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Columbia's Best Bloody Marys

Columbia's Best Bloody Marys

Blood•y Mar•y /’bledee mair-ee/  Noun - A ghost who appears behind you in the mirror when you say her name three times. OR more often, the delicious morning – or anytime of the day, if you're into that sort of thing – beverage consisting of tomato juice, vodka and anything your heart desires, from vegetables to bacon.

This yummy tomato cocktail is said to have been created by a bartender named Fernand Petiot at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in the 1920’s. The drink's name came after a patron said it reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago and a girl there named Mary. Although they now seem to be made with everything but the kitchen sink, the drink was originally a basic tomato-juice cocktail.

Fast forward to present day and take a walk down the streets of Columbia on a Saturday morning, and you’ll probably hear someone mumbling that they need a Bloody Mary, or three, to cure a hangover. But where do locals go to find the best?

We tested Columbia’s spiciest, veggiest and baconiest Bloody Marys so that you can find your favorite.

Room 38
Our first stop was Room 38 Restaurant and Lounge. A great place for midday lunch, afterwork cocktails at happy hour or Saturday brunch. Their bloody boasted a couple special features. Available in four different levels of heat, Room 38’s bloodies are made with your choice of house-infused cucumber basil lemon gin (the mildest of the four), pickled vodka, 7 pepper vodka or ghost pepper vodka for daring Bloody Mary drinkers. The alcohol is infused in-house in small batches and takes about two weeks to concoct. Another unique feature of Room 38’s Bloody Mary is their house-made pepper puree, which is added to Zing Zang mix.

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The taste test - Since there was more than one flavor to indulge in, we figured, why not get two? We sampled the pickled vodka and 7 pepper vodka options to get an idea of both ends of the heat spectrum. 
The presentation was beautiful. Each glass was rimmed with salt and pepper for additional aesthetics and flavor. The garnishes included a lemon, lime and a big ol’ green olive.

Pickled: The picked vodka was certainly detectable in a good way. If you're someone who loves to throw all of the garnishes in your morning beverage, what better than adding some extra flavor to the very alcohol making up the drink? Low on spice but high on earthy flavor.

7 Pepper: A spicy Bloody Mary lover’s match made in heaven. With the kind of heat that sneaks up on you, it's spicy without being ghost pepper spicy 
– we will leave that to the very bold. The pepper puree is brought out even more by the peppers infused in the vodka and makes it taste like it is made almost entirely of sweet n’ spicy peppers instead of tomatoes. Different and delish.

List of ingredients House infused vodka, Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix and homemade pepper puree.
Locally sourced ingredients The peppers are fresh produce and the ingredients used to infuse vodka and gin are fresh as well.
Size (oz) 14 oz. double
Price $9.50
Fun facts about drink, process, etc The vodka choices are infused in-house. The time is takes to infuse the vodka is usually two weeks.

Good ol’ Harpo's. Whether you're a fan of $2 Tuesdays, Mizzou game days or both, it has been a Columbia staple since the beginning of time. There's one thing in particular that makes a Harpo’s Bloody Mary so special: bacon. This was an automatic seller for me. I mean come on, it's bacon. With a crispy slice in each glass, this salty treat adds an extra something to the classic drink.  

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The taste test - It tasted like a classic Bloody Mary should. Not very spicy but you could have them kick that up for you. There was a generous amount of olives which I'm partial to. The garnishes really make it a gorgeous Bloody Mary, kind of like a whole salad in a glass. Yeah, let’s look at it that way.

List of ingredients Zing Zang mix, bacon, celery, green olives, Tabasco, black pepper, Worcestershire and love.
Size (oz) 22 oz
Price $8 .00
Fun facts about drink, process, etc One day, Harpo’s collaborated with Pizza Tree and put mini pizza slices in their Bloody Mary's.

Flat Branch - If you’ve been to Columbia, you've probably been to, or at least heard of, Flat Branch. You’ve maybe tried their burgers, pork tacos or assortment of in-house brewed beers, but you may not have had a Flat Branch Bloody Mary. The fun thing about their bloody is it contains one of their famous brews, the Green Chile beer.

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The taste test - The beer adds a unique texture to the drink by carbonating it a bit, and this really brings out the tomato flavor. The horseradish in this Bloody Mary gives it a nice kick, too. While the heat from the Green Chile beer is mild, 5-10 seconds after taking a sip, the horseradish kicks in and a spicy aftertaste remains. This was the most affordable Bloody Mary on our list and it’s a great value at a great place.
List of ingredients Zing Zang mix, Tabasco, Worcestershire, horseradish pepper, celery salt and house-made Green Chili beer.
Locally sourced ingredients House brewed beer
Size (oz) Imperial pint (18 oz)
Price $5.50
Fun facts about drink, process, etc The Green Chili beer that is added is a light ale. Fifty pounds of Anaheim chilies are added when fermentation starts, and Serrano chiles are also added to give it extra heat. It takes about three to four weeks to make a batch. On a busy Saturday, Flat Branch may go through a case (12 bottles) of Zing Zang mix while cranking out Bloody Marys for thirsty customers.

9th Street Public House - 9th Street's Blondie Mary is a golden twist on a classic. Well known around town for crazy, creative cocktails, their cocktail master, Michael DeLeon, created the Blondie Mary about a year ago and it has been gaining popularity ever since.

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The taste test - The Blondie Mary is peppery and very spicy. Like the Room 38 Bloody Mary, it tastes more like peppers than tomatoes but it is completely different due to the use of yellow peppers and yellow harvest tomatoes. It packs a spicy punch while being bright, light and fresh. The chipotle meat stick goes with the spicy theme well, and I found that eating a bite of the meat stick then taking a sip adds to the heat
– and I’m all about the heat.

List of ingredients Yellow harvest tomato, bell peppers, house vodka standard, seasoning sprinkled on top and in it, chipotle meat stick.
Locally sourced ingredients Local ingredients are bought weekly to make the mix
Size (oz) 16 oz.
Price $8.50
Fun facts about drink, process, etc If they advertise the Blondie Mary, they go through the mix in mere hours. Theirs is also made with the special ingredient: love.
The moral of the story is, there is a Bloody Mary for every palate in Columbia. The best part, no scary ghost is 
involved on your own personal quest to find the best.  

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