Bloody marys are the cornerstone of a well-executed brunch (and, arguably, a balanced breakfast). This versatile morning cocktail can be tailored to every palate, whether taste buds prefer the expected (tomato juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, a celery stalk) or something more unique (a garnish of pickles and candied bacon, anyone?).
Whatever the recipe, the key ingredient to an excellent bloody mary is a well-crafted vodka. Luckily for bloody mary enthusiasts, there's no shortage of excellent vodkas vying to fill your highball.
Read on to discover the 10 best vodka for bloody marys, from classic to adventurous.
For a deliciously drinkable bloody mary with a touch of artisan appeal, Square One is the perfect go-to vodka. From pure organic distilling to a well-balanced flavor profile, this versatile vodka mixes well in both traditional and spicy bloody mary variations.
We’ve grown accustomed to a range of creative vodka flavors—whipped cream, cake, and cotton candy, just to name a few—but if you’ve never tried bacon-infused vodka, now’s the time. As full-on breakfast bloody mary, rife with earthy and savory flavors, begin to populate brunch menus, the bacon vodka trend is well worth giving a try.
As though Brooklyn didn’t already have brunch on lockdown, this pick from Industry City Distillery seals the deal. Distilled from beet sugar, Industry Standard is a little bit sweet and a little bit savory—the perfect fix for anyone looking for a brunch cocktail off the beaten path.
American Star Ghost Chili Vodka
With the perfect blend of clean, smoky heat and an adventurous edge, this ghost chili–infused vodka is ideal for those who harbor a passion for spicy cocktails. While this may not be the ideal vodka for the faint of heart, it’s the perfect pairing for peppery, spice-forward bloody marys.
Prairie Cucumber Vodka
If you’ve ever been tempted to count a bloody mary as a serving of vegetables, this yummy organic cucumber vodka is a nudge in the right direction. Distilled from corn and laced with fresh, ripe cucumber flavors, this is an excellent vodka for bloody marys that are clean, light, and refreshing.
Based in the coastal Icelandic village of Borganes, Reyka relies on pure arctic spring water, lava rock filtration, and sustainable geothermal energy to craft each bottle of its small-batch vodka (each batch takes six hours to make and is limited to 255 cases). The vodka is distilled in one of the world's few remaining copper Carter-Head stills, which gives the spirit the notably clean and crisp finish that pairs so well with tomato juice.
A bartender's favorite since its debut in 1986, Absolut Peppar is a short-cut to a spicy bloody mary. The spirit is infused with the flavors of chili, green bell, and jalapeño peppers, resulting in a full-bodied, zesty vodka that lends itself perfectly to a bloody mary—particularly if the person holding the highball isn't afraid of a little heat.
Tito's Handmade Vodka
Based in Austin—in Texas’s oldest legal distillery—Tito's uses USA-grown corn as the foundation for its batch-made vodka. The spirit is distilled in old-fashioned pot stills, which, while more labor intensive, is said to provide more control and refinement over the process. This extra attention, coupled with the use of corn, creates a vodka that's full-bodied yet slightly sweet—a delicious contrast to the bold flavors of the bloody mary.
Each of Anestasia's faceted glass bottles holds vodka that's markedly mild, thanks to the spirit's intense distillation and filtration processes. The water has something to do with it, too: The distillery is based in Bend, Oregon, where the water is naturally soft and nearly void of calcium, magnesium, and other mineral salts that can affect the flavor. This vodka begs to be enjoyed neat, but its clean finish and subtle sweetness are an excellent complement to tomato and zesty spices.
Chilled Dills Pickle Flavored Vodka
The tang from this pickle-flavored vodka is a welcome contrast to the savoriness of a bloody mary. Crafted in Charleston, South Carolina, the vodka is distilled six times before being infused (at a molecular level, no less) with dill pickle flavor with staying power—even when diluted with ice cubes or used in a mixed drink.
Up next, keep reading to learn how to make a Bloody Mary at home.