Demitri’s: The Bartender’s (and Our) Choice

We never need an excuse to drink a bloody mary. (Do you guys? Asking for a friend.) However, we took the sun shining a few Saturdays ago as a reason to enjoy a few. And for this, we looked to Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasonings.

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Why is it called a seasoning and not a mix, you ask? Great question. You make Demitri’s in a small batch, adding two ounces of seasoning to 1 quart of tomato juice. We love this trend in bloody mary making because it lets you dial the tomato flavor up or down, depending on what you’re into. Also, made with 100% natural ingredients. Win.

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Speaking of what you’re into, we’re seriously into spicy bloodies. Demetri’s comes in four varieties, Classic Recipe, Extra Horseradish, Chiles and Peppers and Chipotle-Habernero. We had to go for bold and try the Chipotle-Habernero with the Bacon-Flavored Rim Shot. After all it’s “Made with smoked jalapeños and whole pureed habañero peppers, this is one is for serious heat lovers!” BACON RIM SALT, in case you missed that.

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Are you up for some heat? This one is seriously spicy, y’all. Smoky and even a little sultry, just the way we like it. We made ours with whiskey, adding to the smoky oak flavors. The husband (Amber’s), also known as the unofficial Bloody Best taste tester, gave it a try and now has a full chest of hair. (We kid ,we kid.) Hella flavorful, even if not for the faint of heart. Here’s the thing, you can always add more tomato juice (or V8 in our case) if the spice gets too intense.

And if you can’t take the heat, get at the other varieties! We’ve tried the Extra Horseradish, and it’s flavorful and delicious with the right balance of horseradish. We’re stoked to try them all. You can also use the seasonings in sauces and marinades, which we’re particularly looking forward to as grilling season approaches. (Ahem, husband/taste tester) They would also be great for entertaining since Demetri’s is best made in batches. Oh, and they make margarita mixes. Not that we’re in the least bit excited about drinking beverages outdoors again. Not at all.

Check out Demitri’s Bloody Mary seasoning at your nearest retailer or order online.

*Products were complimentary. Opinions and photography are our own. 

 

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Bloody Mary, Dillman’s

Not sure why we thought it would be a great idea to brunch and bloody mary hop on St. Patrick’s Day. We braved the drunken sea of green-clad partiers all in the name of the boozy tomato cocktail we love.

Avoiding every Irish-named spot, we decided to pop into Dillman’s and grab a seat at the bar.

Just like the leather-clad, cozy restaurant, the bloody mary at Dillman’s is a looker with its salt rim and homemade bread and butter pickles. And it tastes just as good as it looks. It has a fresh tomato taste that’s enhanced by a special spice mix, pickle juice, lime juice, horseradish and worcestershire. Without a doubt, the bread and butter pickles are the highlight of this cocktail.

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As we sipped this bloody mary, we experienced a bit of deja vu. It tasted eerily similar to the one at Au Cheval. Well, lo and behold, Dillman’s and Au Cheval are part of the Brendan Sodikoff food empire (see also: Maude’s Liquor Bar, Gilt Bar and Bavette’s). No wonder it tasted just as delicious as Au Cheval’s bloody mary. It’s practically the same drink. This also explained the similarly sophisticated, old timey decor.

To be sure, one of us had to go back at lunchtime and have another one. Yep, still eerily similar. Still delicious. If you’re downtown, be sure to check out Dillman’s. It’s hard to find a great weekday bloody mary, and Dillman’s serves theirs all time.  The sandwiches won’t disappoint either.

Word on the street is that Dillman’s is being reconcepted to make room for a new Italian venture that will split up the space. We’re interested to learn how it will shake out.

Bloody Mary: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 4.5

Spicy: 4

Treats: 3.5

Creativity: 4

Overall: 4

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Miami meets Midwest: Our signature bloodies

We spend a lot of time talking about bloody marys and our fair city, Chicago. You get it, we love them. We wax poetic about food and libations, but reveal little about ourselves. Somewhat on purpose.

For example, you may or may not know Elaine hails from Miami. Her family is from Cuba, and she speaks Spanish fluently. She’s also a brillz designer who can rock lipstick better than 99% of ladies (and gents) out there. And Amber? A Hoosier girl with a signature bob who’s tiny but thinks she’s fierce. Often seen shoulder dancing. Wherever. Is it weird we’re talking about ourselves in third person? Sure, but so are we.

In the spirit of sharing, we thought it’d be fun to create bloody marys that reflect ourselves and our roots. Without further ado…

Cuban Mary by Elaine

The Cuban Mary is made with flavors used in traditional Cuban cooking. Contrary to popular belief, Cuban food is not spicy. Common ingredients include garlic, cumin and Sazon Goya on everything. I used Garlic Chili Cholula to infuse garlic flavor while still bringing a little heat. I sprinkled in half packet of Sazon Goya with cilantro to season it. Lime V8 gives it a unique base, reminiscent of  lime juice squeezed over Cuban dishes.

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The garnish represents a Cuban sandwich by using swiss cheese, pork, ham and bread and butter pickles. I left out the mustard and Cuban bread, but I’m sure you understand.

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Cuban Mary

Serves one

7 oz. Lime V8

2 oz. Stoli vodka

1 oz. Garlic Lime Cholula

1/2 packet Sazon Goya

Lime

Garlic salt

Midwest Mary by Amber 

What’s funny is that I grew up hating tomatoes. My grandparents grew red, yellow, green tomatoes in their garden, and my family ate them in every meal. I’d only eat them in spaghetti sauce or ketchup. Times have changed. To represent southern Indiana, Midwest Mary was created to taste down-to-earth, honest and homegrown, as if from a garden. I picked flavors like horseradish, pickle juice, lemon juice and added a kick with hot sauce and A1.

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The garnish was inspired by meat and cheese dishes I grew up loving. Also, the beer back is charmingly Midwestern. I picked Upland Helios Pale Ale, a beer brewed in Bloomington, Indiana, home of my alma mater, Indiana University. Best enjoyed in a Nick’s English Hut glass.

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Midwest Mary,

Serves one

7 oz. V8

2 oz. Stoli vodka

1/2 tsp. hot sauce

4 pours Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. A1 sauce

1/2 tsp. horseradish

1 tsp. dill pickle juice

lemon juice

fresh cracked pepper

We hope you enjoy our signature bloody marys! Please let us know what you think. While we’re sharing, be sure to check out the fabulous bloody mary by Cait from Pretty and Fun. We won’t give too much away, but it includes a delicious Stoli bloody concoction and a gorgeous bar setup.

Cheers, everyone!

This post was sponsored by Stoli. Opinions and photography are our own. Join Stoli in their coast-to-coast search for your favorite local flavors by following #SearchForMary. 

STOLICHNAYA® Premium Vodka and Flavored Premium Vodkas. 37.5%-40% Alc/Vol. (75-80 proof). Distilled from Russian Grain. Stoli Group USA, LLC, New York, NY ©2014 Spirits International, B.V.

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Talking bloody marys on Windy City Live

Hey friends! Yesterday, we were lucky enough to appear on Windy City Live After Dark segment. We sat down with Val, Ryan and Ji and talked about the best and most ridiculously garnished bloody marys in Chicago. See us sip some bloody marys in action here. 

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Photo credit: Windy City Live

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Johnny’s Famous BLT Mary, Hash House A Go Go

After the Thrillist article with our picks for the most ridiculously garnished bloody marys, we decided there’s still work to do.

We needed to put our money where are mouths are and check out the rest of the bloodies for ourselves. And that’s how we waded through a drunken sea of green to try Hash House A Go Go on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

As it turns out, Johnny’s Famous BLT Mary isn’t a brunch cocktail. It’s a drinkable brunch appetizer. Crisp, spicy bacon atop lettuce and tomato, accompanied with a piece of white toast and a mayonnaise packet. Oh, and there’s a bloody mary underneath all of that.

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You can get distracted and forget the bloody mary tastes pretty good. A well-seasoned tomato base that leans heavily on pickle and horseradish flavors and is complemented by spicy bacon. The issue we had with this bloody is that it’s too literal with the mayonnaise packet. Condiments belong in the bloody not in a packet. And, let’s be real. Isn’t mayonnaise gross on its own?

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Hash House A Go Go has more down-to-earth bloodies like this HH Stone Bloody Mary that comes with, you guessed it, Stone Pale Ale. A refreshing, more relaxed bloody mary alternative. Plus, a regular bloody with our old pal vodka.

The theme at this spot, which has locations in other cities like San Diego and Las Vegas, is Twisted Farm food, including Indiana Favorites like meatloaf, fried pork tenderloin, biscuits and gravy and mashed potatoes. All in insanely huge portions. Now, one of us grew up in Southern Indiana and is pretty sure she didn’t eat like this. At least all the time. Prepare to leave very full unless you take half of your meal with you.

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The House Hashes were a popular choice at the table with rosemary biscuits being a highlight. Not ordered but marveled were the flapjacks, which were bigger than the plate they arrived on. And if we said we weren’t curious about the pork tenderloin, we’d be lying. Has anyone tried it? We can imagine it tastes a little like home.

We still feel confident that this bloody deserves its spot on our ridiculous garnish list. Everything at Hash House A Go Go was tasty, yet a little over the top.

Johnny’s Famous BLT Bloody Mary:  Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste:       3

Spicy:   3

Treats:  3

Creativity: 3.5

Overall:      3.125

 

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La Maria India and Margarita Carmesi, Las Palmas

If you could guess anything about us from browsing our corner of the internet, besides the fact we love bloody marys, is that we love brunch with a Mexican flair. If there’s a Mexican-inspired dish on the menu, at least one or both of us is ordering it. Yeah, we’re that cutesy couple that always orders the same thing at restaurants. Except, you know platonic.

Because one of us (ahem, Elaine) is particularly obsessed with brunching at Las Palmas as of late, we figured why not give it an official Bloody Best visit. Obviously, drinks were in order.

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One of us ordered La Maria India (tall, skinny number above), Las Palmas’ version of a bloody mary, which includes a housemade chipotle mix and Kettle One vodka. The other ordered the Margarita Carmesi because it sounded like a bloody mary and margarita in one. It essentially is: house-made roasted tomato juice infused with jalapeño, lime juice and Milagro tequila.

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Here’s the thing: both drinks were incredibly tasty with a refreshing tomato-lime flavor and a hint of spice. But they tasted almost exactly the same—except for the fact that margarita had a distinct tequila flavor. Perhaps the bartender was different that day or there was a mix up of sorts. Hey, we’re not complaining. They both were good. Just not what we were expecting.

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You guessed it. We ordered the exact same dish off the menu, Huevos con Chorizo. Isn’t that cute? Sure glad we did too. Neither of us would have been up for sharing. It’s a flavorful dish made with house-made chorizo, scrambled eggs and a crunchy tortilla, topped with pico de gallo, black refried beans & queso fresco. Our advice: go ahead and add a little of that salsa that comes with the complimentary chips.

We’re looking forward to coming back in the springtime when we can sit on the back patio. Girls can dream about warm weather, right? At any rate, the bright and airy sun room with its eclectic art was pleasant enough.

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La Maria India and Margarita Carmesi: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3

Spice: 3.5

Treats: 2

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3

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Chicago’s 10 Most Ridiculous Bloody Marys on Thrillist

In case you haven’t seen our obsessive posts and tweets, we’re a little excited about our collaboration with Thrillist in which we name the top 10 most ridiculous bloody marys in Chicago. And by ridiculous, we mean some ridiculously awesome garnishes.

Read the article here: http://thrl.st/1fsffpA

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Many thanks to everyone who has shared and liked the article! You guys are the best. Really. High fives and bloody marys for everyone.
If you don’t already, feel free to follow our shenanigans on Twitter or like Bloody Best on Facebook.
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#SearchforMary: Bloody Mike at Ditka’s

Chicago. The city we love. Sure, we write about our obsession with bloody marys and brunch, but at the core, it’s a love letter to our beloved Second City.

Perhaps our favorite part about our search for the best bloody mary is that it’s led us to explore different neighborhoods and meet new people. To say that people here are passionate about good food would be a vast understatement. Everyone is always quick to tell you about best brunches and bloody marys they’ve enjoyed.

On one of many such adventures, a brunch-hopping woman raved about the bloody mary at Ditka’s. We’ve been many places, but the Chicago steakhouse remains unchartered bloody mary territory. Nothing says classic Chicago quite like them. After all, our city was built around the stockyards, where the nickname “City of Broad Shoulders” was born.

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So, we thought why not give Da Coach’s bloody mary a spin. The Saturday we visited was the day of the NHL Stadium Series, so Ditka’s was swarming with pre-gaming Hawks fans. Walking in, we spotted several fans drinking a Bloody Mike and instantly knew we were in good company.

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The City of Broad Shoulders requires a bloody mary with equally broad shoulders, and the Bloody Mike is it. It’s thick and hardworking, made with Ditka’s Kickass Bloody Mary mix and Stoli Hot. The mix (which you can also buy) has a thick tomato taste that’s heavy on celery salt and it finishes with a little heat, thanks to the jalapeño of Stoli Hot.

In true Midwestern fashion, this bloody also comes with Iron Mike’s Ale as a beer back. (What doesn’t this guy do?) Often, beer backs seem superfluous, but this one was a nice palate cleanser between drinks. Da Coach doesn’t mess around with the garnish either—you get a skewer of shrimp, lemon, lime, tomato, pickle, tomato, pepperoncini. It’s a classic and unpretentious bloody mary, much like the Windy City.

Bloody Mike: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 4

Spice: 3.5

Treats: 4

Creativity: 3.5

Overall: 3.75

While people might  think of deep dish pizza and ketchup-less hot dogs when they think of Chicago, we’re much more than that. We’re an interesting mash-up of hardworking cultures, cuisine and inhabitants. And besides some super good bloody marys, that’s something we’ve discovered along the way.

This post was sponsored by Stoli. Opinions and photography are our own. Join Stoli in their coast-to-coast search for your favorite local flavors by following #SearchForMary. And if you can, be sure to check out the Stoli Bloody Mary truck making its next stop in Dallas (March 12 – 23)!

STOLICHNAYA® Premium Vodka and Flavored Premium Vodkas. 37.5%-40% Alc/Vol. (75-80 proof). Distilled from Russian Grain. Stoli Group USA, LLC, New York, NY ©2014 Spirits International, B.V.

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Bloody Mary, Siena Tavern

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It’s not often you utter the word “refreshing,” after taking the first sip of your bloody mary. “Good,” yes. “Spicy,” often.

But that was our reaction when we visited Siena Tavern a few weeks ago. In fact, this bloody was so effervescent and refreshing, we were instantly dreaming of warmer months and sipping libations on a patio. What’s the secret? Beer. Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang, to be exact. And even though this bloody included beer, it was well balanced. Not watered down.

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Here’s the thing about Siena Tavern’s bloody mary: It’s made with Zing Zang. Yep, the same mix you can buy at Jewel or Target. As far as mass-produced bloody mary mixes go, Zing Zang is the best out there. There’s none of the high fructose corn syrup you’ll find in, say, Mr. & Mrs. T’s.

While this isn’t a wildly inventive or adventurous bloody mary, it’s proof that bars and restaurants don’t have to pull gimmicks to come up with a solid signature one. Rule of thumb: if you’re going with a pre-made mix over homemade, make sure it’s a really good one. And then put your spin on it, like adding beer, for example. The garnish was rather generous as well, with a large hunk of cheese, salami, pepper and an olive. The price ($13) was a little steep, considering the mix is pre-made. Especially when you could easily throw a few of these back (which we did).

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Let’s get this out of the way: the food is amazing. This might not come as a surprise, considering it’s headed up by Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame. What’s cool about the brunch menu is you can order traditional brunch items or lunch foods such as salads, pizza and pasta.

Do yourself a favor and order the coccoli. Crispy, slightly sweet pastries you fill with savory cheese and prosciutto. It was so amazing, we devoured it in seconds and didn’t even manage a shot of it. Someone even wrote a whole article about how ridiculously awesome it is.

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The Lobster Hash and Sienna Chopped are highly recommended, both a savory combination of high quality ingredients. We’re anxious to come back soon for the pizza.

Bloody Mary, Siena Tavern: Our rating (scale of 1–5)

Taste: 3.75

Spice: 3.25

Treats: 3.5

Creativity: 3

Overall: 3.375

Happy March, our fellow bloody mary lovers. Oh yeah, Elaine got a new camera! Which we’ve named Bonnie. Aren’t these pics pretty?

Siena Tavern is located at 51 W. Kinzie. Reservations are recommended. 

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Ask a bloody expert: Tim Williams

We’re stoked to introduce our new series, Ask a Bloody Expert, where we pick the brains of industry folks to learn the ins and outs of our favorite cocktail. First up: meet Tim Williams, owner and mixology extraordinaire of Pour Souls Cocktail Club. Tim has consulted and concocted bloody marys on the menus of Nellcote, Headquarters Beercade and more. 

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What makes a good bloody mary?

Bloody marys are different for each person. I think when I’ve come up with them for different menus, they have to have a distinct tomato flavor. You got to support that tomato with other stuff: black pepper, horseradish, Worcesteshire. The kind of stuff people are looking for. But I don’t really try to make one that’s inherently salty or spicy because there are so many things that people are going to want to customize anyway. That kind of stuff I leave up to them. It’s about establishing a traditional tomato base that’s not too heavy. And then from there, people are going to do what they want to it. It’s about being as good of a canvas as possible. For me, the trick is to not be too assertive with the traditional mix.

Who is making a good bloody these days?

I don’t think of bloodies as high-profile drinks as far as having a name behind them. We were talking about Sauce and Bread earlier, theirs is awesome. Most places that have serious name bartenders are 5pm bars. I think The Southern has a really good one. You can get it with bacon-infused bourbon, which is awesome. Creativity for the sake of your concept is ok, but it’s got to connect otherwise you have people in print saying it’s terrible.

What’s the biggest mistake you see in bloody marys? 

For the most part, whiskey doesn’t work for bloody marys. If you think about the flavors inherent in whiskey, you have caramel, vanilla, oak, that doesn’t go along with tomato or black pepper. The original bloody mary, a red snapper with gin? Amazing. In my opinion, more character. A silver tequila is fine too. I just think anything with a ton of barrel aged characteristics doesn’t work. That’s just my opinion.

Why does The Southern’s work? 

By putting bacon in it, you nullify the subtleties of the vanilla and caramel. You override that with smoky. And smoky goes with tomato. That makes sense.

Tell us about Pour Souls. 

Cocktail classes for everyday people. We do classes for the general public and beverage catering. On the corporate side, we do team building, menu development and staff training for restaurants.

What are you drinking these days?

It’s so cliche to say it, but I drink a lot of beer. A lot of ciders. Vander Mill from Michigan is my favorite. They make a really clean cider. I usually just drink it out of the can. Sometimes with a shot of whiskey in it. It isn’t sweet. Really dry. Apples can ferment on their own to exactly 7%. Any cider that’s lower than or above 7% has something added to it. I don’t really like those.  I  like Vander Mill because it tastes like fermented apples. They have a couple that have pecan and cinnamon, some that’s mixed with blueberry juice, one mixed with cherry. I really like Vander Mill. Good strong 7%. It’s stronger than a normal beer but it’s not going to knock you on your ass. It’s not 10%. There’s not a ton of sugar involved, which is great too.

Check out more about Pour Souls at poursouls.com.

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