Archive for November, 2013

A few months ago, author Judy Bennett was kind enough to send me a copy of her book, Bloody Marys: Sanguine Solutions for a Slew of Situations.

This book, released in May 2011, intertwines humor, history, fun facts and recipes pertaining to our shared interest—the beloved Bloody Mary.

In her introduction, Bennett writes, “Why Bloody Marys? Come on. Anyone can pour wine into a glass and pronounce it ‘eviscerated’ or ‘petillant,’ but who else besides Mary can inspired a whole dossier?”

As if you needed an excuse to enjoy this drink, Bennett’s book contains 45 different Bloody Mary recipes designed to fit any mood and situation.

There’s the “Remind me why I’m going skydiving tomorrow,” a recipe that’s equal parts gumption and liquid courage; the “We should go to Hawaii more often,” featuring ginger and Thai basil; and more.

For Wisconsin folk, there’s even the “Go Packers,” an Official Packers Bloody Mary Tailgate Recipe.

Each recipe is accompanied by Bennett’s wit and snark—use caution when drinking a Bloody while reading this book… snorting out Bloody Marys, in particular ones that contain hot sauce, pepper and/or horseradish, could really hurt.

For a garnish, Bennett throws in some gems such as 6 women who have been nicknamed Bloody Mary throughout history; variations of the Bloody Mary containing different ingredients than your typical tomato juice and vodka combo (i.e. the “Bloody Fairy”—tomato juice and absinthe!); and more.

If you’re a fan of the Bloody (and I assume you are since you’re reading this blog), you’ll want to make sure to devour this book.

Thanks again to Judy for sending it my way—CHEERS!

Durty Nelly’s

Posted: November 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
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While in Boston, I had the chance to check out the Freedom Trail early one morning. As I used my phone’s map system to guide me from site to site and as I was taking photos and “checking in” at each locale, my battery was draining quickly. I was also working up a thirst.

I was on the lookout for a place where I could “recharge,” literally and figuratively, when I crossed a street and stumbled on Durty Nelly’s.

From the outside, it looked like it might be one of those old-school fun Boston Irish Pubs you see on TV and in the movies, so I decided to check it out.

It got even better when the sandwich board outside the bar noted that they had great Bloody Marys, so I went inside, ordered one, plugged my phone in, and took a seat.

I was the only person in the place and as Scott, the bartender, mixed my drink, we got to chatting. Durty Nelly’s makes their mix from scratch and the recipe varies by bartender on staff.

Scott was proud of his mix, which had a dash of hot sauce, horseradish, other spices and his secret ingredient—mustard.

I don’t know if it was because I had worked up such a hunger/thirst with my long walk, or what, but I would say this was the best Bloody Mary I had in Boston.

Spice: Perfect.

Mix: Scott’s recipe.

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Lemon, Lemon

Price: $8.50

Since I was hanging out long enough to charge my phone, I talked with Scott longer and ended up telling him about the Bloody Mary blog. He seemed pretty excited as he seemed like a fellow Bloody fan.

I showed him a photo of the Sobelman’s Bloody Mary and explained how we serve ‘em up in the Midwest. He was shocked. I suggested he try serving something crazy like that at Durty’s and he seemed interested in the idea. Scott, if you do, when you double your business, remember where it came from!

Making your way in the world today takes everything you got… that’s why, even though it was a pretty cheesy, touristy thing to do, I had to stop at the original Cheers bar on Beacon Street.

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I was only going to pop in and check it out, maybe have a quick pint and be on my way, but in the gift shop, I noticed this:

imageOf course, I had to inquire about this with the bartender, Christine, who was very friendly and easy to talk to. She said that they bottle/sell this mix all around Boston. Sold—okay, give me one of those Bloodies then, Christine:

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“Do you like olives?” she asked as she poured the bottled mix and vodka into a glass. Silly question.

Spice: Decent amount of spice.

Mix: Cheers! At first, the Bloody was too strong to drink and I was really nursing it. Christine asked if I liked it, so I admitted it tasted overpoweringly like vodka. She was nice enough to top off the drink with more mix, making it much more palatable.

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: Two olives, Lemon, Lime, Celery Stalk

Price: $8

This was a fun experience and I was excited to see that Cheers had their own Bloody Mary mix, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t so much in love with the mix that I was going to bring it home as a souvenir. But no worries—CHEERS!

Zephyr

Posted: November 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
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While in Boston, I stayed at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge. One evening, I dined in their restaurant. I wasn’t planning on having a Bloody or any drink with dinner, but then I saw that they were advertising their Bloody Mary pretty heavily in their drink menu, so I gave it a shot:

After my experiences traveling where one olive and a lemon and/or lime wedge are the standard, I don’t know why, even though their menu listed it as such, I expected this to be any different.

I was never offered a “choice of garnishes,” nor did this even come with a celery stalk. Definitely oversold this.

Here’s the rundown:

Spice: Overall, however, this Bloody Mary was very tasty.

Mix: Unsure

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: One Olive, Lemon

Price: $11

Lesson learned—when you order your Bloody and it’s supposed to come with a choice of garnishes—and your bartender doesn’t inquire as to what you’d like, speak up!

While in Boston, I was invited to a conference reception at Russell House Tavern, located in Harvard Square.

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Spice: The perfect amount—you can see the pepper and horseradish in this pic.

Mix: Unsure

Chaser: No

Fixin’s: One Olive, Lemon, Lime

Price: $unknown

Loved the atmosphere at this place and had a great time reconnecting with friends and meeting new folks. I’d definitely recommend stopping here to check it out if you’re in the area.

Cask ‘N Flagon

Posted: November 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
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This week, my travels took me to Boston, where I reviewed the Bloody Mary at the famous Cask ‘n Flagon near Fenway.

Spice: The perfect amount.

Mix: Unsure

Chaser: No

Fixin’s:  Two Olives, Lemon, Lime

Price: $8.50 

This Bloody Mary was excellent and tasted like it had been made with Clamato (which would make sense in this region), though I didn’t verify. Looking forward to having a few more Bloodies in Beantown if the opportunity should arise as I’ve never made it to this part of the country before.

Wolf Peach

Posted: November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I had the fortunate experience of being able to dine at Wolf Peach in Milwaukee recently. The site of one of my favorite former restaurants (Roots), Wolf Peach did not disappoint.

Here’s a little background on their unusual name from their website… as you’ll see it relates well—tomatoes!

The story begins in 1519, when Hernán Cortés came ashore to the Costa Rican gardens of Montezuma and discovered what we now know as the tomato. He took the seeds back to Europe where they were ornamental curiosities, but not eaten. Throughout northern Europe, the tomato was considered to be poisonous. The wealthy dined on pewter; the acid in tomatoes reacted with the metal resulting in lead poisoning and death. Poor people ate from plates made of wood and were unaffected, so tomatoes became a poor man’s food. German folklore associates this nightshade plant with witches and werewolves, coining a scientific name which literally translates to “Wolf Peach”.

The Wolf Peach Bloody was excellent:

Spice: The perfect amount.

Mix: Unsure

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  Two olives, lemon, lime.

Price: $unsure

Overall, a very tasty Bloody Mary and our dinner was awesome, too!

After tasting their Bloody Mary at the East Town Heat It Up event for the past couple of years, I finally had the opportunity to dine at Club Charlie’s in Milwaukee’s Third Ward and order a full-size drink. 

Boy was this refreshing after reviewing all of the Vegas and Orlando Bloodies I’d been enjoying as of late. No place does a good Bloody quite like the Midwest.

Spice: The perfect amount.

Mix: Unsure

Chaser: Yes

Fixin’s:  Olive, Pickle, Cheese, Beefstick, Jalapeno, Celery, Lemon, Lime

Price: $8 (I think)

Overall, a very tasty Bloody Mary and I enjoyed my dining experience as well!

Shula’s

Posted: November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
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During our last night in Orlando, I had the opportunity to dine at an excellent steakhouse—Shula’s, also located in the Swan & Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World.

Spice: Not very.

Mix: Unsure

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  One olive, one lime.

Price: $unsure

While my dinner here was excellent (and I’m not even typically a huge steak fan), this Bloody was just so-so. In my experience, I’ve found that steakhouses and seafood restaurants will typically have great Bloodys, albeit standard ones. However, unfortunately this was not the case here. It wasn’t bad by any means, just nothing to really write home (or blog!) about!

Splittsville

Posted: November 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
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One evening in Orlando, we headed to Splittsville, a luxury bowling alley in Downtown Disney.

While there, I had a great conversation with one of the bartenders about Bloody Marys. I was happy to find someone who shared my passion!

Spice: The perfect amount.

Mix: A new one I had not yet tried—Fat & Juicy

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  Two olives, a lemon and a lime.

Price: Unknown

Overall, a very tasty Bloody Mary! The bartender was also kind enough to recommend some great build your own places in Orlando, but unfortunately I wasn’t staying for the weekend when the places offered that option.