Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

It’s been way too long since we’ve updated this blog and frankly, since we’ve had a Bloody Mary.

During this time of self-quarantine, we’ve caught up on all of the housework, Netflix shows and now, we’re finally getting around to adding in some reviews. We know, our priorities are a little messed up. But again, that’s probably since it’s been way too long since we’ve had a Bloody!

Anywho… let’s flashback all the way to Black Friday 2019, back when times were simpler and you were allowed to dine in at restaurants.

We stopped at the Grumpy Troll en route to Galena, Illinois where we planned to spend the weekend checking out wineries and getting a jump start on our holiday shopping.

Spice & Mix: Mary’s Hot Bottom Chili Pepper Flavored Vodka

Fixin’s: Celery, Beef stick, lemon, olive and pickles

Chaser: One of their local beers

Price: $6.50

We thoroughly enjoyed our Grumpy Mary at this award-winning brew pub, along with a satisfying lunch.

If you ever find yourself in the unique town of Mount Horeb, known for its trolls, you should definitely check out this restaurant!

We recently visited a new restaurant in downtown Elm Grove, Wisconsin called Zister’s. Housed in the site of the former Penelope’s, Zister’s brings a more modern appeal to Watertown Plank Road.

With its blatant appeal to the millennial brunch culture, this place is sure to attract the young and trendy crowd in search of Avocado Toasts, Benedicts and Mimosas (after all, as their slogan says, “Champagne is the new coffee.”

And, you can’t have brunch with out a Bloody Mary. On our visit, we tried the Ultimate Bloody Mary.

Photo Aug 27, 3 49 16 PM

Spice: St. George Green Chile Vodka

Mix: Zing Zang

Fixin’s: Lemon, Lime, Olive, Pickle and Bacon

Chaser: Miller Lite Shorty

Price: $10

We enjoy Zing Zang, so we didn’t mind them using a bottle mix. I think the drink was very tasty, but a bit over priced and lacking in the fixings to be called “Ultimate.” In our opinion, if you’re going to call yourself a brunch place, you should have at least 3 different Bloody Mary options on the menu, including one that truly is “ultimate” and unique to your establishment. (How about one with champagne, Zisters?!?)

Regardless, we still give this place a glowing review and will be back multiple times because we heart the menu. There simply are no other options like this west of the city.

We had the Avocado Toast and it was presented beautifully and tasted amazing:

Photo Aug 27, 3 55 08 PM

Again, we love that Zisters has come to the neighborhood; they also created a really great patio that we can’t wait to test out. We will be back soon and hope you take our Bloody Mary recommendations to heart as you develop your clientele. We would love to be a special advisor in your quest!




After attending a Saint Francis Brewing Co. event at Ray’s Growler Gallery, we were inspired to take a trip to the Saint Francis Brewery for dinner.

In addition to their seven original beers on tap, the brew-pub offers an extensive menu with everything from fish frys and burgers to ribs and jambalaya.

The restaurant is spacious with a large bar area and several dining alcoves. Thus, although it was busy, we were able to get seated within 5-10 minutes on a Friday night.

While Saint Francis is known for its beer, obviously, I wanted to be sure to sample their Bloody Mary while I was there. Their menu said they have them on special on Saturdays and Sundays, so I figured they must have a good one. Plus, bonus, I’d get to sample their beer via the chaser, the best of both worlds.

So, I ordered the Bloody Mary with a pumpkin beer chaser:

St. Francis Brewery Bloody Mary

Mix: Homemade mix (I think?)

Chaser: Yes–for an upcharge!

Fixin’s: Celery, pickle, olive, mushroom, lemon and lime

Price: $6 + $1 chaser


The Bloody Mary was pretty standard, but good. The pumpkin beer was spicy and delicious. We enjoyed our food as well.

The only downside occurred when we received our bill.

Much to our surprise, there was a $1 upcharge for the chaser:

Photo Nov 09, 10 49 46 AM

Our waitress had, indeed, asked if we wanted a chaser, but she said, “Would you like a chaser?” not “Would you like to add a chaser for a $1 upcharge?”

Now in the grand scheme of things, we realize $1 is not a big deal, but the fact that this is a brewery just compounds the issue. Don’t you want people to sample your beer? Don’t you have a lot of it back there?

If they really need to turn that profit, in my opinion, they would’ve been better off charging $7 for their bloody mary than looking like they are nickeling and diming their customers for a beer chaser.

We didn’t bring this issue up at the time of dinner because, like we said, it’s not a huge deal, just something we thought very odd and something that did not sync up with the rest of our experience.

If we ever return, we’ll stick to ordering beer as our beverage of choice.

11/16/15 Update: See the comments below! St. Francis Brewery took our review to heart and is eliminating the $1 chaser charge! Good news for all the Bloody Mary lovers out there!

I can’t believe we haven’t come across these earlier… Bloody Mary Cheese Curds!

Bloody Mary Cheese Curds (2)

Made in Wautoma, Wisconsin by Stoneridge, these cheddar curds are seasoned with tomato powder, worcestershire powder, celery salt and jalapeno pepper juice.

We were excited to try these; however, while they were good (have you ever had a bad cheese curd?), had we not known they were Bloody Mary flavored, we wouldn’t have guessed that was what they were trying to achieve. Perhaps some horseradish or pickle juice would help?

Still, we recommend–a great addition to your build your own Bloody bar!



It has been almost two years since my first visit to  Bluephies Restaurant & Vodkatorium in Madison, Wisconsin

After reading about the Top 15 Over the Top Bloody Marys from, I was excited to see that three of the 15 were from Wisconsin (represent!).

There are four different kinds of Bloody Marys on the menu, including a flight which offers the chance to taste three different Bloodies.


Last time I was here, I chose the one with the most fixin’s, which also seemed to be their signature drink: The FAT BOY Bloody Mary, but this time, I tried the flight.


From left to right: Fat Boy, Bloody Maria (with Tequila) and Habanero.

Spice: Varied by type, obviously. The Bloody Maria had a lot of lime/salt on the rim, so it almost tasted like a tomato-flavored margarita.

Mix: They make their own!

Chaser: None offered.

Fixin’s:  olives, lemon and lime across he board, with bacon and cheese in the Fat Boy.

Price: $10

Each Bloody Mary was very good, but the Fat Boy was still my favorite. I find it a bit odd that they don’t offer a flight containing a sample of each of their Bloody Marys on the menu. I would have loved the chance to sample the “Tater Tot Casserole” and other fun Bloodies that I didn’t get to yet. Also, set up as is, the only way to get the Habanero Bloody with the jalapeno vodka, is via flight (unless you order off-menu, I suppose).

Perplexing, but still delicious. I hope to come back for brunch next time–hopefully sooner than two more years down the road!

Yesterday, I played golf at University Ridge in Madison, Wisconsin.

Post-round, I enjoyed a Bloody Mary at their Clubhouse bar.

University Ridge

Mix:5 Peppers

Chaser: None offered

Fixin’s: Two olives, one pickle

Price: $5.69

This Bloody Mary was good and hit the spot, but it wasn’t anything special (although the 5 Peppers mix is quite spicy!). If you want a great Bloody in Madison, check out Bluephies.

I recently stopped at Water Street Brewery, a brewpub with three area locations, brewing a variety of award-winning traditional and specialty beers from ambers and ales to stouts and seasonals.

While their beer is good, I had never had a Bloody Mary here, so I stopped in at the Lake Country location and ordered one up.

I was happy to get to select my own chaser because Water Street Brewery offer an ever-changing selection of delicious beers on tap and given that it’s mid-September, they had a delicious pumpkin pie beer on the menu. I know what you’re thinking: Bloody Marys and pumpkin beer don’t really go that well together, do they? No, not really, but if you drink each separately, you have the best of both worlds.

Anyway, read on for the stats.

photo 1


Chaser:Yes–you can pick from any of their beers on tap; I chose pumpkin

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

Price: $7.50

The flavor of this Bloody was very good–you could detect the horseradish, but it wasn’t too spicy. I liked the salted rim on the glass, a nice touch. This Bloody Mary was decent, but when the bartender came to ask me if I’d like another, I chose a full pumpkin pie ale instead.

But then my dining companion asked to see the complete beer list. He was given a menu to peruse and I happened to notice this:

photo 2

They have a special Oktoberfest Bloody Mary! For just $4.50 more, I could have had the “signature garnish,” a shrimp fritter, bleu cheese croquette, brewton, cheese curds, eggplant fry and bacon.

“Excuse me,” I asked the bartender, “You have a special Bloody?”

“Yes,” he admitted, perhaps sensing that something was amiss. “But that’s more like a meal,” he said quickly, trying to deter me, as if there were a problem with that, as if that wasn’t what I lived for.

I hung my head in disappointment. “If I would have known, I would have ordered that one.” I told him.

He didn’t apologize or offer to do anything for us. My dining companion decided not to order a second beverage and instead helped me finish my pumpkin beer and we quickly left following that exchange.

I guess I am partly to blame for ordering without looking at a menu first, but clearly this was special beverage created for this time of year, so I am not sure why this wasn’t suggested or offered when I initially ordered the Bloody Mary.

Lesson learned. In the future, I will ask more questions.


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!


Stir Crazy

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,


Last weekend, I visited Stir Crazy in Brookfield, Wisconsin for dinner.

This was not my first time at this restaurant (it is a chain), but it was my first time ordering a Bloody Mary here. 

Mix: Unknown

Chaser: Yes, I chose Kirin Ichiban

Fixin’s: Two olives, two lemons


This Bloody Mary had nice flavor to it, but unfortunately, my taste was soured by an unfortunate incident–our server accidentally spilled a glass of wine on my sweater. Of course, the wine was red and my sweater was a lovely cream color.

Obviously, the server did not do this on purpose and was very apologetic. A manager quickly stopped by and offered to take care of the dry cleaning bill. The round of drinks was on the house. 

However, by this time, it was too late. Our dinner was off and running to a poor start, compounded later that night by a disappointing movie. But that’s neither here nor there.

The Bloody Mary itself was very good, especially considering the circumstances and the fact that it was from an Asian Grill chain where one would not be anticipating anything special.

I might not be going back to Stir Crazy anytime soon, but if you find yourself there, rest assured that the Bloody Mary isn’t bad. Just maybe wear a bib.