Category Archives: Drink

Best Bloody Marys We Drank in 2014

2014 was a bloody good year indeed.

We brunched and imbibed at some of the city’s best bloody mary spots. Not to mention the fact that we were on Windy City Live (!!), attended two delicious bloody mary contests and partnered with Thrillist to find Chicago’s most ridiculous bloody marys and name the best bloody marys by Chicago neighborhood. This was perhaps our bloody best year yet.

Looking back at the delicious bloody marys we enjoyed, the struggle is real to pick our favorites. There are so many solid ones to pick from. However, three distinctly stood out to us.

3. Big Jones

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This Andersonville spot brings a taste of the Big Easy to Chicago. And this includes their signature bloody mary, which we loved for its simplicity and flavor. This bloody mary a standout, thanks to its quality ingredients that include tomato juice (duh), lemon juice, Crystal hot sauce, housemade worcestershire and fresh horseradish. If this wasn’t reason enough to check out Big Jones, their complimentary beignets are. Read original post here.

2. Bub City

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We learned about the deliciousness of Bub City at Chicago’s First Bloody Mary Competition and had to check it out for ourselves. Usually, bloody mary bars can be overwhelming. Not here. After ordering, you take your token to the bar, hand it to the bartender and begin by picking your rimmer and your poison (your choice of vodka, rye, bourbon and tequila). Then, choose your mix (we reco the house mix, which you can also buy) and round out with garnishes and a High Life pony.

While you pick the variations, this bloody mary proves to be incredible. It’s smoky and spicy, mostly in part to BBQ spices and cumin. Plus, we adore the garnishes bar, in particular the pimento-cheese-stuffed olives, roasted green peppers and shrimp. Original post here.

1. Sunda

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When bloody marys have over-the-top garnishes, we don’t usually buy the hype. Sure, Sumo Mary topped our Thrillist list for most ridiculous bloody mary, but not for nothing. The flavor of the drink itself is pretty amazing. Chef Jess, its creator, let us in on the secret. In addition to cucumber and cilantro, this giant bloody includes a Vietnamese dipping sauce, garlic vinaigrette and yuzu, a Japanese fruit. Overall, it’s distinct, refreshingly flavorful and unmistakably Asian. Different from any other bloody mary we’ve ever had.

But the topic of all conversation: the meal on top. This garnish isn’t for the faint of heart, including: a baked Alaska crab roll, Chinese duck bao bun, piece of thick braised pork belly and grilled cheese with tochino (Filipino sausage), oshinko (Japanese pickled radish), roasted potatoes, shishito peppers, loompya (Filipino egg roll), Chinese broccoli and four piece of bacon. And at 64 oz. and $40, this bloody mary is made for sharing. Original post here.

Honorable mentions

2014 was filled with great bloody marys, and several deserve a shout out. Two notable honorable mentions include Dusek’s in Pilsen and Dove’s Luncheonette in Wicker Park. We love Dusek’s Beer & Board Bloody Mary because it’s insanely well balanced and heavy on the horseradish. It’s the kind of bloody mary we want to drink every weekend. And new to the scene this fall, Dove’s Luncheonette’s bloody mary is smoky, spicy and flavorful, much like the restaurant’s Mexican-inspired fare. Check it out and thank us.

Thanks for drinking along with us in 2014! Wishing you all a great New Year’s and a spectacular 2015 ahead. Cheers!

xoxo, Amber and Elaine

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Three Aces’ Bloody Mary, Three Aces

If you live here, we don’t need to tell you that summer in Chicago is fleeting.

Let’s be honest to ourselves, patio days are numbered. We’re sorry, but someone had to say it.

When it comes to ambiance and drink selection, there’s maybe no better patio than Three Aces in Little Italy. We’ve been here a few times and have actually never eaten inside. Because why would we? It’s the patio where you just want to hunker down for the afternoon. Which is sort of what we did a few weeks ago at brunch when the playlist was really killing it with 90s jams.

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ThreeAces_081014_Closeup_v01Three Aces is like your favorite dive bar. But actually nice. Rock ‘n roll murals meet flower planters outside. Dark but leathery inside. “The Italian countryside meets the American countryside…in Keith Richards’ basement bar.” Yep, pretty apt.

To be honest, the Three Aces’ bloody mary is pretty damn good, though it’s not earth shatteringly unique. Call it classic, if you will. A strong tomato flavor offset with horseradish and a bacon-chile rim. And the pickled veggies sort of make it feel healthy. Another thing we like about this bloody is that you get a sidecar of good, not necessarily cheap, beer. It switches out regularly, but was Allagash the day we visited. No one here is complaining.

ThreeAces_081014_Popcorn_v01We plan on bringing a bigger purse next time so we can steal one of the coffee mugs. Just kidding (kind of). So we tried all types of food, starting with Parmesan popcorn with Sriracha dipping sauce.
Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. That’s breakfast poutine. Fries with sausage gravy, bacon, fried egg and Sriracha. Order this, but prepare yourself for a food coma. The farm egg sandwich and summer vegetable hash were also tasty and uber filling.

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Well, go ahead and fit in one more patio brunch. We beg of you. To quote that show that one of us doesn’t watch but everyone else in the world does, “Winter is coming.” Cheers, friends.

Three Aces’ Bloody Mary, Three Aces: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3.5

Spicy: 3.5

Treats: 3.5

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3.5

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Giveaway! Chicago’s Bloody Mary Competition 2

We came. We drank. We conquered.

If you couldn’t tell by our post, the inaugural Chicago’s Bloody Mary Competition  in June was a huge success. And a killer good time.

Jam Productions is at it again for part deux. September 14th at Park West from 11am-2pm.

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For the latest round of competition, Chicago’s neighborhoods and cuisines are going head to head. Taste local 3 oz. samples with vodka care of Prairie Organic Vodka. And what would a bloody be without a Miller High Life pony, the official sidecar of Chicago’s Bloody Mary Competition.

As you sip and help decide the bloody winner, sample meat and cheese skewers from Whole Foods and snack on tasty foods from Ugly Mug Cafe, Tipsycake Cupcakes and Garrett’s Popcorn. Did we mention there will be giveaways?

We’re stoked to check out this stellar line-up:

  • Dusek’s
  • The Fifty/50
  • Kaiser Tiger
  • The Dawson
  • Schubas/Harmony Grill
  • Red Door
  • Lone Wolf
  • Porkchop
  • The Chicago Diner
  • Bow and Stern
  • Moxee Restaurant
  • Endgrain
  • Knife and Tine

Who will topple reigning champ, Fat Cat? Guess you’ll have to go and drink bloodies to find out for yourself. Consider this your bloody mary warm-up to Sunday’s Riot Fest line-up. Tickets are still available here for purchase.

Your chance to win two free tickets!

What’s better than attending Chicago’s best Sunday hangover cure? Attending it for free. We’re giving one lucky reader a chance to win two free tickets to Chicago’s Bloody Mary Competition 2.

Doing any of the following will get you one entry each:

1. Tell us your favorite bloody in the lineup in our comments section below.

2. Like Chicago’s Bloody Mary Competition on Facebook and tell us you did so in the comments below.

3. Tweet or Facebook us your favorite bloody mary spot using hashtags #mybloodyfunday.

4. Share or retweet this post via Twitter or Facebook with hashtags #mybloodyfunday and #bloodybest.

Updated: Enter by 5pm, Sunday, September 7. Winners will be chosen at random with Random.org. Open to people 21 years and older in the contiguous U. S. only.

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Bloody Mary Bar, Bub City

We’d heard about Bub City’s brunch from several food lovers. And after sampling Bub’s bloody at the Chicago’s Bloody Mary Competition, we had no choice by to give it a try.

To be honest, we expected that walking into Bub City would be like walking onto the set of Coyote Ugly (or the cheesy bar that used to be in River North. Anyone?). Sure it is a Nashville-themed country bar, but the kitsch was kept to a tasteful level.

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Bub City does a mean bloody mary bar. And while bloody mary bars can be crazy overwhelming, Bub City keeps it simple, even giving you directions along the way.

First, start with the rim and the booze. With three rimmers to pick from, we decided the Bub Rim made the most sense. It’s BBQ place, so the rubs must be good, right? You can choose from vodka, tequila, rye or bourbon, so one of us picked rye while the other went with tequila.

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With your booze chosen, next you do as the sign says, “Fill ‘er up.” There are a few mixes from which to choose, but we opted for Bub’s house mix. When in Bub.

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Finally, it’s time to dress up your bloody mary. There’s a plethora of spices and sauces you can add, and the garnishes are incredible. We love the roasted peppers, shrimp, pimento cheese-stuffed olives and mini grilled cheeses. Pro tip: be sure to grab a saltine with pimento cheese and sausage at the end of the bar.

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Finally, grab a pony or two of High Life and enjoy. We really like this one, you guys. Smoky, flavorful and all around solid. We believe the word that came up was “legit.” What makes this one stand out are the smokiness of the house mix (which comes in part from the BBQ rub spices) and the taste of cumin.

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We loved the food, too. Particularly the Green Chili Scrambler, which is kind of like a stew meets chilaquiles. In a really good way. It’s flavorful thanks to the green chili, cilantro and savory pork carnitas and lacks the sogginess factor of chilaquiles. Also, the Fried Chicken and Waffle. As Elaine says, “Wut.” Both perfectly crispy, which can be changed with the bacon-jalapeno honey or country-style gravy. We can’t wait to go back for the BBQ.

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We normally don’t review bloody mary bars since it’s usually your concoction versus the bartender’s. However, this one was so legit, we’re rating this on the assumption that you go with the standard Bub City flavors and don’t stray too much. Because you don’t need to 🙂

Bloody Mary Bar, Bub City: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 4

Spicy: 4

Treats: 4.5

Creativity: 4.5

Overall: 4.25

 

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Summer Fridays: Refreshing bloody mary remixes

While any two are hardly alike, we’re always looking for ways to mix up the bloody mary. Literally and metaphorically.

It’s summer. It’s (sort of) hot. Why not enjoy your favorite bloody in solid form? Or icy form? Genius ideas we only wish we could take credit for.

Without further ado, we leave pay tribute to the bloody mary lovers who tried it first.

Bloody Mary popsicles

This is bloody effing genius. We imagine this would be the talk of any outdoor brunch or early afternoon summer BBQ. There are a handful of variations on the Pinterests, but we’re most intrigued by this variation that is made with ginger-infused vodka, fresh ginger, limes and even celery sticks. If we make nothing else new this summer, it’s got to be this.

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Photo and recipe by Fork and Beans

Fresh frozen bloody marys

We recently discovered the slightly savory Negroni slushy at Parson’s (at least the other half of us did). Quickly do you remember the brain freeze you used to get when you were a kid. Except this time with booze. We’re intrigued by this frozen version of our favorite drink. Let the slushy obsession continue.

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Photo and recipe by Cookie and Kate

Bloody mary shots

No two words evoke painful hangover flashbacks quite like “jello shots.” This version seems slightly more grown-up and sophisticated than the Dark Eyes-filled strawberry ones you slurped down on spring break of yesteryears. It even includes celery. That means it’s healthy, right?

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Photo and recipe by IMPROV Kitchen

The summer’s already half over, and we clearly have more work to do. Like post more often. Slackers.

Tell us if you happen to try one of these ice cold summery concoctions. Until next time!

-A & E

 

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Bloody, Homeslice

As you may recall, a few months back, we partnered with Thrillist to bring you Chicago’s 10 most ridiculous bloody marys.

On that list was the “Bloody” at Homeslice, an oversized bloody mary that comes topped with a cold slice of Hawaiian pizza, pepperoncini and pepperoni.

Well, we love bloodies. And cold pizza—even when we’re not hungover. Who doesn’t? We had to give this one a try. We didn’t brunch at Homeslice but this dashing combo provided the perfect afternoon snack.

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First things first, we couldn’t help but chuckle when the server asked us if we wanted a “Low Life” to accompany it. Errr, you mean a High Life pony?

Beyond the pizza garnish, the bloody itself is quite delicious. Not too spicy, but just right, with notes of celery salt. While the bloody mary was tasty, the cold pizza garnish stole the show. The sweet pineapple tangoed with the saltiness of the Canadian ham to be tangy and perfectly balanced. The pizza was cold, but the crust remained vigilant against sogginess. All in all, a solid hangover cure and delicious drink in one.

Will we be back for the pizza? You bet your low life we will. 🙂

Bloody, Homeslice: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3.5

Spicy: 3

Treats:4

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3.5

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Summer Fridays: 5 must-follow bloody mary bloggers

Chicago’s Bloody Mary Competition is on Sunday! The fact that it sold out super quickly says we’re not the only ones who love this amazing brunch cocktail. Duh.

In fact, we’re not the only bloody mary bloggers out there. Truly. We weren’t the first and certainly won’t be the last. Luckily, these likeminded folks on a similar pursuit can show you the ropes in the bloody mary scene wherever you live or travel outside Chicago. Here are five bloody mary bloggers we love and with whom we’d love to share a drink.

Out for Bloodies

Based in the other city obsessed with the bloody mary, Milwaukee, Catlin Moyer gives you honest reviews of the bloodies in her fair city, served with a side of sass. Plus, she travels quite a bit (note: she works for a sports team) and gives you a taste of the bloody mary scenes in places like Arizona and SF. From what we know of her, we’d love to drink some bloodies with this girl.

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The Drunken Tomato

Shelley Buchanan means serious business when it comes to bloody marys. She’s your go-to resource for all things bloody mary in SoCal. She even recently published a bloody mary book of the same name and is taking her bloody mary empire nationwide. Plus, we simply love her “celery stalk” rating system.

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Bloody Mary Tourist

We love this blog because it’s a bloody mary and travel guide all in one. Our lovely tour guide travels for work and we get to benefit with reviews and travel tips from places like Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Boca Raton, Seattle…and the list continues.

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Damn Good Bloody Mary

This Brooklyn-based bloody mary blog is a newer one on our radars. The photos alone make us want to hop on a plane to NYC and brunch in the boroughs  ASAP.

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Bloody Marys of Milwaukee

Shannon, who’s also a lovely photographer by trade, runs Bloody Marys of Milwaukee, another blog documenting this Midwest city’s love of our tomato brunch cocktail. Besides the delicious looking drinks, she has a handy guide to the best and worst contenders. Between this blog and Out for Bloodies, we’ve made Milwaukee a must-stop this summer.

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Honorable mention goes to fellow Chicagoan Jeff from Best Bloody Mary Blog. While we’re featuring out of town folks in this post, we hope to meet you at the Bloody Mary Competition this week.

Any other bloody mary blogs out there we should know about? Shout them out. Happy bloody mary drinking this weekend, everyone!

-A&E

Note: Photography via authors of their corresponding blogs. 

 

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Bloody Mary, Summer House Santa Monica

Oh summer, you’re such a tease.

You’re here for now after months of not showing your face. The sunshine and warmth are nice. Please stay.

Luckily, for when the weather decides to play hard to get, we now have Summer House Santa MonicaNext winter (or even next week, who knows) when it’s cold and you can’t afford a plane ticket to the west coast, let Summer House be your airy, sunny (albeit short) getaway. Come meet your future cure for seasonal affective disorder.

We’ve been dying to try this joint since it opened a few months ago. Hot, cold, whatever the actual season: this place gets busy. Luckily, we were able to belly up the the bar, where the brunch cocktails and food don’t play hard to get.

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At first sip, this bloody mary was decidedly fresh, briny and good. But different. We couldn’t put our tastebuds on it, so we consulted the bartender. Cumin makes the difference.

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We were quite taken with the garnish as well. Crispy bacon, cucumber, blue cheese stuffed olive, one standard green olive, celery, lemon and lime.  A homerun if only there had been TWO blue cheese stuffed olives.

The brunch menu has an array of healthier SoCal-inspired offerings such as granola, egg whites, spinach, avocado and kale. Of course, we went the more indulgent route. And after hemming and hawing about the roasted turkey eggs benedict or breakfast tostadas, we heeded our bartender’s advice and both went for the the breakfast tostadas. Because that’s how we do.

And wow, no regrets. Pulled chicken with sunny side up eggs, avocado, queso fresco, ranchero, atop crispy tortillas. Holy crap, get this. So good.

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Well, you know where you can find us in the winter months: using Summer House as a SAD lamp and crying into our bloody marys about the cold. Or whenever, this place is great. Until then, we explore on. Hopefully on sunny patios. Cheers!

Bloody Mary, Summer House Santa Monica: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3.5

Spicy: 3

Treats: 3.5

Creativity: 3

Overall: 3.25

 

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Summer Fridays: 5 patio-ready cocktails

We’re stoked to introduce our newest series, Summer Fridays. A laid-back way to start your weekend of brunching off right.

For our first post, we’re offering inspiration for one of our favorite summer pastimes: imbibing patio style. Five drinks from some of our favorite cocktail and lifestyle bloggers come practically begging to be enjoyed outdoors. Ones we can’t wait to craft and enjoy in the name of summer. Here goes.

Smashed Raspberry Lemonade | A Beautiful Mess

We have girl crushes on the ladies at A Beautiful Mess. Everything they create is gorgeous and delicious. They’ve even inspired us to replicate the Blood Orange Bloody Mary and Carrot Bloody Mary. We can’t imagine this fizzy concoction with freshly muddled raspberries, lemon juice, limoncello and triple sec would disappoint either.

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The Porch Swing | Maddie Richardson

A cocktail with gin, fresh grapefruit juice, rosemary simple syrup? Call us. Everything about this cocktail sounds fresh and (re)freshing. And Maddie is on the money—making simple syrup is maybe the easiest thing you’ve made. Go to the site for the cocktail. Stay for the aesthetically pleasing photography.

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Smoky Beer Sangrita | Stir and Strain

We have a thing for tomato-based drinks. Yeah. This sangrita seems to be a smoky, citrusy take on the cocktail after our own hearts. Also similar to a michelada, but made with harissa and an array of citrus instead of hot sauce. We also love that Stir and Strain calls itself a “cocktail scratchpad” in that Elana is putting cocktail ideas in pixels as a starting point for making them tastier.

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St. Germain Sangria | Oh Beautiful Paper

We’re typically red wine kind of gals, but white wine can woo us when it comes in the form of sangria. We’re interested to see what happens when you combine dry white with the floral of St. Germain and the oaky flavor of pisco brandy. Guess there’s only one way to find out. We also adore the calligraphy and emphasis on stationary on this site.

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Spicy Cucumber Margarita | Bon Appétit

Sure, you’re probably saying: Bon Appétit isn’t technically a blog. Touché. But they usually never steer us wrong gastronomically. This particular recipe is surprisingly simple for the magazine. It’s an easy margarita recipe with jalapeno that stays cool with cucumber.

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Here’s to the beginning of a fantastic summer, loves. For more summer cocktail ideas, check out our Pinterest board. Cheers!

Note: Photography and recipes via authors of their corresponding blogs. 

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Serious Bloody Mary, Eleven City Diner

People always ask what’s our favorite bloody mary. This doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, we have a bloody mary blog.

Some of our go-to responses include Twisted Spoke, Little Goat and Au Cheval, which are all consistently awesome and delicious. The ones you could drink over and over. The ones that could convert the non-believer.

There’s another one that should be on this list. The Serious Bloody Mary at Eleven City Diner. We’ve had it too many times to count. For one of us, it’s a neighborhood go-to. It’s been there in desperate times of hangover need. Perhaps we’ve never reviewed it because DUH, WE ALREADY KNOW IT’S SUPER GOOD. But dammit, doesn’t deserve its time to shine?

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As mentioned, the Serious Bloody Mary is seriously effing good. Tangy, spicy, peppery and generous with the celery salt. It has a heavy, yet not-too-heavy, tomato taste. They’ll try to sell you on premium vodka, but it’s thick enough you don’t need it. Unless you’re fancy. The garnish aims to please with a celery stick, lemon, olives, salami and swiss. Plus, a cute Eleven City flag.

Love it? You can buy the mix for around $7 and DIY at home.

The food at Eleven City aims to please as well. Menu options range from Jewish deli faves like bagels and lox to one of our faves, chilaquiles. We’re suckers for Mexican brunch fare, but these chilaquiles are done particularly well. They get slightly soggy as they should and  perfected when you add salsa, sour cream and a ton of Cholula. Other stand-outs are the matzo ball soup, Coco’s Eggs and the new breakfast sandwich.

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We’ve never been to the newer Lincoln Park location, but we can imagine it has the same tasty menu and 50s crooner and big band music.

Serious Bloody Mary, Eleven City Diner: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 4.25

Spicy: 4

Treats: 4.25

Creativity: 4

Overall: 4.125

Eleven City Diner is located at 1112 S. Wabash and 2301 N. Clark. 

 

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