The Bloody Mary wheel has been meddled with many times, mostly to its detriment. But I'd like to offer one other modification that may just make one of the best hangover solutions even better—and no, it doesn't involve meat straws. It's bourbon, friends, and it's here to make your Bloodies the best they've ever been.

I was tipped off to this trick while vacationing in (where else?) New Orleans, where over po' boys a tomato-hating pal said she'd finally found the hack that made her like Bloody Marys. Namely, adding a shot of bourbon to the drink—in addition to all the lovely vodka already in the glass. More booze is (usually) never a bad thing.

And you know what, she was right. The subtle sweetness of the bourbon mellows out the harsh, stinging nature of the vodka and bumps up the natural sweetness of the tomato juice just enough without entering cloying territory. It makes it smooth, like a warm jazz sax riff or Michael McDonald. I found the 3-to-1 ratio, vodka to bourbon, to be most pleasing, but some may prefer an even more pronounced bourbon note. Of course, adding bacon is another natural fit.

Bourbon Bloody Marys (serves 2)

  • 4 ounces vodka (I use the cheap potato vodka from my local liquor store because I'm "not classy")
  • 1 ounce bourbon (Evan Williams, let's not get crazy)
  • 1.5 to 2 cups Bloody Mary Mix (I dig The Murphs, but do you)
  • a few glugs of hot sauce (optional)
  • bacon garnish (optional, but Hormel's Jalapeno Black Label Bacon is pretty rad)
  • seasoned rim (I like smoked sea salt, ancho chili powder, chipotle powder, black pepper and a dash of Old Bay)

Combine booze, mix and hot sauce; shake/stir until combined. Wet the rim of a tall pint glass and dip into seasoning salt until coated. Fill glass with ice then pour over boozy Bloody Mary mix. Garnish with bacon, celery and olives. Drink. Repeat.