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In Bars & Clubs

Stacy Blasiola of Henry's Pub says don't overpour the vodka. (PHOTO: Andy Tarnoff )

Magic elixir: A guide to Milwaukee Bloody Marys


Noted hangover cure, required brunch beverage and perhaps the best use for tomato juice, the Bloody Mary is one of the most popular mixed drinks in the country. In a drinking town like Milwaukee, that carries a lot of weight.

The debate rages on about the Bloody Mary's origin. Many credit a bartender at Harry's New York Bar -- which ironically was in Paris -- with the drink's creation in the 1920s. However, bars from New York to Chicago to West Palm Beach lay some sort of claim. Most say the drink was named after Queen Mary I, who was called "Bloody Mary" in the 1500s due to her penchant for burning Protestants at the stake; others claim it was named after a girl named Mary who tried the drink and spilled some on her dress. Perhaps nobody wanted to settle the debate because it could have been -- you knew this was coming -- bloody.

At any rate, the Bloody Mary consists of two base ingredients: vodka and tomato juice. The base juice doesn't have to be straight tomato; it can be V-8, Clamato juice, or any other tomato-based variation. Worcestershire sauce, lemon, pepper, Tabasco sauce and celery salt are the most common additional ingredients; from there, all kinds of items can garnish this versatile beverage. They include celery sticks, olives, and various pickled things: asparagus, mushrooms, even, well, pickles.

Creativity comes into play with additional garnishes: spicy Bloodys in Texas often feature jalapenos and sometimes a dash of barbecue sauce; in Wisconsin it's not unusual to find a beef stick hanging out in your glass. Ample research also suggests that the beer chaser tends to be a local thing, too.

So if you're hankering for a (relatively) nutritious alcoholic beverage, here are some locations around town featuring notable Bloody Marys. Since practically every bar serves Bloody Marys, this is very much a partial guide. If you don't find your favorite here, add it to the Comments section so we can all do some "research."

The Art Bar
722 E. Burleigh St., (414) 372-7880

Absolute Vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, A1 steak sauce, Worcester sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper, celery salt and Tabasco sauce all garnished with a lemon wedge, peppers, two olives, sausage, pickle and pickled mushroom.

BBC
2022 E. North Ave., (414) 272-7263

Made by request, BBC offers choices with Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, A1 mild or spicy sauce, mushrooms, olives and pickles. Bloody Mary drinkers can decide what goes in or stays out.

Cans Bar and Canteen
1815 E. Kenilworth Pl., (414) 225-0421

Cans offers a Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings you need. It takes place during brunch on Saturdays and Sunday until 5 p.m. You get a cup of vodka and a mix of zing zang, Major Peters or Redeye. From there, you receive tomato juice and a full veggie and garnish bar to add more flavor to your drink.

Champps
1240 S. Moorland Rd., Brookfield, (262) 797-6600
5030 S. 74th St., Greenfield, (414) 281-0600

Their "do-it-yourself" bar is no longer with us, but Champps Americana still features the "gi-normous" Bloody Mary, complete with a beef stick, celery stick, carrot, and two blocks of cheese with your choice of vodka. Specials are occasionally offered in conjunction with major sporting events.

Chancery
Six locations in SE Wisconsin

The Chancery has a well-known and widely-loved Bloody Mary that "skewers" you with a garden veggie kabob, in addition to the beef stick and long stalk of celery. The kabob includes pickles, mushrooms, and even green onion.

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OMCreader | Aug. 15, 2005 at 1:33 p.m. (report)

Kay said: Fracaro's bowling alley in Waukesha, the best I've had in a long time.

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OMCreader | Aug. 2, 2005 at 11:46 a.m. (report)

Silver Spring House said: The Silver Spring House has been known for their homemade Bloody Marys for years. They are quite a value with a full beer chaser.

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OMCreader | July 29, 2005 at 6:32 p.m. (report)

Settled said: it's called a "Red-eye"....

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OMCreader | July 27, 2005 at 6:48 p.m. (report)

patrad said: settle a bet for me: what is half tomato juice, half beer called? my friend says its the "original bloddy mary" but I've heard a different name and cant remember it.

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OMCreader | July 14, 2005 at 8:52 a.m. (report)

That Guy said: Wicked Hop has the best BM in the city.

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