These days, the Bloody Mary game is all about oneupsmanship. The goal in bars and brunch spots has become to adds so savory complements to the drink that they turn it into both a snack and a cocktail: spears and spears of pickled veg, whole shrimp, fried bacon, charcuterie, chicken wings, antipasti, mini cheeseburgers, firecrackers, tiny pizzas, everything.
Which is fine, and fun, but takes away from the essence of the drink. Sure, it's a canvas for complementary flavors, but that canvas isn't blank in the first place...it's actually a perfectly balanced cocktail.
So, here are the basics on the Bloody Mary. If you're not one to drink vodka, well, then it also makes a darn fine amped-up tomato juice.