Merry Madness: Celebrate Your Bracket with A Regional Bloody Mary

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Bloody Marys are commonly viewed as brunch drinks, reserved only for weekend mornings, but in recent years, they’ve become a statement piece for many bartenders. Popular at bars across the country, each recipe reflects the flavors of the region.

“What makes Bloody Marys great is that everyone has their own recipe. It’s probably the most customizable cocktail in existence. Whether you want a savory hangover cure or to concoct the perfect mixture to echo flavors from your local cuisine, Bloody Marys are the ultimate culinary cocktail,” says Rob Wooten, co-owner of Texas Beach Blood Mary Mix.

In honor of March Madness, we gathered the best Bloody Mary recipes from the east, west, Midwest, and south. Mix one up to support your favorite college basketball team or to try a new twist on the classic drink.

East: Bloody Smoky

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 The Bloody Smoky comes from The North End Grill, right next to Rockefeller Park in New York. It combines classic Bloody Mary flavors with the smoky, peaty flavors of scotch.

What you need

What to do

  1. Combine Bloody Mary mix, scotch, and vodka in a pitcher filled with ice. Stir until well chilled. Serve in individual ice-filled glasses, garnished with pickled onions.

South: Bacon Salt Bloody Mary


Bloody Mary Cocktail with celery stalk and pitcher.-Google Royalty Free Images

For a flavorful sipper straight from Southern Living, this Bloody Mary combines the sweet and salty flavors of southern bacon with Old Bay seasoning, pickled okra, and the spice of a Bloody Mary mix.

What you need


  • 3 thick-cut bacon slices
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1½ tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1½ tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt


  • 1 lime wedge
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 7 ounces Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix
  • Bloody Mary Bacon Salt
  • Garnishes: pickled okra pod, celery stick, or olives and cocktail onions

What to do

  1. Cook bacon slices until crisp. Drain on paper towels, blot dry, and then crumble (making about 1/4 cup). Pulse crumbled bacon, kosher salt, Old Bay seasoning, ground coriander, and celery salt in a mini food processor and pulse until ingredients are uniformly ground, 6 to 8 times. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
  2. Rub a lime wedge on the rim of 16-oz. glass. Spread Bloody Mary Bacon Salt in a saucer; dip glass rim in salt. Fill glass with ice. Squeeze lime wedge and lemon wedge into glass, and add vodka. Top with Texas Beach Bloody Mary; stir to combine. Garnish with a pickled okra pod, celery stick, or bamboo pick threaded with olives and cocktail onions.

Midwest: Bloody Wisconsin

Photo: Chili Pepper Madness

The Bloody Wisconsin is spicy. Spicy! It’s based on a habanero hot sauce (they recommend Spontaneous Combustion) and isn’t for the faint of heart. Use a  pilsner like Spotted Cow instead of vodka for true Midwest authenticity.

What you need

  • 6 ounces spicy tomato juice
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 6 ounces pilsner beer, chilled
  • 1 dash bitters
  • 1 dash habanero hot sauce

What to do

  1. Pour all ingredients into a pint glass.
  2. Stir lightly.
  3. Garnish with your desired ingredients.

West: California Fresh

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Fresh food is a staple of California dining. With so many produce farms in the state, it’s easy to get most of your veggies right off the vine. This Bloody Mary recipe capitalizes on California’s bounty and combines it with Cholula, an authentic Mexican hot sauce, to bring you a light, crisp, fresh drink.

What you need

  • 3 ounces Hangar 1 Straight Vodka
  • 6 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated horseradish root
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground celery seed
  • 3 dashes Cholula hot sauce
  • 2 dashes gluten-free Worcestershire sauce

Optional garnishes

  • Cilantro lime rimming salt
  • Cherry tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, pepper jack or Manchego cheese, lime wedges, avocado, olives, and sprigs of cilantro

What to do

  1. Combine the Hangar 1 Straight Vodka, tomato juice, lime juice, horseradish, celery seed, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in a mixing pitcher. Add ice and stir the ingredients to combine.
  1. If desired, garnish the rim of a serving glass with cilantro lime rimming salt, then add ice. Strain the Bloody Mary into the glass and serve with desired garnishes.


With so many variations of the Bloody Mary, you’re sure to find one to fire up your tournament. And even if you don’t make it past the Sweet 16, at least you’ll have a good time watching.