Bloody Mary Book Review: The Bloody Trail

Posted: April 28, 2014 in Uncategorized
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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!


  1. gregtooke says:

    Nice review Caitlin. I too enjoyed Susan’s book and look forward to her next. I had the pleasure of meeting her in my hometown of La Crosse recently. I don’t think any of the bloodies in town met her rigid standards. We need to up our game!

    Keep up the good work!

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