The Bloody Mary Conundrum

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Last year, my boss came to me with some very tragic news. News that shocked me to my core, and left me standing there, unable to speak, barely able to breathe.

“We’re going to start serving brunch on the weekends.”

Now, brunch is a tough prospect for any bar manager. The crates of oranges that need to be stocked in an already-full cooler. The cases of prosecco. And the dreaded Bloody Mary conundrum.

Offering a Bloody Mary at brunch presents the cautious bar manager with a bit of a pickle, no pun intended. Here’s the problem: Ideally each Bloody Mary would be made to order, à la minute, from scratch. But doing so would be far too time-consuming when the bar is busy. We want people to have drinks in their hands quickly. Doing so makes people happy, and we’re trying to be in the business of making people happy.

So, the obvious solution is to make a huge batch of Bloody Mary mix, have the bartender throw it on top of some vodka in a pint glass, and there you go, right? Well, the question is how much to make. If we make too little, the bartender ends up having to make them to order anyway. If we make too much, then we’ve got a bunch of Bloody Mary mix getting dumped at the end of each Sunday, because lord knows that shit ain’t gonna be fresh a week later (I’m looking at you, half of the sports bars in the country). And that ends up being a huge waste of money. And we’re also trying to be in the business of making money here.

And what about the Caesar? I happen to love the national drink of Canada, and wanted to offer it on my menu as well. But of course, nobody could predict how Portlanders would take to zesty clam-flavored tomato drink (turns out they love it) and I didn’t want to have yet another batch of mix to throw down the drain every week

What to do, what to do… And then it hit me: if we took the majority of the labor-intensive components and separated them from the tomato or tomato-based ingredients, we’d be left with something so salty and acidic that it would be (refrigerator) shelf stable for well over a week. The result is a mix that’s easy to make, totally versatile, and turns making a Bloody Mary or Caesar a simple three-ingredient process.

Bloody Mary Premix Print Me

  • 12 oz lemon juice
  • 12 oz Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp finely-ground black pepper
  • 1½ tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  1. Mix all ingredients together and bottle. To make a Caesar or Bloody Mary, combine 1 oz premix, 2 oz vodka, and 4 oz tomato juice or Clamato in a pint glass, mix well, garnish and serve. (Makes one 750ml Bottle)

Recipe printed courtesy of

62 Replies to “The Bloody Mary Conundrum”

  • sc'Que? says:

    Also, the non-fresh ingredients are not allowed to be pre-batched in PA without having to throw them out at the end of the shift. That is wasteful.

  • sc'Que? says:

    It’s not a high-horse. It’s a reality of the situation. I’m not gonna pre-batch something that gets ordered only a couple times per week, because it will just sit and go bad. And I’m not going to make bloodys during dinner service on Friday or Saturday because we don’t have the infrastructure to pull them off in any sort of timely manner. That, and pre-batched always seem to taste “rusty”–never fresh enough.

    Having worked in this place for 12 yrs, I’m pretty sure I know my clientele. And the ones who always try to order them are tourists who we’ll never see again.

    At this point, we only make Bloodys Sun – Thurs. But it still begs the question: WHY DO THEY ALWAYS TRY TO ORDER THEM BETWEEN 6 – 9PM ON A FRIDAY OR SATURDAY NIGHT?

  • X says:


    wow these kinda comments always crack me up.

    Get over yourselves. In the end we work in hospitality. Make the customers happy. Every clientele base is different depending on establishment (or even season, or time of day) know your peoples.

    Some want it high quality, but right away, so pre-batching the good ingredients is an absolute necessity.

    Others with an appreciation for the craft don’t mind that extra wait for that one-off libation.

    Some places clients will consistently praise your bloodys made with a good quality bottled mix.

    In summery maintain integrity, but get the fuck off your high horse and back behind the stick and love your job… or find another line of work.

  • sc'Que? says:

    What I want to know is: what is up with the idea that the best time to order a Bloody in semi-smalltown Pennsylvania is between 6 and 9pm on a Friday night? Seriously, that’s basically the only time people try to order them… when you’re already in the weeds and you had not yet read this article.


  • Aaarghzombies says:

    Add a touch of sugar too….

  • Jordan says:

    I might have missed this in the previous replies, but what would happen if you took the lemon juice out of the premix? Worcestershire, Tabasco, and dry spices should be almost indefinitely shelf stable. If you juice your own lemons you can add that along with the tomato juice while building the drink.

  • Tianna says:

    Awesome plan. One problem. Ceasars are with lime. That’s why there is a picture of a lime on the Clamato labels…

  • Sven says:

    This is a great way to make -a lot- of bloody mary’s quickly, and to my knowledge it’s almost the standard way to do it in London.

    I would skip the tabaso and the lemon juice though, so you can adjust the spicyness and lemon just tastes better fresh.

  • Derek C. says:

    Is there a reason why you wouldn’t want to add vodka to the mix? Seems like it might also act as a preservative in addition to just the salt and acid.

  • Zack M. says:

    I had fun reading all of this shit and can go to bed now! The premix is a good idea. Thanks Jeff!

  • Nathan says:

    Also, if I were to visit an establishment with a reputation for artisanal food and drinks – and price tags to match said reputation – I doubt that I’d find it acceptable if the bartender was simply throwing vodka and premix together (admittedly, I am a self-righteous asshole).

  • Nathan says:

    Dear Joe Marfice:

    Even a cursory reading of the very first reply to this article (which in my opinion was largely responsible for sparking the subsequent argument in the comments), should reveal to you that its tone and content was far more insulting and inflammatory than the mere suggestion that there are “good mixes out there”.

    Dear America:

    I don’t know why you hate hipsters so much, but I’d just like to tell you that it’s okay for a person to be cool. Really, it is.

  • Joe Marfice says:

    Good lord, what a bunch of self-righteous assholes!

    One guy suggests there are good mixes out there, and the world has to stop while all of you pile on him for “free advertising” and “marketing” – though he never mentioned any particular product. Some of you hipster critics are the dumbest thing since Egmu Schmotz invented the wax fireplace.

    (And then there’s the idiot who argues against Bloody Mary mixes because he doesn’t like sour mixes. ADD: it’s not just a theory!)

    Seriously… some of you need to learn to read the banners at the bottom of the newscasts, so you can argue politics with as much insight, too!

  • Nathan says:

    @Mr Anonymous: You lost all your self-proclaimed street-cred when you put the word “mixologist” in quote marks.

    It would be really great if you had the balls to come right out and name the premix product you produce, and that you’re so proud of—so that I can boycott it (not that I’d bother, because I hate tomato juice, and even if I liked Bloody Marys, I wouldn’t use some bullshit premix—mainly because the high horse I’m on wouldn’t stand for it, but also because I don’t give financial support to idiots).

  • Joe L says:

    I say try several ready made mixes to find a base and flavor profile you like then try to replicate to see if yours is better. If you can do it quickly and cheaper then go for it. Otherwise I will stick to using the Demetri’s. I love it because I can pop open one of the little cans of tomato juice to make one drink at a time and it lasts a very long time. My humble opinion as a home bartender.

  • Enough with the arguing, I’m just glad that there’s fresh material on here! Where on earth have you been for the past year?

  • Torgny says:

    I don’t understand this debate. Almost everything that even craft bartenders use is commercially made, including most bitters, syrups, and spirits. If you’re not using fresh tomato juice (which is a great idea: it makes as much difference as fresh orange, lemon, and lime juice do), you’re using a commercial juice and aren’t in any position to criticize someone who is using a commercial mix, especially if it’s something like Dr. Swami & Bone Daddy’s (no, I don’t work for Dr. Swami. Nor do I know who the owners are. I’ve just found their products to be unusually good, tasting almost homemade). Don’t throw stones if you are tending a glass bar!

  • Paul says:

    I almost gave up that there would never be another post on this blog. I’m hoping for a repeal day post and a new egg nog recipe before the end of the year, Jeff.

  • cb says:

    Not to split hairs, but up here in Canada most people use lime juice in Caesars.

  • I’ll try tomorow night at my bar in Buenos Aires

  • Mari says:

    So great to see some activity in here again. Your posts have been truly missed.

    When it comes to the bloody mary…any good recipe for making your own tomato juice? Every single one I’ve tasted tastes like shit. Might of course just be that I don’t really like tomato juice… Might also be that where I live ( northern Norway) all you get from the tomato world is imported shit. But you can grow tomatos here like 1 month of the year or something. maybe I’ll make a huge batch next summer.

  • Dan says:

    Say what you want about pre-made mixes but Zing-Zang is outstanding and I’ll put it up against any fresh made mix.

    It’s not available everywhere but seems to be the standard, go-to in New Orleans, Houston, and much of the South.

    It’s salty-spicy goodness.

  • Mr. Stern says:

    In trying to read through this string, I might have missed the answer to my question; forgive me if this is the case:

    What brand/fresh crush product do you use for the TOMATO JUICE? It seems this can really make or break the drink, as it’s the primary ingredient. The ones I’ve tried all tend to taste like the inside of the aluminum can they live in, with a butt-ton of preservatives and a cloying taste through and through.

    Dare I ask for opinions?


  • Gino says:

    Jeff –
    Are you making your own Clamato?
    One thing I don’t like about Mott’s and other branded Clamato is they add a good amount of MSG. Does anyone know of a brand that doesn’t add it?


  • Claire says:

    Holy shit, Jeff, you certainly grew some serious attitude in the months since your last post!! (All SIXTEEN of ’em, yes, I counted, sue me.) It’s pretty hot actually.

    Great post as usual. I’ve been trying to push this on my boss for a while but he’s an idiot so he insists on only pre-mixing DRY ingredients, so the most time-consuming requirement, the lemon, still has to be done to order… le sigh.

  • Dean says:

    I enjoy your take on the craft.

  • Andy says:

    Christ Dude, where the F@%$ have you been? Great info all around.

  • Brian says:

    What can I add to this…nothing. Except for what I’ll call…The BEST fucking moderator, ever. And I steal your stuff at every turn. Thanks Morgenthaler!

  • Baz says:

    Great to see some activity on the site again and I love the idea. I’m just wondering, for quality purposes, why is ok to keep this citrus based premix for over a week when you wouldn’t do the same with the fresh squeezed juices by themselves? Not a snarky criticism, just a legitimate inquiry.

  • Zeech says:

    Great post. Hilarious commentary. Lot’s of shit talking and brains cell wasting.

    I can tell some commenters didn’t even bother to read the entire blog post if they are asking you why would you ever need to premix anything. Jesus christ people. Your bars may be empty, but when it’s high traffic, high volume, quick turnover, happy customers as Jeff is talking about, your bartender doesn’t have the time to do all the steps necessary.

    Update your blog more you schmuck. I love the posts.

  • Justin Talbot says:

    Seriously though, could I add high proof spirit to the mix and would that help. I think it should work, but would like some other input.

  • John Claude says:

    “The thing about the Bloody Mary is that YOU DON’T WANT CONSISTENCY! You want your guest to BE ABLE TO ORDER IT ANY WAY THEY LIKE. A good bartender knows how to use the spice bottles and makes 100% of them to order.”

    Travis, they can order it anyway they like, but when someone simply orders one off your menu with no added request, you want the last one to taste like the first one. This is Bartending 101. Aren’t you the one who has a school?

    And yes, if someone wants mild (which is like…5 people in my 8 years behind the bar), it’s pretty easy to grab some tomato juice and make a mild Bloody Mary (I’ll use the recipe you listed) for that person. Spicy? Happens a lot! I’ll toss a few extra dashes of something something in there. But 98% of my orders are for the one that’s on the menu. So, yes, consistency is key.

    Mixologist? I hate the word. I just like making a great drink for my customers, but I don’t think it’s going to get you very far by calling the guy whose blog you’re commenting on a “bad bartender”. xx

    Oh, and Jeffrey? I’m beginning to think this might be the Daiquiri Guy coming after you. That or he’s a damn good troll.

  • brendonintendo says:

    hear hear!!

    also, Bloody Morgenthaler is definitely going on a list soon! 😉

  • I always say to my friends who blog, “If your posts don’t get any comments, either nobody’s reading, or nobody cares.” And thanks to all of you, I know that at least one of those is true. Granted, you’ve all proven the power of anonymity on the internet by being as snarky and cruel to each other as possible, but that’s to be expected. In short, you’re all a bunch of douchebags but I love each and every one of you for reading my bullshit.

    Anyway. When I was putting together the Bloody Mary thing for Clyde, I did a lot of research into the original recipes. And yes, it’s true: an original Bloody Mary is nothing more than a little salt, some black pepper and cayenne, a dash here and there of lemon and Worcestershire, a bunch of vodka and an equal measure of tomato juice.

    But you know what? I couldn’t make it work. I tried and tried, but nothing I did came close to what I, and I assumed, my guests, would have thought of as a Bloody Mary. I likened it to a Hot Toddy in that regard. A Hot Toddy, by definition, is just whiskey and hot water. But I’d never be able to fill seats if I sold people a glass of hot whiskey water when they ordered a Hot Toddy. It’s just not very good, and certainly not the lemony-gingery soothing drink they’re expecting.

    So I went back to my old Bloody Mary recipe from way back. You know, a whole lot more Worcestershire, more citrus, more spice, the later historical addition of celery salt, all that. And from there I began work on this pre-mix I wrote about above. This post, and pretty much everything on this site, was never meant to be of an imperative tone. I don’t intend to say, “If you’re not making a Bloody Mary my way, you’re a terrible bartender” – What I’m hoping to do here is help other bartenders overcome some of the hurdles I’ve encountered in my career.

    Listen. If you like Bloody Mary mix, then go for it. If you like making a simple drink to order, do that. But if you happen to be like me, and you want to make a Bloody Mary the way I (and a lot of others) do, then here’s an easy way to make it happen. But putting each other down, insulting another city’s clientele, crying your fucking eyes out because someone suggested making something from scratch rather than using your commercial product, that’s just not nice.

    We’re all trying to achieve the same thing here: we all want to serve quality products to people, serve them quickly, and make the bar some money. So save the vitriol for the schlubs who tell you that a Daiquiri is made with canned sour mix and nose hairs, and remember this: listening to another point of view is good for you, It helps you grow as a bartender, and as a person. Also, if the term “Bloody Morgenthaler” catches on, I’m going to come after you fuckers. After all, I have all of your IP addresses logged.

    That’s all. Go back to debating the drink. I get a real boner from it.

  • Travis M. says:

    hmm. Intentionally misunderstood. Very hipster. More hipster than most. I should have known.

    Brendo. Tell us about celery soda. I don’t know what it is or how it would apply to a Bloody Mary.

  • brendonintendo says:

    …and don’t even get me started on celery soda!!!

  • The Exotic Mixologist says:

    I may have overlooked it being previously mentioned, but is there really nothing to be said about letting the flavors mingle ovetnight?!?- especially when you are juicing your own toms,I feel that pre-batching is a must, who cares about losing a couple bucks for over-batching the best bloody in the city……? Think about it!
    @XoticMixologist #mixology

  • Dr Filth says:



    Unfortunately you come across as one of those annoying bartenders who thinks that ‘their way’ is the only way and all others are wrong…. That my friend is a sad and arrogant way to approach hospitality!

    The beauty of the world of Bloody Mary’s is the fact that they are such a versatile drink and can be tweaked with different ingredients depending on the bartenders style…

    After all, the Ceasar would not have come around at all if people were not allowed to experiment like in your tiny universe!

    Your ultra basic (bland) version is an option for basic (bland) bartenders…. In my humble opinion lemon juice and salt and pepper are certainly not optional. Have you ever seen a top chef make Bolognese without salt and pepper? Professional suicide.

    Different chillis, horseradish, wasabi, bay leaf and rosemary infused vodka, even kimchi are just a few tiny tweaks I have seen used to great effect over the years.

    The Bloody Mary is a great example of a drink that can retain it’s traditional essence even with fantastical twists. I use approximately 20 ingredients in my recipe. It still looks and tastes like a Bloody Mary, yet has incredible depth of flavor. Pre batching my mix saves hours over a working week!

    It’s just good business bro!

    Feel free to climb down off your high horse and join the rest of us at the bar for a drink!

  • Travis M. says:

    Thanx, John Claude, for being better than me; for having a higher quality of patron than me. How very hipster of you.

    I said there is no need to prebatch a Bloody Mary. Frankly, I believe that you shouldn’t! Any good bartender can spice that baby up in a jiffy and waste no time. I am sorry you struggle so mightily with the Worcestershire bottle. You do not need to pronounce it for your guests every time, just to show your prowess. You would probably attempt to pronounce it your own way anyway, just to be extra hipster.

    The thing about the Bloody Mary is that YOU DON’T WANT CONSISTENCY! You want your guest to BE ABLE TO ORDER IT ANY WAY THEY LIKE. A good bartender knows how to use the spice bottles and makes 100% of them to order.

    But then again, I was a bartender. I made them drinks and I made them laugh. You can pre-batch like a mo-fo and you love to double strain. You, John Claude, are likely a MIXOLOGIST. No interpersonal, but makes a mean shrub!

    I live in Victoria, BC. Also a strong mixology town. Thanx for passive-aggressively putting me down as many times as you could in your post. I hope I never accidentally sit at your bar.

    Justin, if you are going to make a house speciality like that, I definitely agree with prebatching. You can’t make THAT on the fly! … and to diverge from the original quite THAT far? Yes, I would make sure to rename it. What you are calling “The Morganthaler Mary” is very different than “The Bloody Mary”. It is hard to diverge quite so far with the Negroni, inside of only three ingredients. But, still… I do sorta want to use different names for different versions of the same drink. It lets the customer know that there is a different experience in each glass.

  • John Claude says:


    If I can cut down my drink making time by even a few seconds, it can mean the world to me and to my customers. Having to reach for all those ingredients individually takes quite a bit more time than doing a pre-batch. You admit to working in “simple” places, so I imagine your clientele had a “simple” palate and really couldn’t tell the difference between a great Bloody Mary and a mediocre one. Nothing to really toot your horn about there, Trav.

    I’m also guessing that your Bloody Marys are pretty damn inconsistent, and consistency is key. On top of that I can’t fathom why you’re so against making it beforehand. There’s no downside to it whatsoever.

    Just out of curiousity, what are these things that “cannot be pre-batched”? Because I can pretty much guarantee you, if it’s something that goes in a cocktail, someone in Portland or one of the other very cocktail-centric cities can make it.

  • Justin T says:

    Fine. There is no need to batch a Bloody Mary. I do, however, benefit from batching a Bloody Morgenthaler (or Bloody Justin etc.). Do you name every Negroni variation something different? 😉

    I am quite sure any barkeep worth their salt could mix a traditional bloody to order (i.e., I agree with Travis), but the more ingredient intensive recipes are made easier and faster with more consistent quality by making a mix.

    For example, here is Jeff’s Bloody mix he posted a couple years ago:
    1 46-oz can tomato juice
    1 garlic clove, minced
    ½ small avocado
    ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
    1½ oz lemon juice
    1½ tbsp steak sauce
    2 tsp cracked pepper
    1½ tsp celery salt
    1½ tsp hot sauce
    1 tsp horseradish

    My recipe, and likely many others, adds ground chiles, red pepper flakes, some hard Italian cheese, and other bits of this and that that take my fancy. Making them to order is fine if you have the time, but the consistency is impossible.

    The point of the above article was to retain the advantages of batching (consistency and speed) while eliminating the downside (potential waste). I think Jeff had a good idea.

  • Travis M. says:

    Justin, no. My point is that the Bloody Mary is so simple that I have no idea why anyone would ever need to prebatch ANYTHING AT ALL for the drink.

    Here is the full method:

    Rim glass with salt
    Ice in Glass
    Booze over Ice
    2-4 drops of tobacco
    3-5 drops of Worcestershire

    -a little lemon juice
    -maybe some salt/pepper
    -Jeffery likes to use celery salt

    Top with Tomato Juice
    Garnish with a lemon wedge

    Smile and Serve.

    That is the traditional Bloody Mary. Regional differences occur, but the Bloody Mary is just that. Simple. Savoury.

    No need to batch.

  • Justin T says:

    I understand that regional differences exist and that many places like very straight forward bloodys/ceasars. So I understand what Travis is saying, a simple bloody mary is quick and easy to throw together. However, in many U.S. regions, these drinks are significantly more complicated.

    The bloody mary’s I make have like 15 ingredients in varying amounts. There is no way you could prepare them in a bar setting without prebatching. The idea of batching the spice and acid mix is a good idea.

    Jeff, what would you think about adding NGS to the spice mix? At 190 proof, the mix might last even better, then just add a bit of ice water and your base at serving time.

  • RP says:

    A Ceasar doesn’t typically have lemon juice, that’s an Americanized version. Here in the north, it’s sans citrus, or if anything, a squirt of lime with a lime on the rim.

  • Travis M. says:

    Oh. And the best booze to use in a Caesar?


    Think Sangrita. Well, the tomato based one. A Caesar, and even a spicey Bloody Mary are very much akin to the tastey side for tequila, sangrita.

    There are the two types: Tomato-based with a bit of citrus and spices and the one with sour orange and pomegranite juice. I know that the pom juice one is considered the original. The tomato based one is pretty excellent though.

    A Caesar or Bloody Mary made with tequila is very much like having the tomato-based sangrita and tequila! Bedmates!

    It’s a perfect way to drink mixto, if you have to. 😉

  • Travis M. says:

    I see. I did miss one detail. That detail is that Jeffery’s Bloody Mary Mix is only the spices. I did read that as having the tomato juice in it also.

    Still, I have no idea why one would need to do that. I don’t know why one would need to prebatch spices. Like I said, I have made zillions of both drinks and I have never used a spice pre-mix. I have used the tobasco bottle, the worcestershire bottle, maybe a squeeze of citrus, salt on the rim and some like a dash of salt/pepper in the drink. Jeffery is taking artistic license in using celery salt in the Mary. Still, I would not need that done in advance.

    I have worked some very busy bars in my town. Not the clubs mind you, but I have worked in situations where we needed three bartenders to keep up. That is a busy bar. No pre-mixed Mary’s or Caesars.

    You need your customer to be able to say “Spicey” or “Mild” and make them to order. EVERY TIME!

    But then, in Canada, I have never seen a bottle of commercial “Bloody Mary Mix”.

  • John Claude says:

    Travis, absolutely no one is saying that you should juice your own tomatoes or drain your own clam juice to make a decent Bloody Mary mix. I’m sorry that you wrote that novel to try and discredit the idea of doing that when it wasn’t what anyone was talking about at all. We’re saying that using store bought ingredients to assemble your own mix is much cheaper, tastier, and quite a bit more fun than just buying a handle of the commercial mix and calling it good.

  • Travis M. says:

    I have made a zillion Bloody Marys and 10 zillion Caesars. I was a Sunday afternoon sports bar bartender in a Canadian border town for nearly 10 years. My bar was very popular and I told everyone I made the best Caesars in town. Somehow, they believed me. Mostly, I think they liked me, so they told their friends that I made a great Caesar and they came to visit. My time as a bartender was pre-Jeffrey Morganthanler; pre-cocktail nerd, and at a very mainstream place where everything was done as simply as possible. Now I run a school and I try so hard to enrich the students in such a way that they do not coming off thinking “Bar mix is the only way” or “pre-batching everything is the only way” because the truth is, somewhere in teh middle is the best way. But you gotta balance your time and energy expenditures. Not EVERYTHING can be pre-batched. You gotta buy something. And not everything can be purchased. In order to get the quality product that you need to maintain your market share,sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to rise to the top and batch that shit!

    Anyway, with my zillions of Marys and Caesars, I need to say that I might consider using a pre-batched Caesar mix if I was selling Caesars in a market that was saturated with competition and there is a sort-of “Caesar War” going on among bars. Say, maybe in Calgary, Alberta, where it was invented. Maybe even in Victoria, BC, where brunch is a religion. But, for the most part, this type of competition over the Caesar does not exsist. Caesar mix is not easy to make. It contains shellfish ‘juice’ for one. Don’t want to fuck up in the preparations of that one! Also, it is just so complicated. The best way to make a quality Caesar is to simply bite the bullet and use Mott’s Clamato. Pre-made, high quality. If you want to mix it up, Motts makes about nine different Clamato mixes. The bartender still needs to add the spices manually.

    When it comes to the Bloody Mary, though, I have never figured out why anyone had to pre-anything. You need some tomato juice. Don’t tell me that you can make better tomato juice than, say Heinz. You might make juice as good, as Brendo discussed in another reply above, but not likely better. How can I be so certain? Tomato juice is pressed tomatoes, and salt. Maybe a tiny bit of water. Blend that shit up to make sure it is all pureed nicely and that is that. The thing you might have over Heinz is sourcing better tomatoes, but to make a better juice with appropriately less effort? Uh. No. The rest of the drink is just seasoning. Some tobasco and some worcestershire sauce with optional dabs of salt/pepper/celery salt/other?

    The seasoning in both the Mary and the Caesar are identical. After making many zillions of each drink I can tell you that it is very much best if you let the customer ask for spicey or mild. In order to do that, you must spice them individually. I do not know anyone in my town who pre-batches Caesars and it is THE most popular cocktail in my entire country, by ALOT! All bars have tobasco and worcestershire on them and all bartenders ask “spicey or mild” and all Mary’s and Caesars are made to order, even in night clubs.

    So, with basic tomato juice very easily accessible, the reigning King of the Caesar being Mott’s, and best practices being to allow patrons to request spicy or mild (aka individually spiced drinks) I see no actual need to pre-batch. Especially the ultra-simple Bloody Mary.

  • It’s a great idea. Streamlines the process without sacrificing quality.

    Does the lemon juice go off at all? Also, with that much Worcestershire, does it get too sweet or rich?

    I want to try this.

  • Luis Hernandez says:

    I think if the argument for buying premade stuff is consistency is a weak one, no doubt there are good products out there worth notice, however if the problem was consistence I don’t see the different between making a Bloody Mary and a Manhattan, or a whiskey sour, it’s why we measure and taste of cocktails to make sure they are accurate and consistence, we also like to display our ideas and skill, other bartender in sports bars and things like that can use premade, but for most of us it’s the pride in our product and it’s what makes us different from others and keeps people coming back to out bars.

  • Sayward says:

    That’s exactly what I did for the bar I was running. We also had horseradish, olive jiuice, and white pepper instead of black. Much easier that way and can still be adjusted.

  • brendonintendo says:

    I think Erin has a point, some folks do just reject out of hand any pre-mixed option. I have never tried Erins’ brands so I have no opinion on them. There are some premade products that I would rather buy than make myself though, if only because 1)I can only make it as good as them, not better 2)days only have 24 hours
    A good example would be Giffard non-alcohol white chocolate syrup.

    Death to sour-mix because of how sour mix hurt the trade of bartending, and because it tastes gross.

    I second the motion for the Morgenthaler Method video on Caesars (maybe touching on the Bloody Mary as a transitional cocktail enroute to the clearly superior Canadian hangover fix) I think the comments section would be a riot.

  • This is great! I’m always trying to find more efficient ways to do difficult things and complex drinks like the bloody mary are hard to make more efficient. Great writeup!

  • Matt R. says:


    This is the same approach we use at 320. Our mix is batched with everything but the tomato and it lasts for 7-9 days in the fridge, and we just add vodka and tomato in the tin, roll it a bit to integrate, and dump it in a glass with some garnish.

  • Raymond says:

    Wow, you want to tell people it is okay to use a premix, but you chose to do it while coming off like a complete dick on the website of one of the most respected bartenders in the country…interesting marketing strategy.

    Nice post as always Jeff, would love to see a “The Morgenthaler Method” on the Caesar or Bloody Mary.

  • Anonymous says:

    Not my intent, John Claude. Sorry if it came across that way. It’s not like I talked about my brand specifically, just mentioned that I have one, and how it has hurt my street cred. Sorry.

  • John Claude says:

    Oh, hey. Look, someone trying to use you for free advertising. And yes, like Brendon said, death to bottle mix. Especially when making a good batch of your own is so easy.

  • brendonintendo says:

    because death to sour mix.

  • Anonymous says:

    OR (gasp and act like you’re going to faint) use a premix, purchased from either your food or liquor distributor. I know, I know… HOW ON EARTH CAN I COMPROMISE MY INTEGRITY BY USING A PREMADE PRODUCT?!?!? Get over yourself, and find one of the few premade mixes that will rock your socks! I may be impartial, as I own one of these brands, and deal with smug bartenders, “mixologists” and restaurant owners that don’t realize that they’re missing a great branding opportunity to be able to serve a delicious and consistent product, whose recipe won’t walk out the door when the bartender who batches it goes on to his next gig. (I’ve seen it happen again and again!) The problem with making your own is simply consistency, and continuity. The unfortunate thing about taking my recipe that I used for years, and turning into a bottle product that EVERYONE can use, is that I’ve somehow lost my street cred in the eyes of my colleagues in the bar industry who think that using anything (other than spirits) that come in a bottle is akin to selling out 🙂
    A conundrum I deal with daily.

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