Sunday, Oct. 20 was by far one of the most beautiful fall days New York City has seen this season. As we waited in line to get into Pier 60 of Chelsea Piers for the Absolut Blood Mary event, we were greeted by the gorgeous water of the Hudson River and the lingering smell of some delicious brunch food being prepared inside. Upon entering the massive ballroom, we were met with the entire cast of Chopped moving freely between booths trying the Bloody Marys out for themselves. We’re not sure if we’ve ever been so close to Aarón Sánchez before, but it was humbling to see him cha-cha his way up to the stage.
"We saw some things in these cocktails that we definitely had never come across before" As the cast introduced themselves individually, we were informed that Thrillist had chosen Bloody Marys from all over the country and the finalists were the ones being featured at the event. Michigan, Florida, and even Ohio were represented at the event, where guests were encouraged to try all eight finalists' concoctions and drop a chip into their boxes if they believed the Bloody should be the winner of the day.
And these Bloody Marys didn't disappoint; we saw some things in these cocktails that we definitely had never come across before, including in the winning cocktail, which was created by Kristin Alfandre of Louisiana. Her Bloody Mary used a beef stick as a straw and had a bacon garnish. When we sat down with Ted Allen, host of Chopped, to ask him a few questions, he mentioned these beef straws, adding, "There were two people who made a meat straw, which many of us made jokes about because we’re 12 years old. Chefs are rowdy people."
Alfandre’s Bloody Mary was definitely one of the most delicious at the event, and the spiciest. Hers was one of the few Bloodys that featured a relatively strong presence of horseradish. Allen had a thing or two to say about this as well, mentioning, "I like a lot of horseradish and no one used horseradish and maybe they were trying to stand out… how do you stand out without offending the tradition?" Allen was most impressed by Sabrina Peck of Florida, whose Bloody was called Sliders Seaside ABSOLUT Redtide. Allen told us, "Honestly, my favorite Bloody Mary that we had today was the most traditional one, which was by a woman named Sabrina Peck. And there was another person that made a Bloody Mary with literally a whole salad on top of it." He was referring to the Bloody Irishman by Tony Frier of New Jersey.
All the Bloody Marys at the event were incredibly creative and delicious, but we’re going to have to side with Allen on this one. While we loved Kristin Alfandre’s Bloody, we were absolutely thrilled by the simplicity and traditional roots of Sabrina Peck’s Bloody Mary cocktail.