Those mini corns, blue cheese stuffed olives, kalamata olives, and pearl onions were all picked from the olive bar and ended up being cheaper than buy a whole jar of each thing.