Grow-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar

Pile on homegrown garnishes, then invite friends to belly up to a Bloody Mary bar.

The most recent tomato batch has been sliced for sandwiches, canned for winter and given to neighbors, but mounds of them and other unused veggies still linger on your kitchen countertop. Instead of tossing another salad together, treat your friends to a Bloody Mary bar brunch featuring fresh fixin’s from the garden. (Read More! Top 10 Tomato-Growing Tips)

Whip up refreshing tomato juice, and lay out an array of garnishes so guests can create their own customized Bloody Marys. The best part is that you won’t need to serve food, because these delicious drinks are breakfast in a glass. (Read More! 7 Ways to Grow the Ultimate Tomato Crop)

Setting the Bar: What You Need

Tomato Juice

Pluck a whole slew of sun-ripened tomatoes to make your own Bloody Mary mix: It’s a smart way to pump your drink full of nutrients. Your favorite tomato juice recipe will work, but we suggest making both a spicy and a mild version to satisfy your guests’ palates.

Vodka

Infuse vodka with fresh veggies, fruit or herbs. Try tossing in jalapeno, cucumber, or lemon and lime. Or, take a tip from blogger Rachel Beyer of Adventures in Making. She created a Bloody Mary vodka concoction with sliced tomatoes, crushed garlic, bell peppers, cilantro, olives and dill. Fill a jar one-third of the way with the goods and top it off with vodka. Leave it in the fridge four to seven days.

Glass Rim Options and Seasonings

  • Salt and pepper
  • Celery and garlic salt
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Smoked paprika
  • Lemon pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly grated horseradish
  • Tabasco sauce

Fresh Fruits, Veggies, and Herbs

  • Lemon and lime wedges
  • Celery stalks
  • Cucumber slices
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Jalapenos
  • Peppers (sweet or hot)
  • Green onions
  • Cilantro (chives or dill)

Other Garnishes

  • Cheese-stuffed olives
  • Pickled okra, green beans, asparagus, or mushrooms
  • Pickle spears
  • Cooked bacon
  • Cooked shrimp
  • Beef jerky or beef sticks
  • Hard-cooked eggs
  • Cocktail onions
  • Gourmet cheeses

Crystal Rennicke
Crystal Rennicke is a freelance writer and editor from Wisconsin. Previously she worked as a senior editor for Birds & Blooms, and has written about a number of topics for the brand, including how to grow a chemical-free garden, the mental and physical health benefits of gardening and berry plants you can grow in pots. Rennicke is fascinated by the journey of the monarch butterfly and her bucket list includes a trip to their wintering grounds in Mexico.
Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines at a time, and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds and attended various festivals, including the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, the Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, and the Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing, and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.