I’ve been a long-time Bloody Mary fan, but I’m not a fan of vodka. Tequila is my beverage of choice. (Go figure.) Luckily, you can substitute tequila for vodka, and PRESTO! you’ve got a tasty “Bloody Maria“.

Creating an amazing Bloody Maria is hard work if you really want to do it right (like a hardcore mixologist) with all fresh ingredients and spices. I am a little lazy in that department, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I will use pre-mixed helpers from time to time. (OK, every time.)

But there are a ton of Bloody Mary mixes available in the market, so I met up with my Bloody Maria-loving friend Lippy, (the famous “Tequila Whisperer“) to find out which mix is best matched with tequila.

To make sure that all things were equal, we used the same tequila for each, Tapatio Blanco, which is a high quality tequila with very pleasant vegetal notes that brings good things to the mix.

Spoiler Alert: Here are the results of our “Bloody Maria Taste-off”

Lucille’s Bloody Mary Mix (Cajun Hot)

This is a powdered mix that you add to tomato juice, and I found it in a store on Haight Street in San Francisco. They make a normal mix, and a “Cajun Hot” version of it – so, being the lover of heat and spice that I am, I went with the Cajun variety.

Verdict: Sadly, this was our least favorite. The Cajun spice is a definite creeper, and it really catches up on you after you’ve swallowed it, then lingers for a while. While we both like spice, this one just felt too weird. Perhaps it lost something when it was turned into a powder? Who knows.

Stirrings Simple Bloody Mary

This was purchased at BevMo in San Francisco (sells for $7.99), and by looking at the label in the store, I somehow felt that this was going to be the winner. It’s called a “Simple Bloody Mary” mix, which sounded great. We all like simple, right?

Verdict: While we were tasting this, Lippy made a comment that it smelled and tasted like shrimp cocktail, and at first I wasn’t sure what he meant. But, after we turned off the cameras, I took another taste, and he was totally right — it smelled exactly like shrimp cocktail, which is awesome … assuming you’re eating an actual shrimp cocktail! Neither of us wants a fishy-taste to our Bloody Maria, so we both ended up passing on this one.

Powell & Mahoney Bloody Mary

This was also purchased at BevMo (sells for $8.99) and it says “Micro Batch” on the label. That also sounds great, doesn’t it? The label makes it look like it was put together by high-end mixologists, so I had high hopes for this one. It’s “all natural” and is made with organic cane sugar.

Verdict: This was Lippy’s favorite of the batch. He felt that it was sweeter, a tiny bit lighter, and that the spicy horseradish punch wasn’t overly-done. He felt that this was a long-term sipper. He said it felt more balanced, and had an “interesting sweet tang” to it.

Zing Zang

Based on the label design alone, I had very low expectations for this one. Even though it says “Award Winning” on the label, I was still suspicious. But it sells for $5.99 and I thought, “Ok, why not?”

Verdict: This was my favorite, by far. Lippy awarded it 2nd place. For me, there was no comparison – it had a nice level of spice, a good “mouth feel”, and it has a familiar Bloody Mary taste of celery that none of the others contained. To me, it was the most complete Bloody Maria experience of all the mixes we tried. I think I would even drink this by itself, it’s so good.

Jimmy Luv’s Bloody Mary Mix

At $5.99, I didn’t know what to expect with this one, but since they used a red jalapeño pepper in their logo instead of an apostrophe, I was curious. Perhaps it had the spicy finish that I love in a good Bloody Maria? Only one way to find out!

Verdict: This was the first one we tasted, and after I tasted it (and before I had the others) I thought that it might win. It was a solid mix, but after trying the rest it seemed to be a little more “safe” for my spice-loving palate. Lippy found it to be very peppery and it had lots of horseradish, but it felt thin and watery.

There are a lot more Bloody Mary mixes in the world, and we certainly didn’t try them all. If you have favorite, please share it here – we’d love to try it!