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build your own bloody mary bar

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.

holding a bloody mary with a skewer loaded with peppers, cheese, olives, bacon and celery made at a 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 morning 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 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.

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

Bloody Mary Bar Ingredients: 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.

My Bloody Mary recipe involves tomato juice because I like starting with a blank canvas,  but you can also use Clamato juice or V8 juice or even a Bloody Mary mix like Zing Zang or Mrs. T’s.

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

You can’t forget the pickle juice!

Mix the Bloody Mary mix up ahead of time in big pitcher. 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:

  • salt
  • pepper
  • celery salt
  • dried dill
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • cayenne pepper
  • paprika
  • curry powder
  • chile powder
  • garlic salt
  • dried rosemary
  • dried thyme
  • lemon pepper
  • caraway seeds
  • black pepper
  • ginger
  • smoked paprika
  • cumin
  • wasabi
  • horseradish
  • Worchestershire
  • hot sauce
  • steak sauce
  • red chili paste
  • barbecue sauce
  • teriyaki sauce
  • pickle juice
  • hot mustard
  • olive juice

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

three bloody mary cocktails on a white table top made with a diy bloody mary bar

Bloody Mary Bar Ideas: Endless Options for Bloody Mary 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.

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!

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

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

  • bacon
  • meat sticks
  • pickled veggies
  • pickles
  • asparagus
  • giardiniera
  • mushrooms
  • artichoke hearts
  • shrimp
  • oysters
  • olives
  • pimento, garlic or blue cheese stuffed olives
  • beef jerky
  • hard boiled eggs
  • cocktail onions
  • carrots
  • bell peppers
  • roasted red peppers
  • green beans
  • jalapeños
  • pepperoni
  • pepperocini peppers
  • pickled beets
  • baby corn
  • cheese cubes
  • cheese sticks
  • grilled cheese sandwiches
  • cheeseburgers
  • lemon and lime wedges.

build your own bloody mary bar

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.

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 bowls and serving dishes and lay them out on your counter top or on a serving board. 

Pour the Bloody Mary mix into a pitcher or carafe and place it on one end of the counter or board, along with the glasses, liquor and ice. 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 marys with toppings

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.

64 recipes for the perfect football tailgate! Check out everything from appetizer recipes, entree recipes, cocktail recipes, dessert recipes, side dish recipes and more to cheer on your team! #foodiefootballfans

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.

build your own bloody mary bar

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.



Notes

You
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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Dana McCurdy

Monday 27th of January 2020

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.

Cheers!

Chrissie

Monday 10th of February 2020

Yes! So many veggies in a BM! and I also love Bloody Marys at the beach. And at a football tailgate.

Sweet Korean Chicken Wings - Game Day Appetizer ~ Macheesmo

Wednesday 20th of March 2019

[…] 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 […]

Tailgaiting Recipes: 64 Recipes + Skillet Sausage Dip

Friday 8th of February 2019

[…] Sangria by MixplorologyCrab Pretzels by Mom’s Messy MiraclesHot Bacon Dip by Nik SnacksBuild Your Own Bloody Mary Bar by Off the Eaten PathChowder Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers by Order in the KitchenOld Fashioned Sweet by […]

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

Wednesday 19th of December 2018

[…] 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 […]

Blackberry BBQ Sticky Wings - Around My Family Table

Tuesday 18th of December 2018

[…] 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 […]

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