A celery rib here, a pickle spear there, a hot pepper for good measure—for years, this veggie set has been the cornerstone to a good bloody mary. Part of the cocktail game also calls for topping off this tomato juice and vodka concoction to new heights with cured meats, olives (stuffed or otherwise), other marinated vegetables, seafood and even hamburgers and other beefed-up sandwiches keeping balance atop the heap.
While creativity is a welcome ingredient, overdressed bloody marys can run the risk of being all show and no go. Plenty of area bars and restaurants offer the perfect blend of style and taste. Here are some of our picks.
White Bear Lake
Whether it’s on the patio or inside, Washington Square Bar & Grill, a go-to spot for plenty of locals, offers its infused bloody mary, boasting a house-made bloody mix and a choice of the house-infused Finlandia pepper, horseradish, cilantro vodka or cucumber gin.
Washington Square Bar & Grill
4736 Washington Ave., White Bear Lake
Locally owned restaurantThe Hilltop offers a special weekend price from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Owner Bret Johnson describes their version of this classic brunch cocktail as “a little different, which is kind of cool.” The house-made bloody mary mix recipe is “a bit thicker in texture because we make it with gazpacho, (a classic cold tomato vegetable soup).” They grill the vegetables for the gazpacho and then combine the soup in a blender with Clamato juice, horseradish, Sriracha sauce, tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Johnson says it has medium spice and isn’t garnished with anything too out there, just a pickle, a lime wedge and some olives. It also comes with a beer back, a shot-sized beer sample to temper either the heat or spirits in the cocktail. Beer backs are “probably just a Minnesota thing,” Johnson says, but we are, after all, in Minnesota. So, customers can select their favorite brew as a back to this tasty brunch beverage.
5101 Arcadia Ave., Edina
Offering bloody marys long before they were trendy, Bunny’s Bar & Grill in St. Louis Park serves up a memorable cocktail with horseradish, Kramarczuk’s spicy beef stick, celery, olive, pickle spear and a cheese skewer, with a Coors Light snit. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, Bunny’s offers a free bloody mary with their signature breakfast, seven days a week.
Bunny’s Bar & Grill
5916 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park
The short but perfectly curated bloody mary section on Benedict’s menu includes the eatery’s signature bloody, plus a few variations for more adventurous drinkers. There’s the Nordic—because we’re in Minnesota, of course—which features dill vodka, Clamato juice, cucumber and (what else?) gravlax (a cured salmon dish), to make you feel like you’re having brunch bundled in your parka, watching the midnight sun rise over a fjord. You can also try the Maria, a “tequila riff on the classic,” or a michelada, highlighting spicy hot sauce and beer.
845 Lake St., Wayzata
Lakes Tavern & Grill offers a fishy twist to the classic bloody mary. The blackened shrimp bloody mary is a spicy mix featuring Absolut vodka, a skewer with two blackened shrimp, olives, pickles and cheese curds, served with a chaser of your choice. Stop in from 3–6 p.m. or 8 p.m.–close daily for a special happy hour price.
Lakes Tavern & Grill
9240 Hudson Road, Woodbury
O’Malley’s Irish Pub serves up a traditional bloody mary made with a homemade mix, a dill pickle bloody, and for a little more heat try the Sriracha bloody mary. On Sunday, O’Malley’s offers a $10 build-your-own bloody mary, where customers can choose their own toppings, including onion and celery sticks, jalapenos, horseradish, cheese, beef sticks, olives, blue cheese-stuffed olives and more.
O'Malley's Irish Pub
1775 Radio Drive, Woodbury
Served up all week, Tavern 4&5 uses Tito’s (unless otherwise requested) vodka in its Mason jar bloody mary, which is amped up with a secret recipe mix (the manager doesn’t even know what it is), topped with pepperoni, ghost pepper jack cheese, pickled carrots and stuffed filthy olives.
16396 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie
Get in a Snit
Order a bloody mary, and chances are you’ll get a snit, too. Apparently, serving three ounces of beer alongside the cocktail is a regional thing—Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Surrounding states likely serve up the little buddy, too, but why? Nobody seems to know why or how the duo was first introduced, but ours is not to reason why because this is a marriage made in cocktail heaven. Cheers!
Make it Yourself
If home entertaining is more your style, Chaska’s Dolce Vita Wine Shop has hosted bloody mary mix smackdowns, where customers sample and vote on several mixes. Spooky Dill Pickle bloody mary mix has won twice, and second place has gone to Demitri’s, which is a seasoning mix added to Clamato or tomato juice.