Last Saturday, I attended the East Town Association’s Heat it Up Event, a Bloody Mary & Chili tasting at Cathedral Square Park in downtown Milwaukee. I had first attended this event last year and this year did not disappoint.


Heat It Up takes place in a fenced in area in Cathedral Square Park. Each establishment has a table under a tent and participants line up in front of each one to claim their samples. You don’t get to experience the actual atmosphere of the restaurant (and they don’t get the benefit of you potentially buying additional food/beverage), but it’s much easier on the participant. You maximize your tasting time and you’re surrounded solely by people who share your passion.


Heat It Up went up in price to $25 this year, but for that price, you UNLIMITED get samples of 19 different Bloodies and 13 chilis.


Heat it Up offers the awesome combination of Bloody Marys AND chili.The samples are ample-sized and, even though only one place offered a beer chaser, excellent. In my opinion, they are a fair representation of each establishment’s actual Bloody….BECAUSE THEY ALLOW ACCOUTREMENTS (unlike the Tomato Romp).


Each participant is allowed to vote for one chili and one bloody mary. Thus, the announced winners were as follows:

1st Place Chili – Nines at the River Club
2nd Place Chili – Burke’s Irish Castle
3rd Place Chili- Maxies Southern Comfort

1st Place Bloody Mary – Miller Time Pub*
2nd Place Bloody Mary – Camp Bar
3rd Place Bloody Mary -Buckley’s Restaurant & Bar

*Also got my vote!

I didn’t make it to each place, so I’ll give you a few highlights of the Bloodies that stood out in my mind:

1) The No.1 Bloody, from Miller Time pub (pictured top left row, above), was my favorite as well. A beefstick, shrimp and jalapeno popper among other items make this a meal in itself.

2) Burke’s Irish Castle (pictured middle right), was made with tomatillos and Irish Whiskey. Definitely different and not half bad!

3) McBob’s (bottom left) also used Irish Whiskey. This popular late night Reuben joint also includes a mini reuben in its Bloody.

4) Millioke (not pictured) used a “pizza flavored” Bloody Mary mix. They had a piece of cheese, pepperoni and an olive as fixin’s, plus a sprinkle or Parmesan. Different for sure— and very good.

5) Blue Jacket (not pictured) used gin and bitters. I’m not a fan of gin, so I definitely didn’t gravitate toward this one, though I gave it the old college try.

This event is an incredible deal and was sold out again this year. I highly encourage you to check it out next year—and to stop in to each of these establishments to do you own tastings in the meantime!

  1. […] I do recall having this drink at the East Town’s Heat it Up event last year. There, it was served with a mini reuben. […]

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