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Among the things that have gone too far — Superhero movies, flavored potato chips, word mashups (we’re looking at you, Mayochup) — you can add Bloody Marys to the list. This once-simple drink adorned with a single celery stalk has become the backdrop for everything but the kitchen sink. Outrageous garnishes from sliders to snow crab (yes, snow crab), are perched atop a pint of spicy tomato vodka these days.
The origins of this classic cocktail are oft debated, trailing back to the ’20s at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, a frequent haunt of Ernest Hemingway, where, at that time, it was dubbed “Bucket of Blood” by visiting Entertainer Roy Barton before taking on the more palatable “Red Snapper,” which it’s still called to this day at the famous King Cole Bar in New York City.
There are various stories about how the Mary moniker came to be, but whatever you call it, one constant among these interpretations is that it was crowned only by a lemon wedge, celery stalk, or at most, a cornichon. We’re not sure how it evolved into a vehicle for pizza or a whole fried chicken (yes, a whole fried chicken), but cue Stefon’s voice because we’ve rounded up the five craziest concoctions around the country and “these Bloody Marys have everything.”
The Sumo Mary
This 32-ounce monstrosity is definitely tipping the heavyweight scales, topped with a grilled cheese sandwich, braised pork belly, Chinese broccoli, shishito peppers, pickled daikon, roasted potatoes, a crab roll, a Filipino spring roll known as “lumpia,” and a spicy duck bao. We’re pretty sure there’s a drink under there, too, if you can make it past the Southeast Asian buffet. And if that doesn’t knock you out, the $40 price tag will. Drink it at Sunda in Chicago, Illinois.
The Hail Mary
You’ll definitely want to say a prayer you don’t have a cardiac event before brunch ends with this heart attack in a glass, piled high with a full size cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, cheddar smoked cocktail sausages, hard-boiled eggs, cubes of cheddar and pepper Jack cheese, pickled okra, dill pickles, sweet gherkins, cherry tomatoes, celery, and even mini powdered donuts and a cinnamon bun. You can feel your arteries clogging just by looking at it, but what a way to go. Amen. Drink it at Star Bar in Austin, Texas.
The Bloody Beast
There’s definitely truth in advertising on this Bloody Mary because it is a beast of epic proportions. As if the whole 4-pound fried chicken weren’t showstopping enough, this behemoth 40-ounce beverage keeps pushing the limits of what’s humanly possible with skewers of pickles, olives, shrimp, Polish sausages, pickled onion, Brussels sprouts, and bacon-wrapped jalapeño cheese balls. It gives a whole new meaning to the expression “feed the beast” — except in this scenario, you’re the beast. Roar! Drink it at Sobelman’s Pub and Grill in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Bloody Homer
This swine-licious cocktail served in an official Simpsons’ Duff drinking glass and topped with candied bacon strips and a bacon-bedazzled doughnut is worthy of its namesake cartoon character in a world where hypertension and high cholesterol don’t exist. But life can be rough, so channel your inner Homer and sidle up to the bar for one of these bad boys. Sugar and saturated fats be damned because mmm… doughnuts. Drink it at Icehouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Lobster Bloody Mary
It doesn’t get more outlandish than Vegas, but sin city found a way to step up their Bloody Mary game with the Lobster Bloody Mary at Lavo’s weekend party brunch. Served in a three-foot-tall ice sculpture the size of a small child, this edible extravaganza attracts more attention than a plate of sizzling fajitas as it travels through the restaurant, carting an entire lobster, six jumbo shrimp, pork belly skewers, and a full bottle of Tito’s Vodka. This roving raw bar masquerading as a cocktail is available in two sizes for a whopping $250 or $500, so hit the Craps table first or you may have to take out a second mortgage. Either way, The House always wins. Drink it at Lavo at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, Nevada.