7 Next-Level Garnishes for Your Bloody Marys

These impressive additions transform your drink into a pre-brunch snack.

bloody mary garnishes

Pippa Drummond

An alternative to a sugary brunch cocktail, the Bloody Mary is a classic drink perfect for those with a more savory palate. The tomato-based cocktail is breakfast-friendly, hearty, and said to be a hangover helper.

In this modern age of crafted cocktails, popular restaurants like Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, N.Y., are giving Bloody Marys a major makeover. Glasses adorned with bespoke garnishes, often a nod to other classic appetizers or salads, are making their way onto the scene in a fabulous showing. But your bartender's best-kept secret might just be that these showstoppers are, with a bit of planning and creativity, simple enough to prepare at home. 

The Bloody Mary Mix 

The origins of the Bloody Mary, like many classic cocktails, are not clear, but it's rumored to have been invented in the 1930s. It's changed a little since then: Today, the drink is made with vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, celery salt, Tabasco, and lemon juice.

Over the years, several variations have emerged. The Bloody Maria is made with tequila, the Red Snapper with gin, and the Bloody Caesar uses Clamato juice, a blend of clam and tomato juice (fun fact—it's the national drink of Canada!). The most important part of making a Bloody Mary is to use a quality tomato juice, since that's the most prominent ingredient.

7 Impressive and Delicious Bloody Mary Garnishes

Our deluxe garnishes for this brunch standard give you seven good reasons to invite people over. Each garnish is packed with appetizer-worthy toppings. Stir up a batch of our go-to Bloody Mary mix a day ahead; then, just before friends arrive, set out rimmed glasses, your liquor of choice (or not), and skewers of garnishes, so they can grab a stick and snack while they swizzle.

Caesar Salad 

Arguably one of the most famous salads, a Caesar's defining characteristics are a punchy dressing of anchovy, garlic, and egg yolk. A hard-boiled egg is a fine substitute for the egg yolk (now is not the time for a jammy center—it would make a mess in the drink). Use homemade croutons because they will skewer nicely; the prepackaged variety will break in half. 

  1. Rim glasses with a lemon wedge, flaky sea salt, and lemon zest.
  2. Stack a skewer for each Bloody Mary with chunks of Parmesan, half a hard-boiled egg, a small anchovy fillet, and one homemade crouton. 
  3. Set out romaine leaves so guests can add them to their drinks.

Shrimp Cocktail 

A Bloody Mary is not dissimilar to cocktail sauce, so it's the perfect vessel for a skewer of plump, chilled shrimp cocktail. Spring for large shrimp for the wow-factor: 16-20s will serve you well, as will the surprising glass rim, spiced with Old Bay seasoning.  

  1. Rim glasses using a lemon wedge and equal parts kosher salt and Old Bay seasoning. 
  2. Stack a skewer for each drink with poached shrimp, a lemon wedge, and pitted Castelvetrano olives. 
  3. Set out celery stalks so guests can add them to their drinks.

Iceberg Wedge Salad

In a nod to its steakhouse roots, a wedge salad Bloody Mary is the perfect accompaniment when steak is on the menu. It's also just right for summertime picnics and al fresco brunches, because it's crisp and refreshing. Make sure to choose a head of iceberg that's heavy for its size, and prepare the skewers just before your guests arrival for maximum freshness. And opt for a blue cheese that is creamy but firm, such as Maytag Blue, so it will cut into cubes—or go with large crumbles of cheese if you prefer.

  1. Rim glasses with a lemon wedge and equal parts kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Stack a skewer for each drink with cherry tomatoes, chunks of iceberg lettuce, and cubes of blue cheese.
  3. Set out slices of crisp bacon for guests to add to their drinks.

Greek Salad 

This beloved combination of feta, cucumber, tomato, and olives has been popular for decades both in and outside of Greece—and it's a combination that works so well in a Bloody Mary. After all, olives in are no stranger to vodka-based drinks (hello martinis!). Kalamata are traditional, but a mix of various Greek olives works just as well.  

  1. Rim glasses using a lemon wedge and equal parts kosher salt and dried oregano. 
  2. Stack skewers with chunks of Greek feta, cucumber wedges, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes. 
  3. Set out romaine leaves for guests to add to their drinks. 

Caprese Salad

The caprese is said to represent the colors of the Italian flag, but the combination of basil, mozzarella, and tomato makes a simple yet effective Bloody Mary garnish. You can use plain or marinated ciliegine mozzarella (marinated adds even more flavor). And for the freshest, most abundant basil, skip the grocery store and head to the garden section of your local hardware store. Basil plants provide more herbs, are more sustainable, and are comparable in price.

  1. Rim glasses with balsamic vinegar and a mix of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. 
  2. Stack skewers with cherry tomatoes and ciliegine mozzarella.
  3. Set out a plate of large sprigs of fresh basil so each guest can add one to their drink. 


The popular Mexican street corn dish translates perfectly to a Bloody Maria (made with tequila instead of vodka). Use a heavy, sharp knife to cut the corn into wheels before briefly steaming or boiling; cook it just long enough to mellow the starchiness but still maintain its crisp freshness. Don't forget the hot sauce for this rendition; set it on the table so guests can add some if they like.

  1. Cut ears of corn into wheels. Boil or steam them and roll each wheel in mayo and sprinkle it with crumbled queso fresco.
  2. Rim glasses with lime juice and a mix of salt and chipotle chili powder. 
  3. Stack a skewer for each glass with wheels of corn.
  4. Set out large sprigs of fresh cilantro and extra lime wedges on the table. 

Maryland Bloody Mary 

Inspired by the flavors of a Maryland crab boil, this rendition is sure to impress. It's an over-the-top option that allows you to show a little leg—crab leg, that is! Be sure to have crab crackers on the table; even saltines on the side add to the crab boil feel. 

  1. Rim glasses with lemon juice and a mix of sea salt and Old Bay seasoning. 
  2. Add a steamed crab claw to each glass (so it looks like it is peeking over the rim), some pickled carrots, and a celery stalk. Have extra lemon wedges on the side.
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