Archive for April, 2014

When Susan Fiebig was interviewed on “The Morning Blend,” talking about her new book, The Bloody Trail: In Quest of the Best Wisconsin Bloody Marys, I received many messages from friends and family. Essentially, they believed Susan had written the book version of this blog.

photo 1 (1)

And, in a way, she had.

But, just as with Shelley Buchanan and Judy Bennett, other Bloody Mary aficionados who have  Bloody Mary blogs and/or have written books, though, I wasn’t angry or jealous. No, we’re kindred spirits.

So, I reached out to Susan via her website ,explained that we share a similar passion, and we arranged to meet–over Bloodies of course!

While imbibing and dining at the new Cafe Bavaria in Wauwatosa, we talked about how we both fell in love with the Bloody Mary and discussed the nuances of what we think makes a Bloody Mary good.

Of the bloodies (and mixes) we had both tried, we shared many of the same favorites; however, while I pretty much report the facts (mix, fixin’s, price, chaser, etc.) because I believe each person has their own Bloody Mary standards (some like fixin’s, some don’t; some like spice; some are bland, etc.), I realized that Susan has a much stricter rating system which allows her to compare bloodies to one another.

That’s probably the thing that sets her apart the most from the other books I have reviewed:

Bloody Trail Rating System

On her quest to find the best Bloody Marys, using her own rating  the system, Susan has been able to identify the “Top 10 +1 Bloody Marys in Wisconsin.”

Thus, each chapter in this book, which is meant to serve as a guide, is dedicated to one of what Susan deems to be the best Bloody Marys in the state. She shares interesting facts and tidbits about each stop, along with reviews and pictures. The establishments range from well-known restaurants to the lesser-known “dive bars.”

Of Susan’s Top 10, I have reviewed five already personally and would have to agree (like I said, we share the same taste). I’m also looking forward to visiting her other recommendations in the state.

One unique feature of the book is that each copy comes with a self-addressed, stamped postcard (see photo above) imprinted with the rating scale. If you spot a Bloody you think is worth Susan’s time, fill it out and drop it in the mail. She may try it out and see if she agrees with you… and it may make it in another book.

Yes, Susan shared with me that she’s working on a second edition, expanding her horizons across the U.S. From my travels and reviews here on the blog, I’m afraid she’ll have a hard time finding bloodies to rival the ones found in Wisconsin, but I’m sure she’ll certainly have fun trying.

As I’ve said before–in this “business,” we don’t consider ourselves competitors, but rather co-conspirators, searching for that ever-elusive perfect Bloody Mary and having a blast trying.

Good luck, Susan. Well done on the book!





After dinner and drinks at the Hubbard Park Lodge, we decided to check out Camp Bar, also in Shorewood.

Camp Bar is a unique place with a lodge/”up north” type atmosphere. It was recently announced that Camp Bar is opening a second location in Wauwatosa, so I wanted to check it out in advance of it coming to my ‘hood.

Camp Bar

…And I’m pleased to report that East Tosa is getting another great Bloody Mary to join the ranks of Juniper 61, Red Dot and the like.

Mix: Homemade

Chaser: Yes–a Rhinelander Shorty!

Fixin’s: Cheese, pickle, asparagus, olive, beefstick, pepperoni

Price: $Unknown

I am told that Camp Bar also features a 22oz Bloody Mary for $8 on Sunday (or mini- Marys for $6.50, but where’s the fun in that?). I can definitely see this becoming a great spot to watch the Packers games this fall. I can’t wait until August.






Since last Friday was Good Friday, we decided to spend it in a very Wisconsin fashion–with a Lenten Fish Fry, complete with live Polka music, at Hubbard Park Lodge in Shorewood.



Located off the beaten path in a beautiful park, Hubbard’s is currently only open for Fish Frys and Sunday Brunch (you can also rent the unique space for your event); hence, there is a fairly limited menu.

Of course, I gave their Bloody Mary a go. Here’s the review:

Mix: Jimmy Luv’s

Chaser: Yes-Miller Lite

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

Price: $8

This was pretty much your average Bloody Mary, but the food was good and the company was great. Here’s a little video to give you an idea of what you can expect as far as atmosphere:


Thanks to Salvy Sousa for sending me two bottles of Bloody Mary mix to review!

Between going “out for bloodies” and my travel schedule, it’s been a while since I made them at home; however, I recently “forced” myself to make a Bloody Mary at home.

To keep the test pure, I sampled Salvy Sousa mixed with an unflavored Skyy Vodka and added olives, smoked mozzarella string cheese, and a beef stick.


Salvy 1 Salvy 2


According to their website, Salvy Sousa was started by Salvador Bianchine, the owner’s Italian grandfather who was a butcher in a family market in Tarrytown, New York. His final resting place is in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery from the famed Washington Irving tale of the Headless Horseman. He was married to their dear Portuguese grandmother Loudwina Sousa. Between the two of them, these recipes and more were concocted and passed through the family. Salvy Sousa was  the brand “created to honor [this] family and their concoctions. Salvy Sousa has become larger than life. He loves fast cars and spunky women and loves to cook on his big ass grill. He is ornery, and in your face, and you will love every bit of him!”

And, their Bloody Mary mix isn’t just for drinking: “The Bloody Bull will give a kick of awesomeness to your chili, soups, red sauces, etc.!” 

You can buy Salvy Sousa online for $12/bottle.

The verdict: I LOVED this mix, but then again, I love all types of condiments, like ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce… and this mix definitely tasted more like a condiment than a Bloody Mary mix. It was extremely thick (that just means you have to use extra vodka to thin it out!) and very tangy. Like other thick mixes, this is probably going to be polarizing for some people, but it definitely appealed to me. AND I definitely want to try making some sort of Bloody Mary chili with this product next… I will keep you posted!

Thanks again to the good folks at Salvy Sousa for the samples!



I recently wrote about the newest member of the Lowlands Group, Cafe Bavaria in Wauwatosa.

Since this German gastropub has a wide selection of Bloodies, I knew I had some work to do. During my previous visit, I had ordered the “Dusseldorf” and my dad ordered the “Haus”. This time, I tried the special, a Bloody made with sage-infused vodka, while my dining companion was a bit more adventurous, trying the jalapeno “Wurzig” Bloody.

Here’s my write-up on the special:

cafe Bavaria


Mix: Homemade, with different vodkas/spices depending on which beverage you order. This one had sage-infused vodka.

Chaser: Yes

Fixin’s: Varies, depending on the variety you order; this special had bacon, lemon, lime, olive, Brussels sprout, pickle, cheese and a piece of sausage.

Price: $7-$9

As previously mentioned, like its sister restaurants, Cafe Bavaria takes its Bloody Mary offerings seriously.  Delicious, I will be back again (and again!).

And, as a teaser, my aforementioned dining companion? She is also a Bloody Mary aficionado! I met with Susan Fiebig, author of “The Bloody Trail,” a book about her search for Wisconsin’s best Bloody Marys. After hearing about her book, I just knew I had to meet a fellow Bloody Mary lover from the area–over Bloodies of course!

Look for my review on her book to come.


Also during March Madness, I visited Big Dogs Sports Bar & Grill.

Big DogsI was pleasantly surprised to find that their Bloody Mary was something special-it has pizza on it!


Mix: Homemade.

Chaser: Yes

Fixin’s: Pizza, baby corn, olive, cheese, celery

Price: $7

I went here on a Saturday night and admittedly had low expectations when I ordered my Bloody Mary. I was shocked when it came with essentially two pieces of sausage pizza on it and other assorted fixin’s.

This was a delicious drink and tremendous value. Big Dogs is definitely in the running for a future meeting place!


I recently visited Steve’s On Bluemound during March Madness.


Mix: Homemade

Chaser: Yes

Fixin’s: Lemon, Lime, Pickle, 2 Olives

Price: ?

This was a decent Bloody Mary. I wouldn’ t come here to seek it out, but it held its own for a Thursday night.