“It’s never too early to drink so long as it tastes good with brunch.”
We’re not trying to call anyone out here, but some Americans don’t know how to hold their shit. They’ll drink a mere ten or fifteen drinks on a Saturday night, sleep from 4AM until that point where their body finished metabolizing all of the alcohol in their system, at which point they just moan about their “hangover” and sip something like coffee or water or “Oh dear God put that shot of Everclear away why would you think that would be something I’d want to drink right now, Jesus Christ, you guys, I quit, go find yourself another photoshop editor, I can’t handle this office environment, I’ve blacked out and not remembered going to sleep every night for the past three months, the doctor told me if I don’t quit here soon I’d probably suffer liver failure within the week. Goddamn you all to hell.”
As we said, some people are lightweights. Also, Gary, don’t bother listing us as a reference for your job search. Photoshop guys are to AFFotD what drummers were to Spinal Tap, you’re lucky you didn’t spontaneously combust, you damn teetotaler.
Where were we?
Oh yes. Most real Americans know that, when you wake up with a hangover, the best way to cure that is to order a nice, strong alcoholic drink that preferably won’t lead to the social worker going, “For the love of God, it’s ten in the morning, why are you taking shots of tequila?” That’s why we invented the Bloody Mary, a way to get drunk while pretending that tomato juice has more health benefits than “a shitload of salt.”
The Bloody Mary, known as “The world’s most complex cocktail,” is as American as apple pie. More American, actually, because we put booze in it. And it’s our pleasure to pour ourselves a nice tall glass of hangover-ridding goodness, punch various letters at google until it begs for mercy, and present you with…
America’s Most Inventive (And Insane) Bloody Marys
The Bloody Mary is a relatively young cocktail, originating in the early-mid 20th century in New York City. The most probable origin story centers around actor George Jessel, who had taken to mixing equal parts vodka and tomato juice. Fernand Petiot claimed he invented the drink in 1921 in the New York Bar in Paris, a popular Hemingway hangout, but later admitted that he took over George Jessel’s vodka tomato mix and added salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. That drink still is served at the King Cole Room in New York under the name “The Red Snapper” (Petoit thought that “Bloody Mary” was too violent of a name, since he apparently was a raging pussy) for the “wait are you fucking serious?” price of eighteen bucks.
Of course, because this drink is gloriously delicious, it took on an existence of its own, with each bar or restaurant adding their own unique approach to the drink. Some people add their own touch to the spices in the recipe, many more just go to fucking town on cramming as much garnish in there as humanly possible. That’s why we traveled the country to create a partial list of the craziest, and most delicious, Bloody Marys we have ever encountered.
AJ Bombers, Milwaukee, WI and Madison, WI: Garnished With ¼ of a Bacon Cheeseburger
Most regions throughout America have their own take on the garnish situation for a Bloody Mary. While general practice dictates you stick a stalk of celery in there with a small lemon wedge, and maybe a few olives, this is not set in stone. That’s why you’ll find places like the state of Wisconsin, which tends to prefer a nice dill pickle in lieu of the more crisp and bland celery stalk. While many of our staff members prefer the pickle garnish to the standard celery garnish, that in and of itself is not enough to really distinguish your Bloody Mary from the fray.
So AJ Bombers in Wisconsin decided to say “fuck your garnish” and jammed a quarter of a (bunless) bacon cheese burger on a stick in there. That’s right, they take a chunk of ground beef, cook it up for you (well done, unfortunately…the bastards didn’t even ask), melt a chunk of Muenster Cheese to the side, and then wrap the fucker in bacon.
For those of you who wonder why AFFotD seems to love Wisconsin so much, it’s because it’s one of the only states in the nation where someone could say “Man, I wish that eating a hamburger could also help get me noon-drunk” and immediately be handed a drink that solves all of their problems. If you asked, “But how does the hamburger in the Bloody Mary taste” you need to exit the fuck out of this page because you’re missing the point entirely and you have clearly forgotten how America works.
Mike Yen, San Diego, CA: Magic Bloody Mary Orbs That Melt In Your Mouth
Back in 2011, self-described Modernist Molecular Mixologist, Mike Yen, could be seen making spoonfuls of expensive, trendy booze at Ave 5 in San Diego. Going to Ave5’s website now, we can’t see reference to these drinks, which means that they clearly don’t understand what awesomeness is, or how to encourage it. But that’s all well and good, because we here at AFFotD are willing to give Mike Yen’s Bloody Marys a tip of the cap, though we assume that “molecular mixology” is just a fancy way to say “sorcery.”
According to this step-by-step recipe slideshow, Yen takes a spoon that appears to hold between one and two ounces of liquid, and pours it half full with a mix of heirloom tomato juice, garlic, black pepper, horseradish, mustard (mustard? Huh…), salt and Kettle One vodka. He also adds in something called “Calcium Lactate powder,” which makes us giggle because it sounds like it’s probably a laxative. Right? Just us? Okay, so science isn’t really our thing.
Yen then places a small piece of grilled shrimp in the Bloody-Mary-With-Sciencey-Laxative-On-A-Spoon and covers it with more Bloody Mary mix. The finished shot is then carefully submerged into a sodium alginate bath (a bath of magic), where it begins to take a spherical shape. According to science, that laxative sounding thing we made fun of apparently reacts with that magic bath to form a thin shell of gelatin around the outside of the shot, which we can safely assume occurs because of the dark arts. As a result, the Bloody Mary looks solid, but as soon as it touches your teeth, the gelatinous skin breaks, releasing the delicious delicious Bloody Mary right into your munching cave.
The whole process takes about ten minutes, and is topped with a jello mold that’s made with juiced celery and salt. Because, why just drink a normal Bloody Mary when you can drink little bites of Bloody Mary that was made by a wizard? (We would normally take this point to decry this product for not having enough booze to even get you close to drunk, but as we previously mentioned, it’s made by a wizard, and we do not want to anger any wizards. Not after the last time…)
The Twisted Spoke, Chicago, IL: Shrimp and Gin in Your Bloody Mary
We understand that it’ll be hard to sound unbiased about the quality of The Twisted Spoke when the first thing we point out is that they like to put hardcore 70’s and 80’s porn on the TVs on weekends at midnight, and they have a skeleton riding a motorcycle on top of their roof. So yeah, this place is pretty much America wrapped in a leather biker vest.
Of course they have six equally intense Bloody Marys on menu, all of which come with their own beer chaser (never underestimate the importance of having a beer chaser come with your Bloody Mary. Wars have been fought for us to have that right. Probably.) You can get the classic Mary, with a homemade mix and a garnish of salami, pepperoncini, cocktail onions, and generous shavings of Parmesan. Or you can go with the Smokin’ Salma, with chorizo, pickled garlic, cherry pepper, and pearl onions along with the Parmesan.
But the truly insane and glorious is The Bloody Queen, which comes with two pearl onions, two shrimps, celery, lime, and of course is made with lime-infused gin, instead of the old dependable vodka.
But also, you know. Porn. Porn porn porn.
White Elephant Hotel, Nantucket, MA: A Lobster Meal in Your Bloody Mary
While most Americans shouldn’t have a problem with it, many apparently are uncomfortable with the idea of drinking during the day for little to no reason, which is why all of our brunch drinks with liquor tend to be gussied up a little bit. Bloody Marys are exotic, or at least rarely seen when the sun is down, and if they seem to crass for you, you can pretend you’re upgrading by having a nice Bellini or Mimosa. “I know it’s only 11 AM, but look! It’s champagne, I feel like I’m in Sex and the City!” the absolute fucking worst people tell themselves.
Well, what could be fancier than having a Bloody Mary (with a standard mix of tomato juice, lemon, tobacco, pepper, horseradish, celery salt, and a dab of steak sauce) with lobster meat sticking out of it? How much lobster? Well, apparently a two pound beast is enough to garnish just four glasses of the stuff, so you tell us. No, seriously, please tell us, we’re hopeless at math.
Anyway, this pepper-infused vodka beverage will both get you drunk and serve as a fitting metaphor for your place in the 1%. “Oh, you’re eating a cheeseburger inside your Bloody Mary, huh? How droll,” you would say, assuming that rich people still use the word droll, “My Bloody Mary comes with lobster, and the rim is coated with a combination of Beluga caviar and cocaine acquired from Nantucket’s District Attorney.” Now, we can’t say for certain if that’s sea salt along the rim, or the aforementioned caviar/coke mix, so we’re forced to assume it’s the latter. We can’t find any drink prices listed on their website, so we suppose that the price for such a drink is “As soon as you ask how much it costs the waiter will start laughing at you while slowly shaking his head before calling security.”
Brave Horse Tavern, Seattle, WA: Fuck Vodka, Let’s Use Pepper Infused Tequila
At this point, as we reach the last Bloody Mary in this series, we should point out that there are numerous (numerous) variations of Bloody Marys available. There’s the Bloody Fairy, or the Red Fairy, which uses Absinthe instead of vodka, which sounds disgusting actually. There’s the Bloody Hogger, which uses bacon vodka, which is just quibbling with semantics at a certain point. Bloody Scotsman uses scotch, Brown Mary uses Whiskey, and the Bloody Shame uses no liquor at all.
So while it’s not impossible to find these drinks, we’re going to highlight an example of going outside the constraints of typical Bloody Mary mixology by including “The Matador” from Brave Horse Tavern, which uses house pepper infused tequila, and matches it pickled vegetable garnish. This technically should be known as a “Bloody Maria,” but we’re not going to give this the boost above the rest for committing to the Bloody Mary concept by infusing tequila with pepper. This is an instance of someone putting a lot of effort to make an otherwise good liquor taste awful on its own (there’s a reason why we chase tequila with salt, not pepper) simply so they can use it to change the primary component in a classic American cocktail, and have it work.
And work it does. All of them, really. But the true winners are not the bartenders who decided “Fuck it, let’s cram as many parts of a pig into this drink as possible,” no, the real winners are the Americans. The Americans who might otherwise not drink on a mild Sunday afternoon, save for the fact that Bloody Marys are fucking delicious.