- I followed four different Bloody Mary recipes from celebrity chefs Alton Brown, Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and Ina Garten.
- Brown’s recipe had a lot of intricate steps and ingredients I had to make from scratch – but the final cocktail tasted spicy and fresh.
- The recipes from Stewart and Garten were quite simple and classic.
- Flay’s Bloody Mary was my favourite because it was light, citrusy, and easy to make.
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Bloody Marys are a quintessential, tomato juice-based cocktail that can be made with varying levels of spice and different types of garnish.
Here’s how the cocktails turned out:
Bobby Flay’s recipe calls for plenty of citrus and spice.
Flay is known for being a grill master, so it stands to reason that his Bloody Mary would be perfect alongside a brunch burger.
His recipe for a spicy citrus Bloody Mary (which can be found on the Food Network website) calls for, of course, plenty of citrus – lemon and lime. There’s also a jalapeño involved, which I was worried would make the drink too spicy.
The drink didn’t smell great while I was making it, but the unpleasant scent didn’t last.
It smelled pretty horrific when I was muddling the lemon, lime, horseradish, and jalapeño together for the recipe. Fortunately, this smell dissipated instantly after I added the tomato juice.
This drink couldn’t have been easier to make.
If you want to spontaneously prepare a Bloody Mary, this is the recipe for you.
It took no time at all for me to muddle most of the ingredients then add in vodka, tomato juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
This Bloody Mary was ice-cold and refreshing.
In my opinion, this is a Bloody Mary that even those who hate the savoury cocktail could get on board with.
The tomato-juice flavour isn’t overpowering thanks to all of the other ingredients. The flavours work well and balance one another, and the cocktail had the slightest spicy kick from the jalapeño.
The drink is also perfectly chilled because, per the instructions, I muddled the ingredients with ice and added the drink to a cup filled with ice.
Overall, I enjoyed this recipe. To improve it, I would add a bit of extra Worcestershire for more umami flavour and a savoury garnish to boost the drink’s appearance and add a crunch.
Alton Brown’s recipe calls for homemade tomato vodka.
Considering the other recipes from Brown I’ve tried were pretty complicated, I wasn’t surprised that this one had so many intricate steps.
Found on the Food Network website, this is not a recipe to follow for a spur-of-the-moment drink, but instead works best as a make-ahead cocktail for an upcoming brunch.
The ingredients are pretty simple, except that you need to start making your own tomato-flavored vodka a week in advance.
The process of making Brown’s Bloody Mary was a marathon, not a sprint.
Again, I had to start making this recipe five to seven days in advance by adding tomatoes and vodka to a sealable jar. I kept it stored in a cool, dark spot and stirred it daily.
Then, I also had to make tomato juice-based ice cubes the night before I planned to serve the drinks.
Watching Brown’s Bloody Mary come together was pretty cool.
But once I put in all this effort in putting together the ingredients, actually assembling the drink only took seconds.
I just poured a bit of homemade tomato juice and vodka over the icy tomato-juice cubes and stirred.
His drink really brought the heat.
Brown’s Bloody Mary is not for the faint of heart – it was very spicy. It was also very tomato-forward, especially because of the flavored vodka.
Drink this if you love spicy food and drinks, but otherwise, you might want to steer clear.
I definitely could see heartburn in my near future after just a few sips of this beverage.
Ina Garten’s Bloody Mary features traditional ingredients.
The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, which I found on the Food Network website, seems to be pretty classic with ingredients like Worcestershire, tomato juice, and horseradish.
The cocktail requires plenty of celery, but I found it strange that the recipe required me to add grated, raw onion to a drink.
I imagine this recipe would have worked better if I had a food processor.
The recipe was easy enough to follow, although I think the results weren’t as desirable as they could’ve been if I had a food processor.
Garten’s recipe requires finely mincing celery in a food processor, but since I only have a blender I tried to use that.
I didn’t get a fine mince on my celery – it was more of a shredded consistency – but it seemed OK enough to use in my drink.
Still, it was easy enough to put this recipe together once I’d measured out and cut all of the ingredients.
Even with extra stirring, I noticed that my horseradish didn’t dissolve in the tomato juice as well as I’d hoped, so there were a few little clumps of it in the drink.
The last step was pouring the cocktail over ice and adding a bit of celery as a garnish.
After just one sip of this cocktail, it was clear that the most noticeable flavour here was definitely celery. I tasted celery before I even tasted tomato.
There was a slight heat from the hot sauce but the drink wasn’t too spicy. There were little strings of celery in it – likely because of how I had to shred the stalks. This isn’t a great texture in anything really, but especially not in a drink.
Garten’s Bloody Mary is a good option if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavour and love celery. As far as appearance, the celery garnish would make this drink look lovely on a brunch table.
Martha Stewart’s Bloody Mary requires simple, classic ingredients.
Found on Stewart’s website, the recipe for this Bloody Mary features typical ingredients like Worcestershire and tomato juice.
I was happy to see black pepper on this ingredients list, but I worried the drink would have too much bite with its hot sauce, horseradish, garlic, and black pepper.
Stewart’s Bloody Mary was shaken, not stirred.
The drink-making process was pretty easy and required a lot of shaking.
I shook all of the ingredients but the vodka in one glass jar. Then I poured vodka and the tomato juice mixture in a shaker filled with ice and a celery stick and shook again.
For the final step, I garnished my glass and poured in my cocktail.
I carefully strained the Bloody Mary into a glass (without ice, as the recipe does not specify adding ice to the serving glass).
From there, I had to squeeze one lemon wedge over the top of the drink without stirring.
The final Bloody Mary was spicy and savoury but not too overpowering.
The cocktail definitely left some heat on my tongue right away and although I don’t love a lot of spiciness, I found this drink to have a really pleasing amount of it.
I could do without squeezing the lemon juice on top, though, because it made the first few sips of the Bloody Mary too acidic. There was plenty of Worcestershire sauce in the recipe, so the drink had a savoury aftertaste that I enjoyed.
I also couldn’t get enough of the garnish on this one – the celery and lemon made the drink look elegant and restaurant-quality.
Bobby Flay’s simple and citrusy beverage was my favourite.
These Bloody Marys all had redeeming qualities. If you don’t want a lot of tomatoes or just really love celery, opt for Garten’s Bloody Mary.
Looking for a classic, spicy Bloody Mary? Stewart’s recipe is your best bet. And if you want to set your taste buds on fire with spiciness and feel like a true chef, make Brown’s spicy Bloody Mary, which calls for a few special homemade ingredients.
But for me, Flay’s Bloody Mary is the winner with its light, refreshing, and slightly spicy taste. Plus I loved just how easy it was to make.
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