Cocktail Sauce Was Practically Made For The Ultimate Bloody Mary

Few savory cocktails have the allure of the Bloody Mary. Whether it's love for its hangover-reducing properties or apprehension at the idea of so many vegetables together in a glass, mentioning the drink is sure to elicit a strong response of some kind. Throw in an ever-expanding lineup of recipe variations — like the Bloody Maria, which subs in tequila for vodka, or the Canadian Caesar, which adds Clamato in place of tomato juice — and the cocktail opens up quite a jar of possibilities. Feeling overwhelmed but still want to stir up a tasty new rendition of the classic beverage? Try mixing up a Bloody Mary with cocktail sauce.

Cocktail sauce plays well with many of the standard Bloody Mary's indispensable components: Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice, celery salt, and black pepper. But, flavor and texture-wise, it packs a much bigger punch. The ketchup included in the thicker sauce delivers a sweet but still tomato-heavy taste, while its hint of horseradish ups the drink's more pungent notes. When combined with some fresh tomato juice — and a good pour of vodka, of course — a Bloody Mary made with cocktail sauce delivers the perfect boozy accompaniment to a seafood brunch.

Add cocktail sauce for a seafood-pairing Bloody Mary

Traditionally, cocktail sauce is served with seafood — most commonly shrimp, but sometimes other crustacean, fish, and mollusk-based dishes, too. As the legends go, the sauce is so-named due to boozy involvement of some kind in its origins. Modern versions of the sauce are mostly attributed to a 19th-century California gold miner who chugged a mixture of oysters and vinegar out of his empty whiskey glass, deeming it an "oyster cocktail."

As you might expect given this history, a cocktail sauce-based Bloody Mary can be elevated further by adding some seafood on top as a garnish. For example, you can craft an extra tasty seafood Bloody Mary using cocktail sauce alongside tomato juice as a base and oysters and grilled prawns as drink toppings. The cocktail sauce in the drink is a natural merger, marrying the salty notes of the seafood with the boozy component.

The tangy-sweet sauce works well in other Bloody Mary deviations, too. Throw in some clam juice or Clamato to bridge the gap to a Caesar, swap vodka for gin to make a Ruddy Mary, or include a raw oyster and serve it in a smaller glass, yielding a boozy oyster shooter. You can also use cocktail sauce to fashion a sippable version of a shrimp cocktail or keep things non-alcoholic by omitting booze entirely. No matter the rendition, remember that a big part of a Bloody Mary's appeal is its presentation — the drink dazzles even more when it's fun to look at.