This weekend, the brave folks at the Bloody Mary Liberation Party set out to answer a question as old as time (or at least a few years old) – who makes the best Bloody Mary in SF? To that end, they threw the Bloody Mary Festival this weekend and invited ten of SF’s best purveyors of Bloody Marys to come make a few hundred samples and let the people of SF give them a taste. Since they recognize that tasting Bloody Marys is something that takes tremendous experience, they invited yours truly to be one of three judges. You can see the results on their Facebook event page, and I’ve got a few thoughts to add as well.
We scored all the Bloody Marys in two categories – original and traditional. That made things a little tough, because they all very much tended towards the traditional side. My two highlights for what I considered original were Mission Bowling Club, which made one with roasted mole, and Front Porch, whose Bloody Mary had enough sugar in it to be distinctively sweet (and one of my favorites as a result).
A few other candidates for the best Bloody Mary in SF that stood out:
- Scoma’s came down from Fisherman’s Wharf with fresh crab in tow, and they were serving up a small fried ball of crab with each Bloody Mary. The drinks were excellent themselves, but a little bit of fried seafood was a perfect pairing.
- Kitchen Story brought the party – they had about a half dozen people at their booth in rainbow shirts and wigs, and they were having a great time. I’m not sure if that’s what drew in the large crowd at their booth, or whether it was the Millionaire’s Bacon they were serving with each Bloody. If that names sounds familiar, it’s because Kitchen Story is owned by the same folks who own Sweet Maple, Surisan and Blackwood, who all have Millionaire’s Bacon as well. Even without the pomp, circumstance and bacon, I still think Kitchen Story had the best BM in the house, so it’s no surprise they won for best original recipe and took home the people’s choice award.
- Tacolicious took home the award for best traditional BM, which was not a shock – they didn’t have gimmicks or food pairings, but they definitely made a good, old fashioned Bloody Mary.
The Bloody Mary Festival was a great time, and I’ll definitely plan to be back next year. Remember, though, at the end of the day the best Bloody Mary in SF is the one you like the most, so go out, try some, and let me know what you think!