Some cocktails are simply classics. Everyone has heard about them and they turn up on most bar menus. The bloody Mary is one of these. Even if you’ve never tried this cocktail, you’ve almost certainly heard about it. Making a bloody Mary with pickle juice is one variation of the recipe that tends to raise eyebrows, and is worth a try for any bloody Mary fan.
The traditional bloody Mary relies on just vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper, Tabasco sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. However, there’s plenty of room for variation, like making a bloody Mary with pickle juice to add a certain kind of unique twist with the saline tartness of pickle juice flavor.
Pickle juice is an obvious choice for variation, as it adds a bright and briny flavor to your cocktail, which provides extra depth. Besides, it’s always nice to tweak your favorite cocktails. The new versions are often much better than the original.
You don’t need to stick to regular pickle juice with these recipes. Why not try one using jalapeno infused pickle juice instead? You could also double up the pickle flavor by turning to pickle vodka instead of regular vodka.
Making A Bloody Mary With Pickle Juice
This cocktail should be easy to make at home, particularly if you’re already partial to a bloody Mary. You’ll need the following ingredients:
- Tomato juice
- Pickle juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce
- Plus garnishes, like a celery stalk, lemon wedges, and pitted olives
The ratios really depend on your own preferences. Try starting with your favorite bloody Mary recipe and just add a few tablespoons of dill pickle juice. This is enough to give you an extra hit of flavor, without overwhelming the cocktail.
Those more adventurous could increase the amount of pickle juice – like in this recipe from Real Simple. The recipe uses ¾ cup of tomato juice, ⅓ cup of pickle juice, and ⅓ cup of vodka. This creates a distinct
A Bloody Mary With Clamato And Pickle Juice
Clamato is an interesting ingredient. It’s a mixture of clam juice and pickle juice. This approach still gives you some tomato juice flavors, along with an interesting briny undertone from the clam juice.
Using clamato instead of pickle juice gives you the Ceasar cocktail – one of the most famous bloody Mary variations. The clamato juice works surprisingly well too, making the cocktail much more interesting and complex.
Adding pickle juice to an already briny cocktail mightn’t seem like the best plan, yet the two ingredients work together surprisingly well. They end up complementing one another, without making the cocktail too salty.
Bloody Mary Mix With Pickle Juice
The problem with bloody Marys is that they’re so damn complicated. You need half a dozen ingredients to make them and most of those ingredients should be fresh.
Most bars should already have the ingredients on hand. But, if you’re making the cocktail from home, a decent bloody Mary mix is a good stand in. These mixes are designed to give you all the flavors of a bloody Mary. You just need to add the vodka.
Still… you can easily add extra ingredients, including pickle juice. The pickle juice is a great way to make bloody Mary mix taste a bit more interesting.
The quality of your bloody Mary mix will make a huge difference. Some products simply won’t cut it at all, as they just taste artificial and not like a true bloody Mary at all.
A Bloody Mary With Pickle Juice Ice Cubes
Rather than adding pickle juice to your cocktail, why not use pickle juice ice cubes instead? Normal ice cubes dilute your drink as they call it, which isn’t ideal.
Pickle juice ice cubes don’t dilute your cocktail at all. Instead, you get a slow release of pickle flavor as they melt, which makes every sip of the cocktail a bit different than the previous one. This style is great for parties, as it’s familiar and also a little unexpected.
You could use pickle juice ice cubes and pickle juice itself in the same cocktail, but you probably don’t need to. Try just sticking with one type.
Using V8 And Pickle Juice
Tomato-based V8 juice is a great ingredient in a bloody Mary, as it provides so many interesting flavors. You could simply combine the V8 and vodka or you could make a much more complex cocktail.
There’s a fantastic recipe at A Paige of Positivity that provides all the details for a delicious bloody Mary that follows this style. The recipe includes classic ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and horseradish, along with dill pickle juice.
The recipe also gives you details for potential garnishes and various ways you can tweak the recipe to make it even more interesting.
The Dirty Mary
The Dirty Mary is a cocktail from saveur.com and it’s mostly just a regular bloody Mary with pickle juice. One difference is the garnish, as there are a few interesting choices. Then again, bloody Mary garnishes can get pretty extreme, so there’s nothing unusual in this approach.
The more interesting element is the use of pickle-infused vodka rather than plain vodka. Well… they call it pickle infused vodka, but the ingredient is actually just a combination of pickle juice and vodka. This approach increases the pickle content of the cocktail and creates an even more complex drink.
Have you ever tried a bloody bull before? The cocktail, that is, not an undercooked cut of steak.
This is a simple bloody Mary riff, as it just adds beef stock to the mix. However, when made well, the beef adds a delicious savory undertone to the entire cocktail. You might even prefer this version to a regular bloody Mary.
Pickle juice isn’t always included in a bloody bull, but it easily can be and the juice complements the other flavors well.
A Michelada With Pickle Juice
A Michelada takes an interesting approach to the bloody Mary, adding beer as a new ingredient. The beer lightens up the entire cocktail and makes it a bit effervescent at the same time.
Sometimes the beer is the only difference between this and a bloody Mary. Other versions of the recipe swap out the tomato juice for clamato instead (that’s a combination of tomato juice and clam juice).
Most of the time you can simply take your regular bloody Mary recipe, then add beer and pickle juice to it. You’ll need to do some tweaking to get the cocktail just right, especially since different types of beer have their own distinct flavors.
You’re probably noticing a pattern here. There are a ton of bloody Mary variations and most work well with or without pickle juice. We’re looking at a bloody Maria this time, which is simply crafted using tequila instead of vodka. Some versions include horseradish as well for an extra flavor kick, although this isn’t essential.
Tequila is more flavorful than vodka, so you get some fantastic extra nuances in the cocktail. You could also experiment with mezcal instead of tequila, which would lend some smokiness to the cocktail.
Pickles can be fermented with a salt brine or made by using vinegar. The fermented version can contain probiotics (as long as it hasn’t been pasteurized), which offer potential health benefits. Vinegar-based pickle juice doesn’t give you probiotics, but vinegar itself has health implications too.
Both types of pickle juice have a similar briny and slightly sour flavor, so you can use either one in your cocktails. You can even turn to products that are sold as pickle juice, rather than buying jars of pickles.
Regardless of whether you choose fermented or vinegar-based, quality matters. This is true for any cocktail ingredient. Cheap ingredients give you an inferior cocktail, which is just a waste.
While vodka is largely flavorless, the quality and product you choose does make some difference to the finished cocktail. Most of the time you’re looking for a clean vodka, one without too many extra nuances (and that isn’t too expensive!).
After all, there are some pretty strong flavors in your bloody Mary already, so the nuances of top of the line vodka are going to get lost. Don’t turn to bottom shelf vodka though. Some of those brands are seriously awful and leave a lasting negative impression.
The one exception is Absolut Peppar. This is one of the flavored expressions from Absolut Vodka and has a distinct pepper flavor. It was actually designed for bloody Mary cocktails. You can even make a pretty decent cocktail with just this vodka and tomato juice.
If you do try Absolut Peppar, you’ll need to experiment with the ratios of other ingredients. Still, the process is totally worth it (and is pretty fun). You might end up with your own bloody Mary recipe that’s even better than all the others out there.
Pickle juice is clearly a good addition to tomato-based cocktails, including all the bloody Mary variations. So, what else are they good for?
Here are a few options to get you started. Check out our post on pickle juice cocktails to find even more.
A Pickleback Cocktail
The traditional pickleback is a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. A pickleback cocktail follows that general theme, just in the form of a cocktail rather than a shot.
Some versions follow the idea of a whiskey sour, where lemon or lime juice is added, along with simple syrup. Others skip the simple syrup and just use lemon or lime juice. Either way, you get a delicious cocktail that isn’t too difficult to make.
A Pickle Martini
There are two main ways to make this cocktail. The first is simply to mix vodka and pickle juice, then serve the drink in a cocktail glass.
Or, you can prepare a gin or vodka martini, then use pickle juice as an extra ingredient. This version has more flavor complexity and creates a tastier drink all around.
A 2:1 ratio of vodka/gin to pickle juice, with just a splash of vermouth is an excellent starting place for the cocktail. You can then tweak the recipe as you see fit.
Finally, we have the Tomas Collins. This is a little similar to the Tom Collins, in that both drinks use soda water, simple syrup, and citrus juice. However, the Tom Collins relies on lemon juice and gin, while Tomas Collins uses lime juice, aquavit, and pickle juice.
Aquavit is the perfect replacement for gin here, as this spirit already has distinct dill notes in its flavor profile. These work well with the flavors of your pickle juice, giving you a well-rounded cocktail.