The bloody mary is called the world’s most complex cocktail for a reason. So many possible ingredients. So many unique interpretations. And lots of brunch spots and bars in Chicago serve really great ones.
We should know. We drank a hell of a lot of bloody marys this year. Hey, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
But as you know, not all are created equal. Sure, we score our bloodies based on taste, spice, treats and creativity, but we chose our top picks on the few that made a lasting impression on our tastebuds. The ones that left the others in the dust after time. The ones we couldn’t stop raving about.
Without further ado, the top 3 bloody marys we drank in Chicago in 2013:
3. Bangers & Lace
While the Hawaiian bloody mary at Bangers & Lace originally only scored a 4, it made our top 3 best based on its originality. Pineapple in a bloody mary. That shouldn’t work, right? But it does. Smoky, spicy and sweet, and we drank nothing else like it all year. It’s not much to look at. Not even a garnish, aside from a few red pepper flakes. We didn’t miss it. Neither will you.
2. Au Cheval
We were almost distracted by the incredible brunch at Au Cheval. Little did we know we were dining at the future Time Out Chicago’s Best New Brunch at the time. And the bloody? We were in deep from the first moment. A strong contender for “best of” at first sip and we even said so at the time. The homemade mix includes V8, horseradish and pepper. Homemade pickles as garnish gave it a slightly sweet edge. Love at first sip.
1. Little Goat Diner
It’s hard to imagine anything at Little Goat not being amazing. Its bloody mary was no exception. Pickled onion juice, kimchi, masala, miso: a cultural mash-up of a cocktail. Topped simply and perfectly with a well crafted, goat cheese-stuffed green olive, pepper, and lime. If someone cracks the code on this recipe, we just might pay you for it. Simply the best, hands down.
Honorable mentions: Big Star and The Savoy
We nearly jumped for joy when we saw that Big Star was featuring bloody mary on New Year’s Day. (After all, one half of this duo practically keeps the place in business.) It was smoky, spicy and everything nice, made with jalapeño-infused vodka. If it had been an every weekend occasion, it would have made our top 3.
The Savoy’s Morning After Mary blew our minds and our rating scale. The bloody tasted amazing, and it’s not everyday one comes garnished with an oyster. The only reason this one didn’t make the top 3 is that it fell victim to obsession and subsequent visits were inconsistent with that first glorious one.
Cheers to another great year!
Have a favorite bloody mary that you drank in 2013? Send your recommendation along! After all, we have lots of ground to cover in 2014.
Thanks again for drinking along with us in 2013. Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you a great 2014 and many amazing bloody marys and brunches in your future. Cheers.
xoxo, Amber and Elaine