We basically died and went to bloody mary heaven yesterday.
The inaugural Chicago Bloody Mary Competition, held at Park West, featured bloody marys from 15 bars and restaurants from around the city. Your event ticket got you a 3 oz. bloody mary sample from each spot, passed brunch snacks, plus a chance to win raffle prizes and vote for the cocktail that would rule the city.
Jam Productions is known for putting on concerts. So, why bloodies? Between sips, we were able to sneak in a quick chat with Brian Ferber, the brainchild behind the competition and event producer at Jam Productions.
“There’s something broader than the bloody mary—it’s what Sunday Funday has become. People in Chicago like drinking during the day probably more so than going to clubs late night. I think it’s more relaxed. It’s Midwest. It’s Chicago, ” said Brian.
There’s so many different things that could be done with the bloody mary. I felt like there was something there to tap into and bring that community together. I was blown away by how fast our inaugural event sold out.
With so many bloodies under one roof, we can see why tickets went so quickly. We could easily write posts on each of these amazing bloodies, but here are the highlights.
This BBQ joint has been on our radar for some time. So much work, so little time. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek here. This bloody has a robust flavor and includes an interesting mix of spices and rubs you might guess from a BBQ spot. This one won for garnish hands down with its blue cheese-stuffed olive, pepperoncini, cheese, adorable mini celery stick and more. Word on the street is there’s a garnish bar at the restaurant. We’ll see you soon, Bub.
We haven’t formally reviewed Three Aces but half of this duo has had the bloody, so we knew it was good coming in. What sets this one apart are a few unexpected ingredients like bacon sriracha, fish sauce, garlic and hops pickle juice and Revolution Eugene Porter. The pickled veggie garnishes were well received as well. As if Three Aces’ patio wasn’t reason enough to go.
Their Slip n Slider bloody mary, which comes topped with a White Castle slider and was featured on our Thrillist list for most ridiculous bloody marys, didn’t make an appearance. However, we give major props for Headquarters’ for taking a unique spin—a green roasted tomatillo bloody mary that included cilantro, lime, green apples and grapes. What. Also our pal Tim was the genius behind it.
We love Sunda. We love the Sumo Mary. And basically anything Chef Jess creates. So we were stoked to see his crew’s latest creation, which will be launched at brunch soon. The mix is tweaked slightly and the garnish has a surf and turf angle, with a chicken foot thrown in for good measure. Look for this one on the menu soon.
This bloody was the sleeper. We talked to owner Dean for a few minutes and his passion came through in this bloody. It has a memorable, distinct dill flavor that stood out from the rest. Yet another bloody mary destination we’re looking forward to trying.
The fans voted. And the winner was…Fat Cat in Uptown! We knew this one was a strong contender right away. It instantly dwarfed every other bloody in the spiciness department, yet it had a sweet edge. Most likely due to BBQ sauce, if our palates are right. Plus, the bacon in the garnish was absolutely incredible. We’ve been but will be back for an official review soon.
What an amazing event and array of bloodies. Will there be another one next year?
“We’re not going to wait until next year. We’re going to do one in the fall,” said Brian.
We like the sound of that.
Cheers, Elaine & Amber