17 Uses For Bloody Mary Mix Outside Your Brunch Cocktail

Brunch and Bloody Marys are synonymous; they bring thoughts of late afternoon on a Sunday, eggs on a burger, and hair of the dog. If all you know about the Bloody Mary is its reputation as a hangover cure, it's time for a little classic cocktail schooling.

According to Best Bloody Mary, two stories have claimed to be the originator: The first is that the name comes from Mary I of England, daughter of Henry VIII, who was murdered in 1558 in the name of Catholicism, earning her the "Bloody Mary" name. The second comes from 1920s Paris, where an American bartender named Fernand Petiot mixed up a drink made with equal parts tomato juice and vodka and took the name suggestion from a patron who said the drink reminded him of the "Bucket of Blood Club" in Chicago and a girl he knew named Mary.

History aside, it's essential to know that the classic cocktail, traditionally scratch-made with tomato juice, vodka, Tabasco, and lemon juice, can also be made with a pre-made mix. And when it comes to the Bloody Mary, it's all about the mix. There are hundreds of Bloody Mary mixes on the market, but the one thing they all have in common is their ability to be useful in a cocktail glass and the kitchen.

Marinate your chicken, beef, or shrimp

The goal of a marinade for protein is to tenderize it and flavor it deeply before cooking. A good marinade has three parts: an acid, an oil, and flavoring agents. Whether you plan to marinate your meat for a couple of hours or overnight, the longer that marinade soaks into each nook and cranny of your chicken breasts, shrimp, or steak, the more flavor will come through when you throw it on the grill or into the oven.

Enter the Bloody Mary mix. Everything you need for a delicious and zippy meat marinade is right in the bottle; the tomato juice is the acidic part to tenderize the meat, and the hot sauce, horseradish, salt, and pepper act as your flavoring agents. All you need to do is add a few glugs of oil, taste for proper seasoning, adjust accordingly, and let the mix do the rest.

Make a gazpacho

Gazpacho is the unsung hero of the soup category. Cold, refreshing, and intensely flavorful, a traditional gazpacho is loaded with veggies and takes less than 30 minutes to throw together. If you're whipping up a batch of gazpacho at home, take a look at your ingredient list: tomatoes, English cucumber, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic, red onion, cilantro, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and tomato juice.

How can you use a Bloody Mary mix in this ingredient-heavy soup? Tomato juice, salt, pepper, and hot sauce are almost certainly in most mixes. And chances are you can find one that fits the bill for a gazpacho, packed with all the extra flavorings like garlic, vinegar, and Worcestershire, meaning the flavor base of your soup has already been made for you. Chop up your tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper, taste and season, let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, and enjoy.

Use in a slow-cooked chili

Chili is perfect for the home chef who has a lot of ingredients at their disposal but doesn't have the time to tend to a meal as it's cooking. While everyone's favorite homemade chili recipe is unique to flavor preferences and maybe family traditions, one thing all of the best chili recipes do have in common is the need for a liquid component as well as lots of spices for a deep, complex flavor that only gets better as it simmers on the stove or in a slow cooker.

Here's where the Bloody Mary mix will do much of the heavy lifting. Packed with many of the ingredients in some of the best chili recipes like tomatoes, chilis, and garlic, it's also playing the part of that liquid component instead of beef or chicken stock, plus all the added seasoning and spice from the salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Plus, Bloody Mary mix will have far more flavor for vegetarian chili than a vegetable stock.

Make a spicy tomato soup

Tomato soup, in its most classic form, is nearly perfect. Traditionally, tomato soup is made with onion, carrot, celery, garlic, crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, butter, salt and pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat. Combine your ingredients in a pot, simmer, blend, and serve with the necessary grilled cheese sandwich on the side. Incredibly simple, and yet, can it be improved upon?

The simple answer is yes. This is when a good Bloody Mary mix steps up and lends a hand. Find a thicker mix focusing more on the tomato element to ensure that the flavor is more tomato-y without too much acidity. The rest of your flavor elements are in the mix, meaning all you need to do is saute your veggies, pour in the mixture, taste and season as necessary, and let this spicy tomato soup come to life. Don't forget the grilled cheese, though.

Braise beef for a stew

As the colder months approach and your refreshing summer salads transition to cozy winter soups, a beef stew is the perfect warm hug to battle that bitter chill. Like chili, a stew comprises several components, all of which work together to impart deep flavor and richness to the beef. Most stew recipes will call for a liquid, like beef or chicken stock, to braise the meat as it cooks, tenderizing it and breaking it down so that it melts in your mouth by the time you take that first bite. 

So, why not swap some of that beef stock for a richly flavored Bloody Mary mix? Look for one with some serious oomph, perhaps featuring Worcestershire sauce or beef bouillon for depth of flavor and added meatyness. Plus, the tomato sauce in the mix will only help to break down that beef further, making for a tender, delicious bite.

Whip up a dip for chips and veggies

There's nothing quite as satisfying as a homemade dip, whether for watching a sporting event or just a midday snack. Whether you're craving veggie-forward like salsa or something creamier, that bottle of Bloody Mary mix on your bar cart can be a crucial ingredient in your next dip endeavor.

If you're going for a fire-roasted salsa recipe, the addition of Bloody Mary mix almost makes too much sense; chop up your produce, throw it in the blender, and add in a few tablespoons of mix to act as an extra flavoring agent, bumping up that fiery heat and citrusy zest to a new level. Going the creamy route instead? Even something like a baked feta dip recipe can benefit from a few glugs of spicy Bloody Mary mix. Make sure you taste and season the dip after adding the mix to ensure your heat and flavors are all equally balanced.

Use for a spicy pasta dish

A comforting bowl of pasta can turn even the foulest of moods into a happy one, and while the noodle element of the dish is undoubtedly crucial, the sauce brings everything together. If you crave spicy noodles, consider using that Bloody Mary mix in your next arrabiata sauce recipe, not just for the tomato of it all but for a more complex, savory heat that chili flakes alone just can't provide.

When constructing your sauce, finding that balance of flavor and spice is vital, and a good pasta sauce takes a bit of time as all the flavors in the pot develop. Find a mix with the right flavor and heat components, and start with just a little, adding more as you find that perfect balance. If you're going for a creamier sauce, don't go too heavy on the mix to ensure your sauce doesn't get watery.

Whisk into a salad dressing

If a salad isn't tossed with a delicious dressing, is it a salad or just a bowl of lettuce? A good salad needs a flavorful sauce to tie everything together, and if you're a fan of a spicier dressing, Bloody Mary mix is the perfect ingredient.

A vinaigrette recipe is one of the most uncomplicated and delicious salad dressings to make at home, mainly because the ingredient list is relatively short and sweet, and there's plenty of room for creativity. You need an oil, an acid, salt, and aromatics — what you choose to use for each is entirely up to you. And thanks to the versatility of Bloody Mary mix, the acid, salt, and aromatics have already been provided for you. The best part of a homemade vinaigrette? As it sits in your refrigerator, the flavors will only continue developing, meaning it gets better with age.

Make a spicy shrimp ceviche

Shrimp ceviche is one of those dishes that ticks all the boxes of the ideal meal: It's the perfect nosh on a hot summer day, can be enjoyed as a complete meal or a light snack, and requires no heat even though the shrimp gets cooked during preparation. That culinary magic comes from using acid, which cooks that raw shrimp as it marinades. Ceviche allows you to be creative regarding the ingredients and flavors, from crunchy veggies to herbs and spices.

If you're unsure how to spice up your ceviche, use the Bloody Mary mix as your guide. The tomato juice will act as your acidic component to cook the shrimp and add the right amount of savory flavor, citrusy zest, and heat for extra punch. Be sure to marinate the shrimp for 2-3 hours to let the shrimp "cook" so the flavors in the mix can permeate into the shrimp. From there, prepare the fresh, crunchy veggies of your choice and get to snacking.

Slow cook for ragu

As colder weather moves in, our home cooking slows down, too, and a good ragu recipe is no exception to that rule. Made with beef, vegetables, stock, wine, and most importantly, time, this classic dish is the ideal blanket for a bowl of hearty pappardelle or tagliatelle, rice, or even all on its own, like a bowl of dressed-up chili. 

If you fancy yourself somewhat of a ragu purist, don't knock the idea of using Bloody Mary mix in this slow-cooked sauce until you try it. A good mix will have many elements you need for ragu; tomato juice acts as your stock and wine, providing savory flavor and acid, garlic, salt, and pepper, plus that added heat from horseradish and chili peppers. In this case, use a mix with a meatier flavor profile to ensure the right amount of umami for complexity and depth. Add in your additional aromatics, taste, adjust the seasoning as needed, and let that ragu bubble away.

Spice up a cold pasta salad

Pasta salad is excellent year-round, but there's something about a cold pasta salad at a picnic or summer cookout that just hits differently. For the barbecue side salad novice, pasta salad is like a blank slate with which to build out the flavors and textures of your choosing, and if you're unsure of how exactly you want to season and spice up your noodles, let Bloody Mary mix guide you in the right direction.

Several elements make a delicious pasta salad, but the dressing ties everything together. A good sauce is balanced with the right amount of acid, salt, sweetness, and heat. With a good Bloody Mary mix as your base, you've got all that plus more to ensure every noodle-y bite packs a flavorful punch. Make sure to test the salt and acid level of your Bloody Mary-based dressing with an al dente noodle first to ensure you've reached that perfect flavor balance before you gently toss everything together.

Give traditional meatloaf a spicy twist

Meatloaf is one of those classic dishes that, when you've found the right recipe, you rarely try to stray from it. However, if you're looking for a way to give this quintessential weeknight masterpiece a flavor upgrade, the Bloody Mary mix may be just what you're looking for.

A classic meatloaf recipe has beef, olive oil, garlic, onion, dried herbs, bread crumbs, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, salt and pepper, and, of course, ketchup. Swap out that chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce for your Bloody mix to keep the flavor profile strong without going overboard. You'll still get the liquid element and the hearty meatiness from the Worcestershire in the mix, plus some added heat and acid to balance things out. And since removing the ketchup would be a big no-no here (is it even meatloaf without it?) a good mix's tomato base will help enhance that slightly sweet tomato richness that a hearty meatloaf deserves.

Upgrade your meatball sauce

Achieving the perfect meatball is like reaching kitchen nirvana; it can be challenging, but once you do, it's magnificent. Equally as important as getting your meatballs right is achieving the perfect sauce for those meatballs to swim in, and if you're unsure where to get your sauce started, let Bloody Mary mix be your taste guru.

A good Bloody Mary mix packed with garlic and savory herbs and spices will hit all the right notes to build the base of your sauce, and if you're using a mix with Worcestershire sauce, you'll amp things up to have a richer, smokier flavor. From here, any additional ingredients are up to you — some chopped tomatoes or a few glugs of your favorite red wine will only help to intensify the flavors. When your meatballs are ready for a swim, let them simmer in the sauce for a while to let the flavors seep into each bite.

Freeze bloody mary ice pops

If you're still unconvinced of the versatility of Bloody Mary mix, you're in for a frozen surprise. Not all popsicles have to be sweet and a savory, bloody mary-based ice pop is the perfect example.

Think of a savory tomato ice pop as the hangover cure you didn't know you needed, but once you try one, you won't want to live without it. While the standard recipe requires you to chop and blend a handful of ingredients, using Bloody Mary mix instead cuts out all that work, meaning all you need to do is find the right mix to freeze. To make it into a fully frozen hair-of-the-dog moment, drop the finished product into a glass of chilled vodka and watch that hangover disappear. If you're going for a teetotaller approach instead, think of this as a cold summer soup with no bowl or spoon required.

Whip up a homemade barbeque sauce

A delicious dipping sauce is a great equalizer; food opinions may differ for this or that, but we can all agree that there's nothing better than dipping a crispy french fry or chicken nugget into a savory, tangy BBQ sauce. One of the many positives of a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce recipe is that while the flavors may seem difficult to achieve in your home kitchen, it's simpler than you think. And if you need a place to start, turn to none other than Bloody Mary mix for an unbeatable flavor base.

Your basic BBQ sauce starts with ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce to hit those critical sweet, savory, and acidic notes, plus spices, such as garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt and pepper to get the ultimate umami flavor. Use the ketchup to keep the texture thick, but use the Bloody Mary mix to achieve the sweet-savory-acid combo. Add heat from the jalapeño, hot sauce, and horseradish. Taste and adjust your seasoning as necessary, grab your favorite salty fries, and enjoy.

Add some heat to steamed mussels

A memorable pot of steamed mussels requires only a few things: meaty, perfectly cooked mussels and a proper, flavorful broth for steaming. While the mussels themselves are important — the dish is named after them — that broth isn't just for the bivalves. It's also for the crusty piece of bread on the side used for sopping up all that rich, briny, savory liquid when all you're left with is a bowl of empty shells. Steaming mussels at home is relatively simple. Ensuring you get that broth just right is crucial, and the right Bloody Mary mix is just what you need to achieve the ultimate flavor explosion.

Think beyond the classic white wine and garlic for a momentous mussel broth. Bloody Mary mix is loaded with savory flavor from the tomato juice, garlic, and spices, plus it lends just the right amount of heat to amp everything up. And while a traditional broth may require a citrusy squeeze as an acidic finisher, the lemon juice and vinegar in your mix will provide that, ensuring a perfect flavor balance.

Use as an all-in-one seasoning for yellow rice

Rice lovers unite! No matter how you enjoy your rice, steamed, fried, or otherwise, it can sometimes take the backseat to whatever protein or vegetable dish it's meant to accompany. Yellow rice, however, has the potential to be so much more, especially with the right flavor enhancements.

A bowl of well-made yellow rice can be easily achieved at home. To hit all those important flavor notes, a Bloody Mary mix is just the ticket. Rather than settle for water to cook your rice, rely on a good, tomato-y Bloody Mary mix to impart its deep, savory flavors into each grain and to provide just the right flavor and spice to give yellow rice its signature depth and color. From here, the sky is the limit for this rice: amp up a burrito, add deep flavor to a simple fried rice, or enjoy it all on its own as you bask in the glory of the ultimate rice dish.