5 Amazing Bloody Mary Garnishes for 2017

An ice cream sundae would be nothing without a cherry on top. Well, the same goes for the Bloody Mary. The toppings are an integral part of your enjoyment of the drink. Often our favorite part of ordering a Bloody Mary at a new place is being surprised by what they’ve garnished it with.

 
 Taylor Shellfish, Seattle, WA

Taylor Shellfish, Seattle, WA

 

We are used to adding a dash of hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, or black pepper to add flavor to our favorite Bloody Mary, but what makes a good Bloody Mary garnish? Opinions differ here and it depends on what you want in this tasty breakfast drink.

Some people don’t want a ton of food in their Bloody Mary. They want to get a buzz to have room to drink a few of them, rather than filling up on tasty garnishes. Some people go for a simple celery stalk, lemon wedge, or even a little horseradish while others love finding items they’d like to order for breakfast in their Bloody Mary. Think waffles or bacon or even deviled eggs. With the breakfast and drink in one, we’re saving both time and money, right?

Still others are in it for the wow factor. They want a drink crammed with garnishes to share with friends, something they can take a picture of and post to their Instagram or Facebook accounts.

Whichever camp you’re in, there’s plenty of room to have some fun with your drink and to add whichever kind of accoutrement your heart desires.

Cocktail garnishes have a rich tradition. People have been using garnishes for as long as they’ve been creating drinks. They bring a sense of personality and finesse to a cocktail. We’ve seen everything from sugary, gummy-monkeys who hang on to the glass by their tails to flags to flaming pieces of fruit.

Here are some garnish suggestions to brighten up any bloody mary recipe.

 
 Lobster Joint, Brooklyn, NY

Lobster Joint, Brooklyn, NY

 

1. Show Me The Meat

A hunk of meat goes wonderfully with a Bloody Mary. There’s just something about the salty drink that pairs so well with a filling, nutritious piece of rich protein goodness. Whether you’re adding chicken wings on skewer sticks or putting an entire beef patty complete with cheese and bun, you can do no wrong.

 Saddle Peak, Calabasas, CA

Saddle Peak, Calabasas, CA

The beauty of vodka is that it pairs well with almost any type of meat, so you can really use your imagination with this one. Whether you’re at brunch with your buddies, a baseball game with college pals, or a fancy lunch with a new boss, adding meat to your drink is a fantastic idea. Hot dogs can be great for game days, while lighter garnishes are best for brunch when you’ll be ordering food as well. Other items you can add include beef jerky sticks, shrimp, bits of steak or even meat straws.

Sometimes a Bloody Mary is a survival drink for the morning after a huge night, which can be a great reason to order something with a little more nutritional value to soak up whatever’s still in your system from the night before.

2. Let's Get Pickled

Pickled eggs, beets, jalapeños, cherry peppers, green beans, carrots, okra... the list goes on. These go well with the salty flavor of the Bloody Mary and I’m pretty sure they contain some magical hangover helping remedy.

 Cafe Flora, Seattle, WA

Cafe Flora, Seattle, WA

3. Eat Your Veggies

Some people use a basil, thyme, sage or rosemary sprig to class up the drink and create an herbal aroma while sipping. Other popular add-ons include baby corn, chili peppers, green beans, palm hearts, olives, olives stuffed with all sorts of things, radishes, zucchini, garlic cloves, jicama, and kimchi.

 
 Petite Abielle, New York, NY

Petite Abielle, New York, NY

 

4. Cheese Please

Cheese may be a strange thing to a cocktail, but we’ve seen small (and even big) chunks of cheese added to many bloody marys. The creamy texture and rich flavor goes well with a tangy, spicy bloody mary. Feel free to break into the cheese curds, cheese whips, mozz sticks or jalapeno poppers for even more garnish fun.

 
 Palomino, Seattle, WA

Palomino, Seattle, WA

 

5. All About Them Rims

No body likes a naked rim. Okay, maybe some body does. But it’s not me. Though not technically a garnish, the rim is an essential part of the Bloody Mary. Adding something to the rim provides an essential kick to the cocktail’s bright tomato flavor. There are so many different kinds of salt out there these days, but our favorites are celery salt and chunky sea salt. You can also add your favorite seasoning, like Old Bay, or different grilling rubs. You can also combine different salts and spices on a plate to create your own mix, wet the rim of the glass, and spin the rim in the mixture.

 
 Sundays in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

Sundays in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

 

Show ‘em what you’ve got

Whether it’s a whole chicken, pizza slices, a sub sandwich, or a bag of fries... all of these have at some time graced the top of a Bloody Mary. Remember that when it comes to add-ons in this category, the bigger, the better! We’ve even seen someone garnish a bloody mary with another Bloody Mary. Fried crabs with olive eyeballs are a big hit. Some restaurants even add dessert to theirs: Brownies with a scoop of ice cream or ice cream sandwiches, for instance.

 Todd English PUB, Las Vegas, NV

Todd English PUB, Las Vegas, NV

Bloody Mary Garnishes and You

What you add to your drink is an expression of who you are and what kind of personality you have. Garnishes are a fantastic way to have fun with your cocktail and to match your drink to the occasion. No one wants plain Bloody Mary juice, do they?

We've come a long way since the simple celery stalk and lonely bar olive. So, no matter what kind of toppings you're adding, whether you want to get a good buzz on or you want to help your body recover from a long night of heavy drinking, whether you're knocking one back with friends or trying to survive a BBQ with the in-laws, take a moment to savor your drink, to taste every element, and to appreciate both the liquid in the glass and the beautiful balance of tasty bites on top.

Because that's what Bloody Mary's are all about, isn't it? Relishing the present moment and enjoying the company of those around you. Of course, you don't need a Bloody Mary to have a good time or to enjoy brunch with your friends and loved ones. But it definitely doesn't hurt.

 
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