The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 5 Bloody Marys

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Photo by Sanctu
For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.

Well, good morning, sunshine. You look like you could use a little hair of the dog. And a Bloody Mary is just the trick.

Unfortunately, it's often hard to find a suitable Bloody Mary in Houston. Too many restaurants skimp on the ingredients, subbing in watery tomato juice or flaccid celery sticks. Just as many skimp on the spice. And an increasing number of restaurants keep trying to jazz up what should be a straightforward, hearty cocktail meant for rejuvenation. I understand; the Bloody Mary has been called the world's most complex cocktail for a reason, and that reason is the fact that there are so many possible permutations of the beverage.

I don't want a sake-based Bloody Mary. I don't want a Bloody Mary filled with bacon. I just want a regular damn tomato-and-vodka cocktail with some salty, crunchy garnishes to take my mind off the gnawing pain in my head and a healthy kick to wake me up.

5. Shiloh Club

Like the No. 3 entry on the list, this neighborhood-y dive bar makes its own terrific in-house Bloody Mary mix. In addition, the Shiloh Club also makes its own pickled green beans with habanero peppers as a garnish. The combination of garnish and mix and a glug of well vodka makes for a wholly delicious yet unpretentious drink that kicks like a mule and doesn't hit you where it hurts -- in the wallet.

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Photo by Jane Catherine Collins
Mugsy's makes 'em right.
4. Cadillac Bar

It's hard to beat the Bloody Marys at the Cadillac Bar on Shepherd -- because you make them yourself as part of the Cadillac's elaborate Sunday brunch buffet. The bartender pours some vodka over the rocks and hands you the glass. Then comes the most ornate do-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar you've ever seen: several varieties of tomato juice cocktail, celery stalks, pickled okra, baby corn, olives, cocktail onions, pickled peppers, fresh peppers, bottled pepper sauces, Worcestershire, celery salt, lemon and limes too. In fact, the only important ingredient missing from the line-up is horseradish. Horseradish isn't Tex-Mex, the bartender says. If you think horseradish is critical to a perfect Bloody Mary, you better bring your own.

3. Mugsy's

Mugsy's serves its Bloody Mary as a perfect blend of spicy and hot. The homemade mix doesn't go overboard on the tomato juice, and the hint of Worcester sauce gives it a meaty taste that many mixes regretfully forego.


Location Info

Map

Shiloh Club

1321 Studewood, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Cadillac Bar

1802 Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mugsy's - CLOSED

2239 Richmond, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

4611 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Flora & Muse - CLOSED

12860 Queensbury Lane, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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11 comments
Ginny Braud
Ginny Braud

Gotta say Darkhorse has a damn good bloody. They're short, which I like because sometimes you don't need a pint of bloody mary mix...aaaaannnddd they're $3.50 on Sundays! 

amy
amy

Pappa's Seafood has a good one. It's fairly simple, and the spice doesn't overwhelm and it's not watered down with ice when you get it. Vargos used to have a good one as well.

Nathan Miller
Nathan Miller

The Mia Bella Bloody Mary isn't the best, but it competes on price: $10 for one, 25¢ refills after that.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Haven't tried these, but, I can tell you that the bar at Bistro Alex serves an awesome Bloody Mary using Tito's Infused vodka - they call it levanta muertos.  And the beef jerky infused Bloody Mary at El Gran Malo is mighty fine! 

Carlos Closinhtown
Carlos Closinhtown

It's been a few years since I tried them, but the bloody mary's at Biraporetti's downtown are the best I've ever tried.

Marymacktx
Marymacktx

Thank you so much!! I have been searching out a good bloody Mary in Houston all year- with no luck! It's been one disappointing brunch after another :(. I had almost given up hope when I realized the only actual cocktail edible enough to finish had been at Kim Son. I plan on sampling all 5 over the coming weeks- and thank you again!!

Pm
Pm

HAHAHA - Muggsy's in a mini-mall... that is so 2009.  Get with the times.  

Wuwu
Wuwu

Bloody at Benjy's on Washington Avenue habanero infussed, enough said....

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I like that suggestion, especially as it's within walking distance. Will try it soon!

Pm
Pm

The tone wasn't supposed to sound mean spirited.  To address the topic at hand, 1) Anvil (really miss their brunch service) and 2) Down House with a great salt/spice mix of sorts on the rim.

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