Happy Super Bowl Sunday!
As we fanatically prepare for the biggest game of the year, let’s sit down for a little bloody mary pre-game at Handlebar. Shall we?
We were stoked to return to Handlebar for a gaggle of reasons. First of all, we had friends in town from the west coast and wanted to impress with one of Chicago’s best vegan/veggie restaurants. Secondly, there was a $5 bloody mary special. And third, Handlebar brunch is the shit.
Handlebar lists a Bloody Hammer on their menu—a bloody made with a housemade bloody mary mix, Stoli Citros, splash of Guinness, olives, cherry pepper and a fried pickle. Fried pickle?!? It’s the stuff dreams are made of. However, the $5 special was not this. After reviewing the menu and sucking down half of our bloodys, we noticed the lack of depth.
Our server confirmed that the $5 special was not the Bloody Hammer. While it includes the same mix, the main differences are well vodka instead of Stoli and lack of fried pickle. To be sure, we ordered a Bloody Hammer.
Super Bowl-style face off
Sure enough, the Stoli Citros made this bloody go down much smoother. This was an epiphany to us—the vodka quality in bloody marys does matter. We’re both discerning about vodka brands when ordering other cocktails. However, we assumed that because bloody marys include heavy tomato juice and a swarm of spices, the choice of vodka wasn’t as important in this cocktail.
The spices from the fried pickle and peppered rim also gave this bloody a bit more dimension. We agreed that the Bloody Hammer is a slightly above-average bloody mary, however, it isn’t as spicy or as complex as we’d hoped it would be.
The brunch dishes, on the other hand, were just as amazing as we had imagined. Touchdown.
Half of the table ordered the chimichanga, which included a delicious combination of scrambled eggs, peppers, black beans, spanish rice, guajillo sauce, queso and pico de gallo. The Diablos, which can be order vegan, was also incredible, thanks to the hand-pressed corn tostadas and chipotle sauce. Handlebar isn’t entirely vegetarian—it does offer a few fish dishes, such as the Seared Tuna Steak.
The other cocktail of the hour was the Beermosa, a tasty take on the mimosa with Allagash White Ale and orange juice.
Bloody Hammer: Our rating (scale of 1–5)
Well, this concludes our pre-game brunch. Visit Handlebar, suck down a few Bloody Hammers or Beermosas and get ready to cheer on your fave team.