Bloody Mary Bars
What Makes a Great Bloody Mary Bar?
Bloody Mary bars are a fun and practical way to deliver high quality, personalized bloody Mary cocktails to large numbers of people. If set up correctly, guests can take pride and ownership of their bloody. You’ll seldom get complaints and people will talk about the awesome cocktail they created at your bloody Mary bar.
As I’ve stated in various bloody Mary recipes, there are two very important factors affecting the quality of this drink: Freshness and temperature. Keep the bloody Mary ingredients as chilled as possible. Filling a salad bar or large tub or cooler with crushed ice is a good start.
Keeping the individual ingredients properly chilled will ensure that they retain their flavor and taste their best. It will also allow you to keep the unused portions longer. It’s also important to keep ingredients separate to the greatest extent possible. While it is handy to prepare the best bloody Mary mix in advance, remember: as soon as tomato juice is mixed with other ingredients, the acids in it begin to break them down. The other advantage to keeping the ingredients separated is that unused portions can easily be put back into cold storage for use in your next bloody Mary bar.
It’s best to give your guest an ice filled glass with vodka poured from the bar and let them run from there. Rim salt is also a nice touch. Demitri’s makes a phenomenal bacon rim salt. There is real excitement as he or she carries that vessel of potential to your bloody Mary bar.
So what ingredients should a good bloody Mary bar be stocked with? Let’s start from left to right, and let’s arrange the ingredients of the bloody Mary bar this way too. It will allow for a smooth flow of traffic. On a side note, try to place the bloody Mary bar in a fairly open, accessible area. There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting in a line behind some tight little alcove while Aunt Verna considers the pro’s and cons of garlic stuffed olives.
Start with good quality tomato juice and V-8 juice. If you must, offer your famous Uncle Freddie’s secret xxx bloody mix. Label each clearly. Moving right, and still in the chilled portion of the serving area, place as many hot sauces as possible. At a minimum, offer regular and green chili Tabasco, siracha, and one other. In the same area place the Worcestershire. (A must!) As you move further right, get a little creative: pickle juice? fresh horseradish? Place two bowls of cut citrus: one lemon, the other lime.
Now the fun part. This is what people remember, talk about, take pictures of, and post to social media. The garnish! Cover the basics. -of course. Pickles, celery, olives, cheese cubes all should be present. Don’t stop there. Make your bloody Mary bar something to talk about. Consider adding items like pickled onions, okra, cherry peppers, peperoncini, garlic stuffed olives. Bacon is very hot right now. Other meats like beef jerky, pepperoni, and summer sausage are great too. Because they’re salted, they hold up well too. Be sure to provide skewers large enough to accommodate a good sampling of these bloody Mary bar garnishes.
Finally, at the far right, and out of the ice, stock a black pepper grinder, ground cayenne pepper, and fresh ground celery salt. (Another must!) When it’s all set up, call me. It sounds great!
Cheers! -Greg Tooke My short bio
***Have you been to a really good bloody Mary bar? Tell the world about it. Think you have a good one? Here’s your chance to brag! Enter comments below. Thanks!
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