The holiday season is quickly approaching which means making time for your family and friends. (Not to mention it is the season to eat and drink until your pants start to hurt!)
One of my favorite things to do with a cluster of people that I don’t get to see often is go to the city for brunch. It seems to have gained popularity again because I am seeing creative brunch offerings at more and more restaurants these days.
We went to brunch a couple of weeks ago with some friends at Rockit Bar and Grill and they had a Bloody Mary Bar. I haven’t seen anything like this in our small town and I was really intrigued.
I am always saying I don’t drink but I just love rich, luscious tomato juice especially when it is doctored up with some spice! (My 3 o’clock guilty pleasure is a Virgin Mary with olives, salami and chopped up celery leaves.)
I ordered my Bloody Mary and bellied up to the bar. I realized immediately that I didn’t know what to do. There were soooo many things to add to my drink that I almost felt overwhelmed and embarrassed because I didn’t want to goof it up. I doctored my drink up but kept thinking I could have done it better!
So after I left I started to wonder if I am the only person who has some questions about Bloody Mary Bars. I contacted Rockit again and they said if I come in they would teach me the ways of the Bloody Mary Bar so I could share it with others who may be missing out on a fun experience.
First and foremost, I was making it a lot harder than necessary. (I think this is where some alcohol would loosen me a up a bit!) It is a fancy glass of tomato juice, if I really screw it up (which everyone at Rockit claims has NEVER happened), they will happily give me a new glass.
But let’s not take that chance, so the first thing to do is just taste the Bloody Mary. Every restaurant/bar makes their mix differently. You have to know the flavors you are already working with. You may want it zestier, spicier or maybe a touch sweeter. (Rockit makes their own custom mix fresh every day.)
Walk up to the bar with your drink and a little plate. The plate will help you construct your drink better when you get back to the table. (The first time I did this I didn’t have the plate and I probably was a little bit messy. Sorry, Rockit.)
Before you start piling stuff on, take a look at all the options available. Rockit had a lot of choices and if you add everything you kind of lose the individual flavor profiles. (Think of it like a finger painting. If you swirl all the colors together, you just end up with a messy painting. If you think before you start painting, you could come up with a masterpiece!)
When I looked at the selection available, I decided that I was going to give my drink an antipasti vibe. I put sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, salami and cheese on my plate. (I couldn’t resist sticking a dill pickle in my glass too because I love pickles soaked in Bloody Mary Mix! Oh, and I had to grab a shrimp but I only took one!)
I added some caper berries to my glass and a dash or two of tobacco and went back to my seat. (It is okay to go back up and add more hot sauce if needed but it isn’t cool to bring all the sauces back to your table.)
From there I built my masterpiece, I speared my ingredients and placed them in my glass to soak up some tomatoey goodness. (Unless you are the love child of Miley Cyrus and Gene Simmons, the spear is essential in grabbing your garnish to eat.)
Besides the fun of tasting your own creation, sitting at a table with a group who has all made their own signature Bloody Marys is pretty awesome. It is interesting to see (and if you know them well enough, taste) what your friends have come up with.
Rockit’s Bloody Mary Bar only costs $5 per Bloody Mary and obviously prices vary by restaurants. (One of our local restaurants has a $4 Bloody Mary and it comes with a stick of celery…I’d rather have the bar!!)
And if you still aren’t confident of your garnishing skills, ask the staff. They have some great suggestions on how to mix it up and make it perfect!
So now I can’t wait until this small town girl goes back to the city for brunch over the holidays with my family and friends. I feel like I am going to introduce everyone to a recreational way to enjoy a Bloody Mary!