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Bloody mary. Photo courtesy of Savory Spice
Eat and Drink

How to Build a Locally Sourced Bloody Mary Bar

Enjoy Labor Day weekend with these tasty add-ins, top-shelf spirits, and red-hot sauces.

Labor Day weekend calls for lazy mornings and at least one (or maybe three) no-holds-barred brunch fests. And what’s brunch without a bloody mary? Here are the best locally made mixes, vodkas, and garnishes to make your bloody mary as spicy, spirited, and fresh as you like it.

Powder Keg Barrel-Aged Bloody Mary Mix from The Real Dill
Inspired by the practice of adding a shot of stout beer to a bloody mary, the Real Dill aged its bloody mary mix for six months in WeldWerks’ Medianoche Imperial Stout oak barrels. The result: A more nuanced, smoother flavor with notes of vanilla and a surprising hint of char. “I figured it would be different, but not to this level,” says Tyler DuBois, co-founder of the Real Dill and mastermind behind Powder Keg. “You would never know they’re basically the same mix, just handled in a different way.” Powder Keg exploded onto the market last week (and is now only available at the WeldWerks taproom), but you can still get the company’s original bloody mary mix. $15

Bloody Matty Cocktail Mix from Dead Veggies
From the brand that minces produce, not words, comes a zesty bloody mary mix made with a trio of chiles, lemons, limes, and herbs. The star ingredient, however, is the probiotic brine from Dead Veggies’ best-selling, vegan napa kimchi, which is used by more than 25 restaurants and food trucks across Denver. Gluten-free or vegan? Go ahead and indulge. There’s no Worcestershire sauce in this mix. $15

Rocker Vodka from Rocker Spirits
Your guests will notice Rocker’s distinct, oil-can-inspired bottle shape sitting on your shelf, but they won’t notice the vodka in their bloody mary—and that’s exactly how it should be, says Nick Hutch, head distiller at Rocker Spirits. Perhaps ironically, their 100 percent corn vodka goes through multiple steps—it’s distilled four times, proofed with reverse osmosis water, and gravity-filtered through activated charcoal three times over the course of two days—all to create a relatively flavorless product. “To be truthful, our process is pretty straightforward. No healing crystals, fancy new technologies, or marketing gimmicks,” Hutch says, but it creates “an exceptionally clean and bright spirit with minimal smell and taste.” $30

Annika Jones Vodka from The Family Jones
Prefer your bloody mary a bit more vodka-forward? Consider the Annika Jones, advises Nick Touch, brand ambassador at The Family Jones. With a bronze medal from the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the dual-grain vodka (60 percent hard winter wheat, 40 percent corn) undergoes both pot and column distillation before being filtered through carbon and cut with Colorado spring water. The process creates a complex, full-bodied vodka with fruit and floral notes that “add an extra layer of flavor and texture to your bloody.” $30

Hot Damn Dills from Yee-Haw Pickle Co.
Hand-cut, hand-packed, and free from artificial preservatives, color additives, and refined sugar, the pickled products from Yee-Haw Pickle Co. will add some sass to your glass. Allison Cesati, Yee-Haw co-founder, recommends garnishing your bloody with their Hot Damn Dills, which are made with fresh chile peppers, whole garlic cloves, and a dash of mustard. Add a splash of the brine to your bloody for some extra heat. If zing’s not your thing, opt for the No Frills Dills instead. $8

Habanero Dry-Rub Uncured Bacon from Tender Belly
Flaccid bacon in your bloody? Um, no thanks. What you need is “a nice meaty piece of meat,” laughs Shannon Duffy, founder of Tender Belly. Their habañero bacon—which is sliced 3/16 inch thick—is exactly that. The combination of spice from the pepper and sweetness from the signature maple rub provides the perfect counterbalance to the acidity of the tomato juice. Just be prepared for some heat: “It’s a 7 or 8 on the scale. We brought the pain,” Duffy says. $13 for 12 ounces

Rocky Mountain Sunset Cheddar from Rocking W Cheese
White cheddar? Yellow cheddar? It’s hard to decide which delectable cheese to garnish with. Avoid the conundrum altogether with Rocking W’s Rocky Mountain Sunset Cheddar, a creamy combination of their mild cheddars. The combo has a gorgeous, marbled look that resembles—you guessed it—a Rocky Mountain sunset. $4 per half pound

The Green from Horsetooth Hot Sauce
You know that red-faced emoji with the sweat running down its cheeks? You’ll feel the same with a dash of sauce from Horsetooth Hot Sauce, a local purveyor known for spice that doesn’t mess around. For your bloody, Horsetooth owner John Comeau says go with the Green—a mix of unrelenting green habañeros and serranos paired with tomatillos, garlic, and onion—to add some garden freshness and a whole ’lotta heat. Glutton for punishment? The Melt Your Face, made with ghost peppers, and the “O” Face, made with orange habañeros, will have you sweating bullets with each sip. $6

Bloody Mary Ultimate Ingredient Box from Savory Spice
One-stop shopping? Yes, please. With Chipotle Lime Bloody Mary Mix, gluten-free and vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce, and rimming spice (a collaboration with the Real Dill), the Ultimate Ingredient Box has all the fixings for your brunch party of eight. The experts at Savory Spice rank the spice level as medium, noting, “We boosted the flavor with lime and just enough chipotle for a subtle heat, while [ensuring it’s] still mild enough to be crowd-pleasing and pleasantly drinkable,” says Stephanie Bullen, Savory Spice’s product marketing manager. $29

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