A celery rib here, a pickle spear there, a hot pepper over here—for years, this veggie set has been the cornerstone to a good bloody mary. Part of the cocktail game also calls for topping off this tomato juice and vodka concoction to new heights with cured meats, olives (stuffed or otherwise), other marinated vegetables, seafood and even hamburgers and other beefed up sandwiches keeping balance atop the heap.
While creativity is a welcome ingredient, overdressed bloody marys can run the risk of being all show and no go. Plenty of area bars and restaurants offer the perfect blend of style and taste. Here are some of our picks.
Near Lake Minnetonka
The short but perfectly curated bloody mary section on Benedict’s menu includes the eatery’s signature bloody, plus a few variations for more adventurous drinkers. There’s the Nordic—because we’re in Minnesota, of course—which features dill vodka, Clamato juice, cucumber and (what else?) gravlax, to make you feel like you’re having brunch bundled in your parka, watching the midnight sun rise over a fjord. You can also try the Maria, a “tequila riff on the classic,” or a michelada, widely known as a “Mexican bloody mary,” highlighting spicy hot sauce and beer.
845 Lake St., Wayzata
One of Lake Minnetonka’s most popular brunch spots is 6Smith, which overlooks the lake and shines the spotlight on classic fare with an elevated twist—like the lobster soft scrambled eggs, freshly baked monkey bread, or peel-and-eat shrimp. Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can add a trip to the bloody mary bar to your brunch bill, and top your hearty pick-me-up with plentiful veggies and snacks.
294 Grove Lane E., Wayzata
Minnetonka’s Gold Nugget Tavern and Grille is a neighborhood spot known for cooking up comfort foods—but one of the stars of its menu is the Gold Nugget bloody, which is available any time (because who needs brunch as an excuse for a great bloody Mary?). The surprisingly high-brow cocktail includes a spicy twist, with jalapeno-infused vodka and homemade bloody Mary mix. Add in a skewer of tasty nibbles and follow it up with a little local beer: the Gold Nugget Amber. Here, the beer chaser’s called a “snit,” a charmingly regional Upper Midwest term to add to your vocabulary.
Gold Nugget Tavern and Grille
14401 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka
Locally owned restaurant The Hilltop offers a special weekend price between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Owner Bret Johnson describes their version of this classic brunch cocktail as, “a little different, which is kind of cool.” The house-made bloody mary mix recipe is “a bit thicker in texture because we make it with gazpacho,” (a classic cold tomato vegetable soup). They grill the vegetables for the gazpacho and then combine the soup in a blender with Clamato juice, horseradish, Sriracha sauce, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Johnson says it has medium spice and isn’t garnished with anything crazy, just a pickle, a lime wedge and some olives. It also comes with a beer back, (a shot-sized beer sample to temper either the heat or spirits in the cocktail). Beer backs are “probably just a Minnesota thing,” Johnson says, but we are, after all, in Minnesota. So, customers can select their favorite brew as a back to this tasty brunch beverage.
5101 Arcadia Ave., Edina
Tavern on France offers a Build Your Own Bloody Mary as part of their “Build Your Own” suite available every day. Customers fill out a Build Your Own tablet located on their table to indicate their preferences in vodka, heat, vegetables, meat and cheeses to have combined with the house-made bloody mary mix that is hearty and tangy with a slight kick but not too spicy. Want to go all in on spice? Check the boxes for Absolut Peppar, Tabasco, jalapeno jack stuffed olives and pepper jack cheese cubes. For a milder ride, consider A1 sauce or Worcestershire combined with a simple celery stick and cheddar cheese. The combinations are so numerous, you’ll want to go back again and again to discover just the right combo for your personal taste. Or, maybe you’ll decide there are good combos for certain times or day or days in the week! (Note: during Sunday brunch, their house bloody mary, not the BYO, is available for $3.50)
Tavern on France
6740 France Ave. S., Edina
In the Southwest Metro
Served up all week, Tavern 4&5 uses Tito’s (unless otherwise requested) vodka in its Mason jar bloody Mary, which is amped up with a secret recipe mix (Even the manager doesn’t know what it is.), topped with pepperoni, ghost pepper jack cheese, pickled carrots and pickled stuffed filthy olives.
16396 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie
Get a standard bloody mary any day of the week at Floyd’s Bar, but the Weekender bloody mary comes out from open to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from open until they run out on Sundays (on holidays, too!). Made with a house mix, the Weekender’s accoutrements feature olives, shrimp, Mackenthun’s beef stick, marble jack and pepper jack cheese, pepperoncini and garlic.
1758 Arboretum Blvd., Victoria
The word is surely out that the Garage Bar and Bowl was named the 2019 best traditional bloody mary, thanks to the Twin Cities Bloody Mary Festival. See what all the buzz is about by rolling by and be sure to check out the bloody mary bar from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays. The usual suspects will sit alongside chives, green peppers, pepperoni and—wait for it—fresh and deep-fried cheese curds, bratwursts, chicken wings and house made bacon.
Garage Bar and Bowl
16 W. First St., Waconia
Lucky’s 13 offers a traditional bloody mary, a bacon bloody, a jalapeno bloody and a horseradish bloody. If you can’t decide, order the bloody flight. Lucky’s also has their bloody mary mix for sale, so you can enjoy your own concoctions at home.
3000 Harbor Lane N., Plymouth
Get in a Snit
Order a bloody mary, and chances are you’ll get a snit, too. Apparently, serving three ounces of beer alongside the cocktail is a regional thing—Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Surrounding states likely serve up the little buddy, too, but why? Nobody seems to know why or how the duo was first introduced, but ours is not to reason why because this is a marriage made in cocktail heaven. Cheers!
Make it Yourself
If home entertaining is more your style, Chaska’s Dolce Vita Wine Shop has hosted bloody mary Mix Smackdowns, where customers sample and vote on several mixes. Spooky Dill Pickle bloody mary mix has won twice, and second place has gone to Demitri’s, which is a seasoning mix added to Clamato or tomato juice.