The bloody Mary has been around for decades, perhaps as far back as the 1920s (its origins, like many popular food items, are subject to debate).
There’s no question, however, that these tomato juice-based cocktails are right up there with mimosas as the most popular spirited drinks for brunch.
The basic blueprint for a bloody Mary is tomato juice with vodka, but of course it doesn’t have to stop there. Most of these cocktails involve vegetable juice, celery seed, a dash of Worcestershire and/or hot sauce and a squirt of lemon or lime juice. Like classic martinis, bloody Marys also pair well with olives and pearl onions, or with a bit of celery or pickled green beans.
In recent years, bloodies have gotten more enhanced, from more exotic veggie garnishes to entire sliders, pizza slices, onion rings, pancakes, powdered donuts and cheese chunks. Google “crazy bloody Mary” and you’ll see extreme examples from across the country.
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You won’t find any fried chickens skewered and poked into a bloody Mary here on the Coast, but some restaurants offer interesting variations on the cocktail.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive list but a starting point if you want something a little extra with your cocktail and meal. Or, in some cases, just make this cocktail your meal.
Wentzel’s Seafood, Biloxi
Wentzel’s has a $10 bloody Mary on its menu, but if you want something extra special, order their Crabby Mary for $5 more. This spicy drink features a fried softshell crab perched jauntily atop the glass, eyes crafted from large green olives and antennae or horns (you decide) made of boiled shrimp. Lemon wedges, cucumber slices and celery add color, texture and more to this meal in a glass. Seriously. It was a filling lunch for a 5-foot woman as well as a 6-foot-3 man and his 5-foot-2 wife. You also can order a nonalcoholic version.
Bayview Gourmet, Ocean Springs
Bayview Gourmet is known for its breakfast all day from Thursday to Saturday and Sunday brunch, so it should come as no surprise that the Ocean Springs restaurant also is known for its bloodies. Each one comes with pickled green beans, pickled okra, olives, celery and a large, plump boiled shrimp as well as lemon and lime slices. Pair this satisfying drink with an omelet, quiche or Benedict order, and be prepared to ask for a to-go box for some of your breakfast.
Magnolia House, Harrah’s Gulf Coast, Biloxi
Kelly English’s South Louisiana-influenced restaurant inside Harrah’s offers a Sunday brunch menu, and with your order you get your choice of a mimosa or a bloody Mary. If you choose the bloody, the bartender puts ice and vodka in your rimmed glass, then you have the pleasure of garnishing your own drink ad infinitum at the bloody Mary bar on a nearby sideboard. There, you’ll find the juice mix, strips of bacon, an assortment of pickled vegetables, blackened shrimp, citrus wedges and enough condiments to satisfy the most persnickety mixologist. You also get to determine your own “heat” level.
If you go
Bayview Gourmet, 1010 Robinson St., Ocean Springs; 228-875-4232
Magnolia House, inside Harrah’s Gulf Coast, 280 Beach Blvd., Biloxi; 228-436-2946
Wentzel’s Seafood, 1906 Beach Blvd., Biloxi; 228-207-2423