The Trendy Vessel: Mason 'Bloody' Jar at Matt Murphy's
Mason jars are the glassware of choice these days from BBQ joints to ironic bars. Does it make your drink taste better? Probably not, but it sure looks cool, and the Mason “Bloody” Jar ($10) at Matt Murphy’s Pub is no exception. It combines smoked pepper vodka with the pub’s own Bloody Mary mix for a seriously spicy beverage. It’s served over ice in a big ol’ mason jar, and garnished with a slice of bacon and a juicy kosher pickle to tame the heat.
The Refined Mary: The Ghost of Mary at Sycamore
You might be surprised to find a Bloody Mary at a restaurant that doesn’t even serve brunch, but this one can definitely hold its own as an after-dark cocktail as well. The Ghost of Mary ($10) at Sycamore starts with a traditional Bloody Mary mix, but then lets it drain through cheesecloth overnight, so they’re left with a smooth, delicate, spicy tomato water. It’s shaken with Sobieski Citron vodka for a clean, citrusy background and garnished with a house-made dilly bean. It has all the flavors of a traditional Bloody with the texture and refinement of a martini—I am totally stealing this idea the next time I host brunch.
South of the Border: Bloody Maria at Lone Star Taco Bar
When you’re having tacos and huevos rancheros for brunch, no ordinary Bloody Mary will do. The Bloody Maria ($9) at Lone Star Taco Bar uses Agavales Reposado tequila infused with poblanos, cilantro, celery, cucumber, and garlic for five days, then combined with a spicy Mary mix (enhanced with chipotle Tabasco, steak sauce, and just a touch of sugar) for a surprisingly complex yet well-balanced drink. Take my advice and get it “Dallas style,” with a skewer of house-made sausage, cheese, and pickled radish for another buck—it’s like a drink and a snack in one.
The Italiano Twist: Maria Basilico at Russell House Tavern
Given the association between tomatoes and Italian cuisine (despite the fact that the red fruits are actually from Mesoamerica), an Italian themed bloody Mary seems perfectly logical. The Maria Basilico ($10) at Russell House Tavern combines basil-infused Sobieski vodka with Meletti Amaro (a bitter Italian liqueur), and the RHT proprietary Bloody mix, which adds dry stout beer to the usual suspects for a slightly smoky edge. The sweet orange notes of the amaro combined with the acidic tang make the cocktail taste almost like balsamic vinegar. Add basil and tomato to that and it’s like a Caprese salad in a glass.
Riding the Bacon Wave: Meat Lover's Bloody at Citizen Public House
Bacon is practically its own food group these days, and it’s making its way into everything from drinks to dessert. In the Meat Lover’s Bloody ($9) at Citizen Public House, sieved tomato and Mary mix are combined with Russian Standard vodka and garnished with candied bacon and a Slim Jim. It’s a smoky, salty, meaty potion—very fitting for a place that has jars of homemade beef jerky on the bar. But even if you’re meat-free don’t fret—they also have a veggie-lover's version.
The Bloodless Mary: OOC Bloody at The Gallows
Don’t attempt to adjust your screen, it’s supposed to be that color. The OOC (out of control) Bloody ($10) at The Gallows includes everything you’d expect to find in a standard Mary—except the tomato juice. A little bit of fresh squeezed orange juice and Angostura bitters add a bittersweet tang to the mix and balance out the substantial horseradish kick. This one is concentrated, boozy, and intense—not for the faint of heart.