Bloody Good Marys
Five great Bloody Marys for day or night
There’s an unwritten rule somewhere that says you can’t drink a Bloody Mary after 5 p.m. It is meant to be a morning drink, a brunch refreshment. Once the sun goes down, only a rube or a bimbo would order a Bloody Mary. What a dumb rule. Consider me a rube and a bimbo because I think there’s never a bad time for a Bloody Mary. Here are my five favorites:
“Do you want the Big Bad Bloody Mary or just the regular Bloody Mary?” asks the waitress when I order the drink at Beachcomber at Crystal Cove. “I don’t know,” I say, “What’s the difference?”
“The regular is for amateurs,” she says.
My Big Bad Bloody Mary soon arrives in a large Mason jar with a floral arrangement sprouting from the top: a crab claw, a large grilled shrimp, plus a garden’s worth of vegetables and pickles. The juice is thick and spicy, too, with a discernible whiff of Tito’s vodka. Definitely not for amateurs.
The Beachcomber, 15 Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, 949.376.6900 :: thebeachcombercafe.com
Del Frisco's Grille
Go for weekend brunch. That’s when Del Frisco’s serves Bloody Marys by the carafe. The large pitcher holds enough to fill about six glasses. It comes with a tray of garnishes to ensure that no two glasses are created exactly the same: bacon, pickled okra, limes, beans, pickled peppers and celery, plus Tabasco, salt and pepper.
Del Frisco’s, 772 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, 949.341.0376 :: delfriscosgrille.com/irvine
Everything at Arc is kissed with fire and smoke, a culinary philosophy that apparently extends to the Bloody Mary. The first thing you’ll notice about this drink is the fresh-squeezed tomato juice. It doesn’t have that sweet, tomato-paste essence of commercially processed juice or mix. It’s thinner and more savory than most, with just a hint of smoke. The next thing you’ll notice is the size. It’s extra small, which allows the vodka to shine through.
Arc, SOCO, 3321 Hyland Avenue., Costa Mesa, 949.500.5561 :: arcrestaurant.com
The Ramos House Cafe
It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful outdoor dining room than this, surrounded by trees and birds and butterflies. This quaint outdoor cafe doesn’t serve hard liquor but that doesn’t stop them from making one of the best Bloody Marys in the county. Instead of vodka they use soju. That mild-mannered spirit from Korea is a good, easy-going substitute, but you won’t be focused on that. You’ll be too obsessed with the old-fashioned Scotch quail egg that’s been harpooned with crab claw.
Ramos House, 31752 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, 949.443.1342 :: ramoshouse.com
They call it Jim’s Bloody Mary, which might be a nod to the Slim Jim that protrudes from the rim, along with a bacon-wrapped jalapeño. Take a bite of Slim Jim. Take a sip. Mmm, spicy. Take a bite of the jalapeño. Take another sip. Mmm, Ketel One. Repeat.
Reunion, 5775 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim Hills, 714.283.1062 :: reunionkitchen.net