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Are Bloody Marys hydrating?

Bloody Marys are a popular brunch cocktail made with vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, black pepper, celery salt, and other spices and garnishes. Many people believe drinking Bloody Marys will help rehydrate after a night of drinking alcohol. But is this really true? Here we dive into whether Bloody Marys actually hydrate you or just further dehydrate you.

What’s in a Bloody Mary?

The primary ingredients in a Bloody Mary are:

  • Vodka – The main alcoholic component. Vodka is typically 40% alcohol by volume.
  • Tomato juice – The base of the drink. Provides some hydration from its water content.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Adds umami flavor. Worcester sauce contains water, vinegar, molasses, sugar, anchovies, tamarind, and other spices.
  • Hot sauce – Gives the Bloody Mary its signature spice and heat. The main ingredients in hot sauce are chili peppers, water, and vinegar.
  • Black pepper – Provides a peppery bite.
  • Celery salt – Flavors the drink with salty, savory notes.
  • Lemon juice – Brightens up the flavor with acidity.
  • Horseradish – Adds pungency and nasally heat (in some recipes).
  • Garnishes like celery, olives, lemon wedges – Provide extra flavor.

The primary hydrating ingredients are the tomato juice and any additional water used to thin the drink out. Many Bloody Mary recipes also include Clamato juice (a tomato and clam juice blend), vegetable juice, or other juices which add to the hydration level.

Alcohol Causes Dehydration

While a Bloody Mary contains tomato juice and other hydrating ingredients, the main dehydrating factor is the alcohol content.

Alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing you to urinate more and lose fluids. Here’s how alcohol leads to dehydration:

  • Inhibits the anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) – This hormone ordinarily helps your kidneys retain water. With less ADH, your kidneys release more water which increases urination.
  • Irritates the bladder – Alcohol irritates the bladder muscles, signaling a need to urinate.
  • Causes electrolyte imbalance – Alcohol lowers sodium levels which signals the kidneys to excrete more water to dilute the sodium.

Research shows that for each gram of alcohol consumed, the body can lose 100 ml or more of water as urine. The more alcohol you drink, the more dehydrated you become.

Since a standard Bloody Mary contains 1.5 oz of vodka (about 14 grams of alcohol) plus additional dehydrating ingredients like caffeine and chili peppers, it will likely have a net dehydrating effect if consumed in excess.

Bloody Marys Rehydrate Better Than Other Alcoholic Drinks

Despite the dehydrating nature of alcohol, Bloody Marys do a better job at rehydrating than many other alcoholic drinks. Here’s why:

  • High water content – The tomato juice provides a high water content, which helps counteract some of the dehydration from the alcohol and spices.
  • Electrolytes – Tomato juice contains electrolytes including potassium and sodium which help maintain fluid balance.
  • Less alcohol than many cocktails – With around 1.5 oz vodka, a Bloody Mary has substantially less alcohol than many cocktails.
  • Slower drinking – Bloody Marys are sipped slowly rather than quickly consumed as a shot, allowing more time for absorption of fluids.

One study by the Journal of Food Science compared the rehydration potential of a Bloody Mary to beer and water in 11 hungover subjects. While the Bloody Mary did not hydrate as well as water, it did rehydrate better than beer. Subjects felt less tired andheadachy after drinking the Bloody Mary compared to beer.

So while Bloody Marys are not as optimal as drinking plain water, they can help replenish fluids better than drinks high in alcohol and low in water content. The tomato juice provides both hydration from its water content and electrolytes to assist in retaining fluids.

Tips for Hydrating with Bloody Marys

If you want to get the most rehydration benefit from drinking Bloody Marys, here are some tips:

  • Use a lower alcohol vodka or dilute vodka with water – This reduces the dehydrating effect of the alcohol.
  • Load up on vegetable juices – Tomato juice, carrot juice, celery juice provide additional hydration.
  • Include electrolyte-rich ingredients – Pickle brine, olive brine add sodium; coconut water provides potassium.
  • Use no or low-sodium tomato juice – Sodium can increase urine output and dehydration.
  • Drink slowly – Sipping allows more time for absorption compared to drinking fast.
  • Have a glass of water between Bloody Marys – Alternating with water helps offset dehydration.
  • Eat hydrating foods alongside – Cucumbers, melon, berries add hydration from food.

Following these tips can help maximize the hydration potential from drinking Bloody Marys. But moderation is still key – drinking excess quantities can still lead to dehydration due to the high alcohol content.

Hydration Level of Bloody Mary vs Other Drinks

Here is how the hydration level of a Bloody Mary compares to other common drinks:

Drink Hydration Level
Water Very hydrating
Coconut water Very hydrating
Skim milk Hydrating
Fresh juice Hydrating
Bloody Mary Moderately hydrating
Coffee Slightly dehydrating
Beer Dehydrating
Wine Dehydrating
Hard liquor Very dehydrating

As shown, the Bloody Mary falls somewhere in the middle – providing more hydration than higher alcohol drinks like wine and hard liquor, but less than water, milk and fresh juices.


In conclusion, while Bloody Marys are not as optimal for hydration as water, they do a reasonably good job at helping replenish fluids compared to other alcoholic beverages. The tomato juice provides hydration from its water content plus electrolytes to maintain fluid balance.

However, the alcohol still has an overall dehydrating effect by inhibiting anti-diuretic hormone and irritating the bladder. Moderation is key. Alternating Bloody Marys with water, eating hydrating foods, and using lower alcohol vodka can help maximize their hydration potential. But plain water is still the best choice for rehydrating after a night of drinking.