9 Alternatives to Vodka in a Bloody Mary

September 16, 2020

When you’re craving a traditional Bloody Mary, you naturally reach for your favorite bottle of vodka. But when you’re feeling a little adventurous, why not reach for some different spirits and beverages to add to your tomato juice?

Below are eight delicious ingredients you can swap for vodka in a Bloody Mary. Of course, don’t forget to add a meat straw garnish before sipping!

9 Alternatives to Vodka in Your Next Bloody Mary

1. Tequila

To add a spicy-sweet kick to your Bloody Mary — and turn it into a Bloody Maria — you’ll need some tequila. Any tequila will do, although tequila that’s been aged can amp up your drink’s flavor and aroma by adding essences of vanilla or aged oak.

2. Dark Rum

Let’s say you want to bring out the sugars in your tomato juice. Dark rum in a Bloody Mary gives it a syrupy overtone without adding thickness to the beverage itself. Choose rum instead of vodka when pairing your Bloody Mary with acidic or spicy foods.

3. Soju

Looking for a somewhat exotic alternative? Get to the nearest liquor store to see if they sell soju. This Asia-born spirit shares plenty of vodka characteristics, but it’s on the sweeter side thanks to its core ingredients of sweet potatoes and sorghum. Surprise your guests who expect a straightforward Bloody Mary with a “Soju Special.”

4. Vermouth

When dry taste is what you’re after, try mixing up a vermouth-based Bloody Mary variant. Vermouth contains botanicals and herbs, giving it a genuinely down-to-earth splash. The drier the vermouth, the more bitter the result. Try a few types of vermouth to see which brings out the brightness in your juice.

5. Aquavit

Aquavit or akvavit is a distilled spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century. Akvavit is distilled from grain and potatoes, and is flavoured with a variety of herbs. It is a great option to use in a Bloody Caesar which is the cousin of the bloody mary and always ever-popular north of the boarder!

6. Gin

Fancy a “Red Snapper” for a morning or lunch drink? You’re basically drinking a Bloody Mary with gin as vodka’s placeholder. Gin adds a refreshing twist to your Bloody Mary thanks to being made from aromatics and juniper berries. You may get a whiff of pine when your gin Bloody Mary hits your nose, but the bouquet will fade as you enjoy this refreshing cocktail.

7. Bourbon

No kidding around here — some Bloody Mary fanciers have a penchant for mixing their tomato juice with bourbon. Yes, bourbon is notoriously sweet, but it’s tantalizing in Bloody Mary concoctions. To temper the sweetness, add a meat straw, pickles and sliced onions to your glass.

8. Mezcal

Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave. It is often assumed that mezcal and tequila are the same thing but they are not exclusively interchangeable. An easy way to think about it is that all tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. Tequila is a type of mezcal much like scotch and bourbon are all a type of whiskey. Mezcal can be made from more than 30 varieties of agave. Since Mezcal is made from agave cores that are traditionally cooked inside pits lined with lava rocks and charcoal, then distilled in clay pots, mezcal tends to have a more noticeable smokiness in its taste. This spirit is a great option in a smoky bloody mary recipe.

9. Beef Stock

Maybe you’re not in the mood for alcohol. If a mocktail is what you want, beef stock is a perfect substitute for vodka. Add splashes and dashes of Tobasco, Worcestershire and lemon juice for the best Faux Bloody Mary this side of the Bartender’s Little Black Book.

Thirsty yet? You have some experimenting to do. Put on your mad scientist hat and start designing your perfectly personalized Bloody Mary!

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