Archive for September, 2012

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Today, I was fortunate enough to attend a practice round for the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah in Illinois. When I saw this sign, I was very excited. Rarely do you see Bloodies at a golf tournament outside of a hospitality tent. Plus, with this billing, who could resist?

This concession stand/bar was Bar Toma (a restaurant in Chicago),run by Tony Mantuano. In addition to beverages, I also enjoyed an excellent magherita pizza!

Mix: Texture was spot on!I also think they used Ketel One Vodka.

Spice: Not very.

Chaser: None.

Fixin’s: Lemon and an olive.

Price: $9 (Steep, especially for the size, but not out of line for a tournament such as this.)

Well, the 2012 Tomato Romp came and went without much fanfare. In fact, I can’t believe I waited four whole days before even blogging about it. However, that does tell you something about my experience, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong—I think the event is very well-run and it’s a great concept—but I just didn’t have as much fun as I had the previous few years. I don’t know if it is because I have become somewhat of a Bloody Mary “snob” or what, but I kind of felt like my beloved drink was being bastardized.

There were large crowds of people, most of whom don’t share my extreme passion for the beverage; the price has risen significantly over the past few years; and bars  were trying so hard to be unique in the space of a couple of ounces that they ruined the taste altogether. I’m confident that if I returned to any of these bars and ordered their bloody, they would be drastically different. And I’m just going to put this out there: I haven’t come down to the East Side to get a full Bloody at any of these places based on my experience with the Romp. The small samples (where they may be trying too hard to stand out) really don’t sway my judgment overall.

I’m not saying all this will keep me away from the event in the future, only that I may need to change my expectations.

I will also tell you this, which might have had more to do with it: The morning of the Tomato Romp, I was at Miller Park by 6:30am to run in the Brewers Mini, a 13.1 mile race. I finished the race and had time to go home and shower before we left for the Romp. I was tired and sore, but I rallied. Missing this event was unfathomable for me.

It started at 11am, but we got there around Noon. We paid $20 each for a small sample of a bloody at 13 different bars. Most bars also gave you a small chaser of what we think was MKE Brewing’s Hop Happy. We only made it to 12 establishments (plus a couple of eateries), but here is my take on the ones that stood out.

The Hotch Spot



Vintage: Vintage stood out by offering a fixin’s bar for the mini-Marys. I’m pretty sure that was against the rules, but I’m not complaining. This got them extra points in my mind because a large part of what I judge a good Bloody on is its fixin’s. I especially appreciated the beef jerky option. Nice work, Vintage.

Ian’s Pizza: Ian’s gets a shoutout for their “Bloody Mary Pizza” that they had during the Romp. Not sure what was all on it, but I do know the pickles were a nice tough. Yum!


Hotel Foster: Last year, I know that these were made with Mezcal and had a hint of cilantro. They tasted similar this year, but that could not be confirmed. This was neither a good nor bad thing, it was merely different and enough to make them stand out a bit.


Replay Sports Bar

Von Trier: These bloodies were by far the worst, in my opinion. Tasted like they had added some sort of cinnamon or nutmeg… Also? The waitstaff? Yeah, not very nice. Next year, if I return to the romp, I will be bypassing this place altogether. Not cool, VonTrier, not cool.


Two Bucks

Vitucci’s: The best one I had all day. I watched as the bartenders made their mix from scratch. They clearly know how to make a good bloody. I’d love to return there and have a full one some day.

Melthouse Bistro: We capped the day off at this grilled cheese restaurant. Yes, that’s right. A place dedicated to the best sandwich ever invented. It was the perfect compliment to the tomato-y goodness of Bloody Marys…almost like a grilled cheese and tomato soup combo. I had the Athena sandwich and a cup of their tomato soup (couldn’t resist). Highly recommend it!

The tasting was capped off by a Tomato Fight. I wasn’t keen on this year’s location of the fight (kind of off the beaten path), but it was still fun to see.

Overall, we had a nice time, but I just felt like something was missing. Maybe it was a pickle, beefstick or chunk of cheese.

Note: Due to time constraints, we did not make it to Clutch. Hope to get there in the future!

This is awesome.

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Rate mixes in various states: “Drink It”, or “Sink It.”

Every time you rate a Bloody, you up your chances of winning prizes from ABSOLUT Vodka.

ABSOLUT’s Search for the Best Bloody Mary

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Today was a bad day on a great course. Went to Fire Ridge and played a little golf, then hit up Flannery’s as the 19th hole.

Verdict: They were decent, but not good enough to erase a poor round.

Mix: It was just OK.

Spice: I added pepper from the table just to give it something.

Chaser: None.

Fixin’s: Pickle, 2 olives and a lemon.

Price: $5.50

Posted: September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Yesterday I went to the Cedarburg Wine & Harvest Festival. I bypassed the wine initially and ducked into Maxwell’s to check out their bloody.

Mix: Tasted like V8 to me.

Spice: Not very.

Chaser: None.

Fixin’s: Pickle and a lemon.

Price: $6. Save your money for the wine at the Fest….

Posted: September 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Today was the first Packers game of the season, so of course we had to get the whole gang back together and head to O’Sullivan’s, the bar we frequented during the Pack’s Super Bowl run and most of last season.

They’ve got great drink specials and free food at half time. This may shock you, but one of the things that I love best is the build-your-own-bloody bar on Sundays.

They will hand you a glass that contains ice, vodka and a beef stick. The rest is up to you.

Mix: Choose from a couple of different mixes. Today I chose Jimmy Luv’s, though typically I will choose Zing Zang.

Spice: As spicy as you’d like! There’s Tobasco, horseradish and such for you to add to taste.

Chaser: A small glass of Miller Lite.

Fixin’s: See the photo, above. You get one beef stick and then you can choose the rest: mushrooms, beans, asparagus, okra, olives, pearl onions, celery, pickles, lemon, lime, jalapenos and assorted peppers. 

Price: $6. It’s the same price as an entire pitcher of beer there during the game, but trust me, while the Packers might let you down from time to time, your bloody won’t.

Posted: September 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
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In February, while visiting New York, I made a pilgrimage to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel, the birthplace of the Red Snapper, or the original Bloody Mary!

A brief history lesson: In 1934, St. Regis Bartender Fernand Petiot introduced the “Red Snapper,” which later became what we know (and love) today as the Bloody Mary. Before coming to the St. Regis, Fernand has experimented with the drink in Paris. According to the King Cole’s website, “The famed cocktail as we know it was created when Serge Obolensky, a well known man about town, asked Petiot to make the vodka cocktail he had in Paris. The formula was spiced up with salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire Sauce, but since ‘Bloody Mary’ was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s elegant King Cole Bar, it was rechristened the ‘Red Snapper’.” The name never caught on, but the drink’s reigned supreme in bars across the world ever since.

Mix: Very basic, very thin.

Spice: Not overly spicy, but you sure can taste the alcohol!

Chaser: Not in Fernand’s plan. No chaser for you.

Fixin’s: No frills-make do with your lemon.

Price: A steep $22. Nothing in NYC is cheap!

One of my favorite holidays, I mean events, is the Tomato Romp on Milwaukee’s East Side. For just $20, you get to sample Bloody Marys from most of that area’s bars. A fun time is sure to be had by all!

The 2012 Tomato Romp is Coming Up!

Miller Park Bloody Marys

Posted: September 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

Here’s a link to a post I wrote on Miller Park’s Bloody Marys—one of my favorites and I’m not just saying that!

Miller Park Bloody Marys

Posted: September 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

Did you know that if you say ‘Bloody Mary’ three times into a mirror, you’re wasting your time? You should ask the bartender instead.