Bloody marys are my favorite. They’re the perfect excuse to drink in the morning and not prompt your family to convene an intervention. Plus, you get to snack on cured meats and pickled veggies while you do. I sought out some of the craziest, over-the-top, most Leaning Tower of Pisa-esque bloody mary garnishes out there. Then I decided to alphabetize the list because amidst all this chaos, I believe a little order is called for, don’t you? Good. Then let’s proceed.
Pickled asparagus is actually pretty standard as far as bloody mary toppings go. Admittedly, the “F*** brunch” bloody mary from Anvil Pub in Dallas is only filed under A because it’s the only place I could find space for it. Alongside the bacon cheeseburger slider, shrimp, cheese, hot dog, onion ring, and pork rinds, the asparagus seems rather tame.
Sobelman’s Bar & Grill in Milwaukee stacks shrimp, cherry tomato, lemon, Polish sausage, cheese, pickled asparagus, a scallion stalk, pickle, pickled mushroom, onion, Brussels sprouts, and celery on its bloody mary, named the Masterpiece. And, oh yes, it comes with a bacon cheeseburger. And a chaser of Sprecher beer.
Add a taste of the islands while you’re in Chicago with Homeslice‘s bloody mary, topped with a cold slice of Hawaiian-style pizza. You also get pepperoni, peperoncini, and a Miller High Life pony.
The Icehouse in Minneapolis created an homage to Homer Simpson called the Bloody Homer. It’s served in a Duff Beer glass and is topped with candied bacon and a doughnut. Mmmmm, doughnut.
You drink bloody marys at breakfast, so why wouldn’t you add eggs? The Attic in Long Beach, California offers five variations on the bloody mary, with a build-your-own menu to customize it with various seasonings, olives, and other garnishes. For an extra $2, a pickled egg is a glorious addition to any glass.
The aptly named Big Ass Bloody at Sandbar Sports Bar in San Diego includes pickles, cheese, peppers, jalapeño bacon, salami, and a piece of French toast. Eat and drink your breakfast in one fell swoop.
Oh, Canada. The land of mounties and maple leafs happens to call bloody mary by another name, Caesar, which helps explain the “Bloody Chaesar” at Score on Davie in Vancouver. It arrives topped with a deep-fried pickle, onion rings, and a grilled cheese sandwich.
The South loves its pork, and when you’re at Husk in Charleston, South Carolina, you’ll get your bloody mary with some shaved country ham. You’ll also get about 30 other ingredients, including house-made hot sauce, bourbon-smoked pepper, and heirloom tomato juice.
FIG in Santa Monica, California was once famous for its foie gras bloody mary. When California passed a ban on selling goose or duck liver in 2012, FIG could no longer offer it. In January, however, a federal judge blocked the ban. California filed an appeal to challenge the judge’s ruling, so we’ll have to wait and see if this famous bloody mary returns in the future. In the meantime, FIG’s Bloody Maria features Peligroso Reposado Tequila and a crispy strip of bacon.
Amplify the heat of your bloody mary with some spicy beef jerky at Parlor Sports Bar in Somerville, Massachusetts. The cayenne-cured “thermonuclear” jerky comes from Appalachian Jerky Company, and was the hottest the bar’s owners could find.
The bloody mary gets a Korean twist at Seattle’s Revel. There is no tomato juice in this mix; rather, kimchi juice provides the base. Garnishes include house-made pickles of Chinese long beans, okra, or other veggies.
You might have guessed that when a catering company calls itself Wild & Crazy Bloody Marys, it’s got a certain specialty. One creation, the “Surf and Turf Supreme,” defies gravity with bacon-wrapped lobster, a trio of sliders (crab cake, fried fish, steak and cheese), cherry-apple pork loin lollipops, stuffed potatoes, garlic butter Brussels sprouts, bacon, mussels, crab legs, calamari rings, shrimp, coleslaw, tuna salad, cheesecake, cheese curds, cheese whips, and veggies and pickles.
The bloody mary takes inspiration from pizza at Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, Colorado. The base of the bloory mary mix is the restaurant’s pizza sauce, and the drink is accompanied by slices of mozzarella and tomato.
O’Davey’s Pub in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin thought this drinkable sculpture a fitting tribute to the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s got a chunk of nacho cheese, popcorn, bacon, sausage, a slider, pickles, olives, vegetables, peanuts, a soft pretzel, cheese curds, tortilla chips, and… beans?
Ahoy, mateys! The Pantera bloody mary at Washington D.C.’s Del Campo will have you shaking like a landlubber with a base made of smoked tomato juice, seafood stock, and squid ink, garnished with red onions, celery, horseradish, Worcestershire, salt, grilled peppers, and obviously, a tentacle. Yarr.
San Francisco’s Foreign Cinema tops its Sunday brunch bloody mary with a Gulf prawn, swimming in a housemade Clamato made from tomato juice, clam juice, and spices, then mixed with Worcestershire and jalapeño-infused vodka.
At the Ramos House in San Juan Capistrano, California, the bloody mary spirit is Korean soju. This enables the restaurant to operate without a liquor license, but still serve up a creative cocktail topped with a soft-boiled quail egg wrapped in fennel sausage, dipped in batter and deep-fried, and skewered with a crab claw.
At Buck’s Naked BBQ in Maine, a whole section of the menu is dedicated to “Fooze,” or cocktails topped with a rib. Because, America.
Revere’s Wells Street Tavern in Delafield, Wisconsin serves a cheesehead’s bloody mary, with cheese in string form.
Visit The Nook in Atlanta for its “Best Bloody Mary,” served with tater tots, bacon steak, toast, and a Slim Jim.
We’re getting towards the end of the alphabet, where we have to fudge things a little. I have no qualms breaking the rules of acrostics when Sobelman’s Chicken Fried Bloody Beast so blatantly defies the laws of gravity and, let’s face it, human decency. The bloody mary is topped with a whole fried chicken, not to mention pickles, olives, onions, mushrooms, sausages, shrimp, lemon, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, scallions, tomatoes, and celery stalks, because let’s not be ridiculous.
O’Davey’s (see N, above) outdid itself when cocktail creator Sarah Jayne Pickart sat a venison stick, cheese, beer salami, corn on the cob, roasted asparagus, a BBQ rib, and a skewer loaded with prime rib, baby potatoes, and mushrooms atop a bloody mary. This is what freedom looks like.
After a long night of drinking, head back to HQ. Headquarters Beercade, that is. At either of its Chicago locations, order the Sip N’ Slider, a bloody mary stacked with meats, cheese, veggies, and a White Castle slider.
Fine, I cheated again. You try and find a bloody mary with an X ingredient in it. Better yet, create one. Until then, head to Vegas and revel in Todd English P.U.B.‘s monstrous bloody mary topped with a mini corn dog, burger, shrimp, chicken wing, cheese, and pickles.
Until I got to Y, I didn’t realize bloody mary bread was a thing. And, dear readers, it is a thing. This yeast bread mimics its namesake cocktail with tomato juice and spices. I guess you dip it in vodka for the fun part. If you’re too lazy to make it yourself, head over to Girl & the Goat in Chicago and have the experts there make it for you.
Let me end this list with a request. Because in my search for a Z ingredient, I naturally defaulted to zucchini. And sure, pickled zucchini in a bloody mary is just fine. But, when one considers how delicious zucchini fries are, and how wonderful bloody marys are, I am left to ask: Why hasn’t anyone combined the two? Preferably close to my home in Los Angeles, but I’m willing to travel.
Kim Kohatsu judges the quality of her relationships on the ability to share food. If she can't split an appetizer with you, in her eyes, you are pretty much worthless. Kim's current food adventures revolve around ramen, sushi, Indian curries, Sichuan food, and fried chicken. Oh, and cheeseburgers. Kim loves a good cheeseburger.