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Build the Best Bloody Mary Bar: DIY Bloody Mary Bar Ideas

As the quintessential morning cocktail, a build your own Bloody Mary bar is the perfect tailgating tool for an early kickoff or a great way to serve brunch cocktails to your guests. 

spicy bloody mary made with build your own bloody mary bar ingredients

Looking for other game day or tailgating recipes? Check out our football food favorites!

And make sure you’re making some of Off the Eaten Path’s most popular recipes for kickoff like Roasted Jalapeno Poppers, Loaded Grilled Nachos, Pepperoni Bread and Beer Cheese Fondue.

build your own bloody mary bar

Bloody Marys and Wisconsin go hand and hand.

I’m not sure why, but after living in the state for seven years, I can definitely say that the Bloody Mary is a staple at Wisconsin bars, restaurants, breakfast joints, and football tailgates.

As a Packers fan, I’ve been to my fair share of pregame tailgates, which are such a fun way for fans to get excited for games; a gathering of diehard football fans with great food, good music, cold drinks, and a whole lot of team spirit.

Most of the cold drinks you’ll see at Packers tailgates is beer.

And the mechanism for keeping beer cold isn’t a cooler…it’s the snow banks that surround Lambeau Field in the winter months. No cooler required when you can stick your beer in a snow bank!

But what about if you’re dealing with a early kickoff?

Or have tailgate guests who aren’t beer drinkers?

I am definitely not opposed to a pre 9AM beer, but…when there’s a noon kickoff or you’ve invited some cocktail connoisseurs to game day, Bloody Marys and tailgating go hand-in-hand.

I’m not going to judge you if you put down a beer (or a few) before noon. But beer may not be everyone’s favorite morning beverage, so this is where a build your own Bloody Mary bar can come in.

a diy bloody mary bar on a marble and wooden board with toppings and bloody mary bar ingredients

What is a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar?

Similar to a bagels and lox brunch board or a taco bar, a build your own Bloody Mary Bar is just like it sounds: its a way to let your guests build the ultimate brunch cocktail of their choice!

You bring all the ingredients you need for the perfect Bloody Mary (don’t worry, we will talk more about all of the perfect ingredients you need below), spread them out on a table, board or countertop, and let people mix and match to make the cocktail that’s perfect for them.

A build your own Bloody Mary bar is perfect for tailgating for a lot of reasons.

As most folks’ go-to Sunday brunch beverage, it’s acceptable to drink a Bloody Mary before noon.

On top of that, a build you own Bloody Mary bar is so easy to prep ahead of time, so you get the hard work out of the way and then get to enjoy a cocktail (or two) and relax before kickoff.

Third, a make your own Bloody Mary Bar will give your guests a mix and match offering of different flavors and ingredients, and is a fun way for guests to make their own drinks!

Not going to a tailgate? No problem! A DIY Bloody Mary Bar is perfect for when you’re hosting a brunch at home, a bridal or baby shower, or when you need a little hair of the dog after a late night out.

The Bloody Mary Mix, Spices and Sauces

A good build your own Bloody Mary Bar starts with a good Bloody Mary recipe. It’s the main ingredient after all, and the base to which your guests will create a DIY Bloody Mary to their liking.

The best bloody mary recipe is my homemade spicy Bloody Mary mix recipe; I think this homemade Bloody Mary mix makes the best bloody marys! The base of this mix is plain tomato juice because I like starting with a blank canvas,  but you can also use Clamato juice or V8 juice or even a store-bought, good Bloody Mary mix like Zing Zang or Mrs. T’s.

Then add a variety of spices like basil, garlic, oregano, Old Bay, horseradish, Kosher salt and pepper, a few shakes of Worcestershire Sauce and hot sauce, and plenty of pickle juice.

You can’t forget the pickle juice!

A good idea is to mix the Bloody Mary mix up ahead of time in a big pitcher (otherwise everyone will have to give their drinks a good shake individually in a cocktail shaker). This will serve as the base for everyone’s drink. 

Next up, you’ll want to give your guests a lot of options to kick up the spice of the Bloody Mary Mix or add any of their other favorite flavors. Stock your Bloody Mary bar variety of herbs, spices and sauces like:



celery salt

dried dill

Old Bay Seasoning

cayenne pepper


curry powder

chili powder

garlic salt

Garlic powder

Cajun seasoning

dried rosemary

dried thyme

lemon pepper

caraway seeds

black pepper


smoked paprika





hot sauce

steak sauce

red chili paste

barbecue sauce

Cocktail sauce

teriyaki sauce

pickle juice

hot mustard

olive juice

Lime juice

Lemon juice

After adding the liquor to their cocktails, folks can use a variety of spices and sauces to season their Bloody Mary cocktails until it’s perfect for their taste.

a build your own bloody mary bar with cheese, salami, vegetables and celery as toppings

What liquor should I use for a Bloody Mary?

A classic Bloody Mary cocktail calls for vodka, but why not shake things up a bit? Mix it up and leave a few different liquors out on your Bloody Mary Bar for guests to choose from:

Go for gin and whip up a Red Snapper. The botanical twist adds an extra kick of flavor!

Tequila lover? Bloody Maria is your jam! Tequila will bring boldness to the savory cocktail.

Absinthe gives you a Bloody Fairy.

Sake gives you a Bloody Geisha.

A Virgin Mary is a Bloody Mary without alcohol.

And not alcohol, but the addition of olive juice or pickle juice gives you a dirty Bloody Mary!

Bloody Mary Bar Toppings

Once your guests add all of the flavors to please their palates, they’re going to want to garnish and load their drink with snacks and other trimmings.

In Wisconsin, we call Bloody Marys toppings or garnish “the salad,” because you can get to the point where the toppings practically become a a full meal!

I like to include some toothpicks and large skewers on my Bloody Mary spread.

two large bloody marys with lots of toppings in front of a white wall

Most people will reach for the larger skewers to make their own Bloody Mary salad; skewers are perfect for this process because they maximize the amount of Bloody Mary toppings you can include with your drink!

While a celery stick is the typical Bloody Mary garnish, encourage guests to think outside the box by setting out a variety of fun and delicious garnish options like:


meat sticks

pickled veggies

Dill pickle spears

Celery stalks




artichoke hearts



Green olives

Black olives

pimento, garlic or blue cheese stuffed olives

beef jerky

hard boiled eggs

cocktail onions


bell peppers

roasted red peppers

green beans



Salami slices

pepperocini peppers

pickled beets

baby corn

Cherry tomatoes

cheese cubes

cheese sticks

grilled cheese sandwiches

Mini hamburger or cheeseburger

lemon wedges and lime wedges.


How do you put the make your own Bloody Mary bar together?

You’re going to want to get all the work done for the DIY Bloody Mary bar ahead of time so your focus can be on fun and football and free you up from bartending duties all tailgate long!

Prep your DIY Bloody Mary Bar ahead of time; you can make the Bloody Mary mix from scratch a few days in advance and store in the fridge (in fact it will taste better after at least 24 hours in the fridge…that will allow the flavors to mix better together and infuse the tomato juice.)

You’ll also want to prep your Bloody Mary toppings ahead of time as well: wash and chop any pickled or fresh veggies you’re using, cube the cheese and cook any proteins that need to be cooked.

three bloody marys with toppings

If you aren’t hosting the make your own Bloody Mary bar at home, pack everything up in individual containers for easy transport to your tailgate spot. If you are hosting at home, before your guests arrive, put all of your Bloody Mary Bar items and toppings in individual small bowls, small plates and serving dishes and lay them out on your counter top or on a serving board. 

Pour the Bloody Mary mix into a large pitcher or carafe and place it on one end of the counter or board, along with the glasses (you could use mason jars instead of glasses), liquor and ice. Don’t forget to put out some seasoning salt to coat the rim of the glass! At the other end of the counter or board, place the bowls and containers filled with your different Bloody Mary toppings, along with skewers so guests can add their favorite items as they go.

Lastly, it’s time to make your own Bloody Marys! Let guests build their own Bloody Mary and snack skewers by selecting their favorite garnishes and adding them directly to their cocktails or toothpicks and skewers.

three bloody mary's at vivace sunday brunch in charlotte

Looking for other breakfast tailgating inspiration?

I’ve joined a group of bloggers from all over the country to bring you 64 tailgating recipe ideas for a fantastic football party.

Spicy Mexican Cheese Dip by 2 Cookin Mamas
Salsa Verde by A Dish of Daily Life
Skillet Sausage Dip by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen
Sausage, Peppers + Onions Pigs in a Blanket by A Little Gathering
Grilled Jalapeno Poppers by A Mind Full Mom
Beer & Brats Bake by A Simpler Grace
Black Bottom Maple Pecan Pie Bars by An Oregon Cottage
Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings by And She Cooks
Blackberry BBQ Sticky Wings by Around My Family Table
Cheesy Pull Apart Garlic Bread by Beer Girl Cooks
Black Bean & Corn Salsa by Body Rebooted
Roasted Garlic BBQ Chicken Wings Recipe by Bread Booze Bacon
Smoky Jalapeno Poppers by Brunch-n-Bites
Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos by Bucket List Tummy
Deconstructed Smoked Chicken Chile Relleno by Cafe Terra
Chicken Spinach & Artichoke Dip French Bread by Cake ‘n Knife
Cuban Sandwich Quesadillas by Casa de Crews
Grilled Asparagus Spears by Celebrating Family
Sweet and Salty Blueberry Popcorn by Club Narwhal
Buffalo Chicken Poppers by Coffee Love Travel
Sea Bass Skewers + Blackbeard Cocktails by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Buffalo Chicken Poppers by Dash of Herbs
Easy chicken roll ups with cream cheese and veggies by Family Food on the Table
Bottled Tailgate Cocktails by Feast + West
The Best Tex-Mex Arrachera Fajitas by Foodal
Loaded Guacamole by foodbyjonister
Cincinnati Nachos by Foodtastic Mom
Cajun Red Beans and Andouille Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms by For the Love of Food
Grilled Shrimp Pizza by Glisten and Grace
Mini Bell Pepper Nachos by Hello Little Home
Slow Cooker Sweet Spicy Meatballs by Honey & Birch
BBQ Chicken Wontons by Lauren’s Kitchen
Loaded Tailgate Tots by Life’s Ambrosia
Ricotta & Fig Bites by Living Well Kitchen
Tailgate Tacos by Lizzy is Dizzy
Nashville Hot Chicken Wings by Loaves & Dishes
Cincinnati Chili Dip by Love & Flour
{Slow Cooker} BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches by Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tailgate Bloody Marys by Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Sweet Korean Chicken Wings by Macheesmo
Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots by Me and My Pink Mixer
Beer Sangria by Mixplorology
Crab Pretzels by Mom’s Messy Miracles
Hot Bacon Dip by Nik Snacks
Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar by Off the Eaten Path
Chowder Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers by Order in the Kitchen
Old Fashioned Sweet by Peanut Blossom
Baked Mac and Cheese Cups by Polka Dotted Blue Jay
Texas Toothpicks with Buttermilk Ranch by See Aimee Cook
Pretzel Turkey Meatballs (GF, DF, SF) by Shaws Simple Swaps
Hearty Vegetable Chili by Simple and Savory
Focaccia Pizza by Simplify, Live, Love
Sweet Potato Skins Stuffed with BBQ Ranch Pulled Pork by Sustaining the Powers
Bacon-Wrapped Cheeseburger Bites by The BakerMama
Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad by The Creative Bite
German Potato Skins by The Crumby Cupcake
Old Bay Trail Mix by The Culinary Compass
Meat Lover’s Pizza Bites by The Life Jolie
Raspberry Chipotle Black Bean Dip by The Mexitalian
Grilled Asian Chicken Wings & Shishito Peppers by The Secret Ingredient Is
Blackened Shrimp Tacos by The Speckled Palate
Honeydew Melon Refresher by Two Places at Once
Grilled Sauerkraut Stuffed Brats by West via Midwest
Sausage Apple and Sage Hand Pies by What A Girl Eats

Note: This post is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by the National Football League (NFL) or any of its teams. All opinions and views expressed on our blogs are our own, not that of the NFL and/or any of its 32 teams. Any team names, logos or other symbols referenced are properties of their respective organizations. We are just big fans — and we want to share our love for our teams, the game and the food that brings us all together on game day.

a diy bloody mary bar on a marble and wooden board with toppings and bloody mary bar ingredients

build your own bloody mary bar

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Let your guests create their own cocktails at your next brunch or tailgate with a DIY Bloody Mary Bar!


  • 1 pitcher Bloody Mary mix, either homemade or store bought
  • 6 dill pickle spears
  • ½ cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • ½ cup olives stuffed with pimentos, garlic or blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup pickled jalapenos (see recipe page #)
  • 1/3 cup pickled mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup giardiniera
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers
  • 2 ounces beef jerky
  • 6-8 slices cooked bacon or candied bacon (see recipe page #)
  • 4 ounces cheddar and pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • 6-8 cooked shrimp
  • 6-8 pepperocini peppers
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 6 celery stalks
  • Small jar of horseradish
  • Toothpicks or skewers


1.    Put pickles, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, jalapenos, giardiniera, beef jerky, bacon, pepperoncini, horseradish and shrimp into individual small bowls, plates, jars
or other vessels (this keeps their flavors and juices separate from each other and allows for a less messy Bloody Mary Bar and easier clean up!)

2.    Place pitcher or carafe of Bloody Mary mix on one end of the counter or next to the board if you're building the Bloody Mary bar on a board. Place glasses and liquor (gin, vodka or tequila are three great options) on the counter top or in the upper corner of the board or next to the board.

3.    Arrange the bowls and small plates of garnishes on the counter or flat surface.

4.    Add cubed cheese, celery stalks and lemon and lime wedges to the Bloody Mary Bar spread.

5.    Place toothpicks and skewers on the counter.

6.    Let guests build their own Bloody Mary and snack skewers by selecting their favorite garnishes and adding them directly to their cocktails or toothpicks and skewers.


can always add additional garnishes or substitute the ones listed for your favorites. Some other great ideas for Bloody Mary garnishes include: mini grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese sticks, meat sticks, fresh or pickled asparagus, pickled okra, oysters, hard boiled eggs, cocktail onions, bell peppers, pepperoni, pickled beets, baby corn, and even a mini cheeseburger slider!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cocktail
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 637Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 287mgSodium: 3731mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 6gSugar: 14gProtein: 46g

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    1. I’m so glad you like it! Every time we’ve done a Bloody Mary bar at a tailgate it’s been a big hit!

  1. The best way to get a weeks worth of veggies is with a bloody mary on the weekends.

    Something about bloody mary’s when I am at the beach they just seem to be a must have.


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