A standard Bloody Mary can contain 150-300 calories, depending on ingredients and serving size. The main sources of calories come from vodka and tomato juice.
What is a Bloody Mary?
A Bloody Mary is a popular alcoholic cocktail typically made with vodka, tomato juice, and other spices and flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and celery stalk for garnish. It has a distinctively spicy, savory taste profile.
Origin and History
The Bloody Mary likely originated in the 1920s in Paris, France. One legend claims it was invented by bartender Fernand “Pete” Petiot at Harry’s New York Bar, a frequent expat hangout. It was allegedly a variation on the classic tomato juice cocktail known as a “Red Snapper.”
Petiot later claimed to have introduced the Bloody Mary to the United States when he moved to New York and began working at the St. Regis Hotel’s King Cole Bar in 1934. After adding horseradish and a dash of celery salt for a little kick, the new cocktail started gaining popularity under the name “Bloody Mary.”
The name was said to be inspired by Queen Mary I of England, who was nicknamed “Bloody Mary” due to the hundreds of protestant executions under her reign. Others claim the name came from a waitress named Mary who worked at Bucket of Blood club in Chicago. Another legend says it was named for Hollywood star Mary Pickford. Whatever the true origins, the Bloody Mary soon became a staple on American bar menus.
While recipes can vary, the standard Bloody Mary contains:
- Tomato juice
- Lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco or other hot sauce
- Celery salt
- Black pepper
- Celery stalk for garnish
Some variations also include ingredients like horseradish, olive brine, beef broth, celery seed, cayenne pepper, and salt. The strength of the vodka and quantity of added spices can be adjusted based on individual tastes.
Calories in a Bloody Mary
The total calories in a Bloody Mary can range from 150-300 calories per serving depending on the specific ingredients and quantities used. Here is a breakdown of where those calories come from:
Vodka is the primary source of calories in a Bloody Mary. A standard 1.5 ounce jigger of 40% ABV vodka contains about 97 calories. So vodka alone accounts for nearly 100 calories in a typical Bloody Mary.
Tomato juice provides around 20 calories per ounce. A Bloody Mary might contain 4-6 ounces of tomato juice for 80-120 calories.
Worcestershire sauce contains about 20 calories per tablespoon. A Bloody Mary usually has around 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, adding 5-10 calories.
Hot sauces like Tabasco are very low in calories, providing less than 5 calories per serving.
Lemon juice only has about 8 calories per ounce. A squeeze of lemon wedge for flavor won’t add significant calories.
The various seasonings and spices like celery salt, black pepper, horseradish and cayenne pepper are negligible in calories, adding less than 5 calories total.
So in total, a 6 ounce Bloody Mary made with 1.5 ounces of vodka could contain:
- Vodka: 97 calories
- Tomato juice: 120 calories
- Worcestershire sauce: 5 calories
- Tabasco sauce: 0 calories
- Lemon juice: 5 calories
- Seasonings: 5 calories
- Total: 232 calories
This is just an estimate – the calorie totals can vary up or down depending on specific quantities of ingredients. Smaller 4 ounce Bloody Mary’s with a single ounce of vodka would be lower in calories.
Ways to Lower Calories in a Bloody Mary
If you’re looking to lighten up your Bloody Mary, here are some ways to reduce the calories while keeping all the flavor:
- Use less vodka. The vodka contributes nearly 100 calories per ounce, so cutting back will make a significant calorie dent.
- Swap in vegetable juice like low sodium V8 instead of tomato juice. Vegetable juice has only around 40 calories per cup compared to 120 for tomato juice.
- Use zero-calorie hot sauces or just a dash of horseradish instead of caloric Worcestershire sauce for a kick.
- Skip the lemon wedge garnish to avoid the extra calories from juice.
- Use all low-sodium ingredients to minimize bloating.
- Flavor with herbs like celery leaves, parsley, basil or dill instead of salt.
Making it a spicy virgin Bloody Mary by excluding vodka and using low-calorie vegetable juice can decrease the calories by more than 200 per drink.
Bloody Mary Nutrition Facts
Here is the nutrition information for a typical Bloody Mary made with 2 ounces of vodka, 4 ounces of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, lemon juice, and standard seasoning:
Bloody Mary Nutrition Facts
|Saturated Fat||0 g|
- Nearly 100 calories come just from the 2 ounces of vodka alone.
- Carbs and sugar primarily come from the tomato juice.
- It provides vitamins A and C, potassium, and lycopene from the tomato juice.
- There are negligible amounts of protein and fat.
- Sodium is high at 28% of the daily value.
Overall, while the tomato juice provides some beneficial nutrients, the high calorie and sodium content of a Bloody Mary make it more of an occasional indulgent drink rather than a daily health item.
Bloody Mary vs. Mimosa vs. Bellini Calories
How does the Bloody Mary compare to other classic brunch cocktails in terms of calories?
– 188 calories (2 oz vodka and 4 oz tomato juice)
– 60 calories (3 oz champagne and 1 oz orange juice)
– 140 calories (3 oz champagne and 1 oz peach puree)
So a Mimosa has less than half the calories of a Bloody Mary, while a Bellini also has significantly fewer calories with the lower calorie peach puree instead of tomato juice.
However, the Bloody Mary provides more nutrients and antioxidants from the tomato juice compared to the minimal nutritional value in orange juice and peach nectar. Ultimately it depends whether you’re prioritizing lower calories or higher nutritional benefit when choosing your brunch cocktail.
Healthier Bloody Mary Recipe
If you want to lighten up your Bloody Mary, try this lower calorie recipe:
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1⁄2 cup low sodium vegetable juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon horseradish
- 2 dashes hot sauce
- 1 pinch celery salt and black pepper
- Celery stalk for garnish
- Fill glass with ice.
- Pour vodka and vegetable juice over ice.
- Add lemon juice, horseradish, hot sauce, celery salt and pepper.
- Stir gently to combine.
- Garnish with celery stalk.
- 100 calories
- 3 g carbs
- 2 g sugar
- 400mg sodium
So you can still enjoy a flavorful bloody mary with about 100 fewer calories by tweaking the ingredients. Just be mindful of your overall alcohol and sodium consumption for the day.
The Bottom Line
A standard Bloody Mary containing 1.5-2 ounces vodka and 4-6 ounces tomato juice generally ranges from 150-300 calories. The biggest sources of calories are the vodka at around 100 calories per ounce, followed by the tomato juice at 20 calories per ounce.
To lighten it up, use less vodka, low-calorie vegetable juice instead of tomato juice, eliminate high-calorie mix-ins like Worcestershire sauce, and stick to herb garnishes instead of juice wedges. A healthier Bloody Mary can clock in at 100 calories or less.
While it does pack some nutritional benefits from the tomato juice, a Bloody Mary is still a high calorie alcoholic beverage. Enjoying them in moderation is key, or substituting in a virgin Bloody Mary as a flavorful low-cal mocktail. Sip your Bloody Mary mindfully and balance it out with nutritious foods for an overall healthy diet.