It’s a spirited drink that’s particularly appropriate given the summer’s tomato harvest: the famed Bloody Mary. With a base of tomato juice and vodka, the cocktail is a blank slate that grants Northern Michigan mixologists free reign to fill the flavor void with anything imaginable, from standard spices to whole fish. Which restaurant serves up the best Northern Michigan Bloody Mary? Find our favorites—and a few twists—below, and get back to us on Sunday afternoon.
Sidestep the exquisite pork dishes and dive in to their Bloody Mary, which gets a savory boost from veal stock and chipotle vodka. It may sound like it strays toward iced tomato soup, but it’s the ideal companion to a Towne Plaza brunch. Find Towne Plaza at 202 E State St in Traverse City.
The Cove’s Chubby Mary has the standard cocktail canvas of tomato juice and vodka, yet slowly seeping its smoky, savory flavors into the concoction is an entire smoked chub (a small, rather rare Great Lakes fish—might want to call ahead to make sure some chubs are in) dunked into the imperial pilsner glass that harnesses this legendary Leland libation. Find the Cove at 111 E River St in Leland.
This cajun-inspired eatery’s Bloody Mary features a blue cheese stuffed jalapeno, pickled carrots, Creole seasoning on the glass’ rim and a whole crawfish basking in the Bloody Mary’s spiced glory. Find Pearl’s at 617 Ames St in Elk Rapids.
Definitely an exception to the rule, Short’s is offering their Bloody Beer, a Bloody Mary-inspired brew made with roma tomatoes, dill, horseradish, peppercorns and celery seed. The beauty of it all: it combines the side car and Bloody Mary in one. Grab a growler from their pub at 121 N Bridge St in Bellaire, where Bloody Beer is on tap through the fall.
Northern Latitudes Distillery in Lake Leelanau
Alright, also and exception! Snag a bottle of Northern Latitudes’ Apollo Horseradish Vodka at their Lake Leelanau headquarters to make a home run or a homemade Bloody Mary. With just the right amount of kick to offset the drink’s indispensable pickled veggies, this Up North creation is a secret weapon in your arsenal of spirits. Find Northern Naturals at 112 E Philip St.