5 Outrageously Garnished Bloody Marys That Change the Game

Adventurous takes on the quintessential brunch cocktail in San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma
Flickr/randomlife

A simple Bloody Mary is wonderful, but why not shake it up once in a while? (Photo Modified: Flickr/randomlife)

Take the zany trendiness of San Francisco and combine it with the comforting heartiness of Sonoma and innovative luxury of the Napa Valley. What do you have? A Utopian playground for epicures, where food is not only paired with drinks, but served on top of them, particularly when it comes to the Bloody Mary: the infamous kitchen sink drink, socially acceptable morning cocktail, and magical hangover remedy in a glass. The mixture itself is the Rubik’s cube of cocktails, boasting endless flavor combinations. Bloody Marys aren’t for everyone — people either love them or hate them. However, when you add food to the garnish, it becomes a whole new beast. What better place to try a cutting edge food and drink experience than an area with more Michelin stars per capita than any other place in North America?

Feast your eyes on five crazy delicious Bloody Marys from San Francisco to wine country.

Downtown Joe's

If you find yourself waking up in the Napa Valley, chances are you are at least somewhat hungover from day drinking and winery hopping. Whether you're looking for a remedy or just trying to keep your buzz a­buzzin’, swing by Downtown Joe’s for their Famous Progressive Bloody Mary. On Sundays, their Bloody Marys contain double shots and are garnished with celery, olives, a cocktail onion, a strip of bacon, and a buffalo chicken wing served with a mini beer back on the side. It’s a little hair of the dog and some grease to soak up all of those Howell Mountain Cabernets and Carneros Chardonnays that were waltzing on your taste buds yesterday and are doing the tango on your stomach lining today.

The Eagle Cafe — San Francisco, CA

Eagle Cafe

Lauren Carlson

The Crabby Mary is garnished with a mountain of fresh crab, lemon wedges, caperberries, olives, peppers, cornichons, crackers, and cocktail sauce.

Whether you're strolling through Fisherman's Wharf, sightseeing, or waiting for the ferry ride home, take some time to stop and enjoy the Eagle Cafe’s spectacular view of the bay while feasting on the fresh seafood on your cocktail. Yes, you read that correctly — their Crabby Mary is garnished with a mountain of fresh crab, lemon wedges, caperberries, olives, peppers, cornichons, crackers, and cocktail sauce. It’s the boozy version of crab cocktail, and just as delicious.

Murphy's Irish Pub — Sonoma, CA

Murphy's Irish Pub

Lauren Carlson

This Bloody Mary will put you in a food coma.

Sonoma is all about hidden beauty. It’s Napa’s country­loving, introverted sibling who likes to play outside; she always has dirt on her hands and a warm smile on her face. It’s no surprise that they have a hidden gem of a Bloody Mary in a cozy hole­in­the­wall pub. Murphy’s Irish Pub serves their 15­Minute Bloody Mary with a pint of Alley Pale Ale for starters. It’s garnished with celery, olive, a cocktail onion, a strip of bacon, crumbled bacon, a fried dill pickle, and a BBQ beef slider, all hovering over a Mason jar. Learn from my mistake: This Bloody Mary will put you in a food coma.

Bistro Don Giovanni’s — Napa, CA

Bistro Don Giovanni's

Lauren Carlson

The Blondie Mary consists of yellow tomatoes, white Worcestershire sauce, green Tabasco, and jalapeño peppers.

Quaint Don Giovanni’s is a local Italian joint on the edge of Napa heading towards Yountville. Their Blondie Mary is liquid gold and just as sought after in the Bloody Mary world, probably because it’s only available when yellow tomatoes are in season. The Blondie Mary consists of yellow tomatoes, white Worcestershire sauce, green Tabasco, and jalapeño peppers, and is garnished with a pickled yellow wax bean and cherry tomato. I admit, the garnishes on this Bloody Mary aren’t necessarily outrageous, but they’re still unique in their own right, and the mix is unlike any Bloody you’ve ever tried. If you’re in Napa during the summer or early fall, the Blondie Mary is definitely a bucket list brunch item.

1313 ­ Napa, CA

1313 Napa, CA

Lauren Carlson

The base is made fresh daily and consists of heirloom tomatoes, grilled jalapeño peppers, Meyer lemon, ancho chile­infused vodka, and an array of spices.

They call the kitchen “Lulu’s” at 1313 after the owner’s mother, and just as a mom makes sure you’re happily over-accommodated when you visit, this Bloody Mary is eager to please. A new attraction for Sunday brunch is their build­your-own-Bloody Mary bar with tableside service. The base is made fresh daily and consists of heirloom tomatoes, grilled jalapeño peppers, Meyer lemon, ancho chile­infused vodka, and an array of spices. You have a choice of Tapatio, Cholula, Sriracha, and Tabasco for hot sauce, ground black truffle salt, black lava Hawaiian salt, Sriracha salt, or habanero salt to rim your glass, and cilantro-jalapeño, mango­Thai chile, smoked lime-tamarind, or strawberry-rosemary-black pepper-infused tequila to float on top. That’s only the beginning — the garnish choices are chipotle-smoked meat straws, bacon­wrapped dates, candied bacon, banana peppers, house­made beef jerky, bleu cheese­stuffed olives, fried shrimp, fried oysters, candied jalapenos, and hard­boiled eggs pickled in beet juice and apple cider vinegar. The garnishes range from $1­$3 each, so it may end up being the priciest Bloody Mary you’ve ordered, but you most certainly get what you pay for — indulge in the smorgasbord.

To read more on food and travel by Lauren Carlson, visit Global Local.