The history of where Bloody Marys come from and how they got the name isn’t known for sure — there’s just too much conjecture, and there are too many stories that can’t be corroborated. But one thing is for sure: It’s a popular hangover drink that people enjoy the world over. And when you’ve spent your Saturday night at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, what more could you ask for on Sunday than the Best Bloody Mary Brunch hosted by the cast of Chopped.
This year gin and vodka producers came together on Pier 60 in New York City to compete and see who could produce the best Bloody Mary. The judges and host from Chopped were on hand to lend their expertise to the competition, tasting all of the creations before picking winners in the three categories of best overall, most creative and best dressed. But first they revealed what they look for — and what they’re tired of seeing — in a Bloody Mary.
Alex Guarnaschelli said, “No flying double cheeseburgers as garnish.” And Maneet Chauhan said, “No deep-fried chicken on it.” But what caught the audience off-guard, and elicited some raucous booing, was Scott Conant’s answer: “Please, no bacon.” Ted Allen reminded Scott, “You know half the Bloody Marys here have bacon in them already,” which was in fact very much true. When asked what he was hoping to get in a Bloody Mary, Aarón Sánchez answered, “I want some spice — some chile — and a good amount of lime.” When Marc Murphy suggested Aarón answer on behalf of Geoffrey Zakarian, Aarón said, “Geoffrey would want some [Bloody Marys] with some very high-end booze and a very pretentious garnish,” which got the crowd laughing.
After tasting all 12 of the Bloody Marys, the judges announced the winners: The best overall went to Death’s Door Spirits for its Intensely Bloody Mary, which mas made with ginger liqueur, a splash of lemon juice and Bloody Mary mix. The most-creative Bloody Mary also went to Death’s Door Spirits for the Eason’s Nawlins Style Bloody Mary (pictured above), which was made with horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle hot sauce and tomato juice. And the best-dressed Bloody Mary went to Absolut Vodka’s Hello Sunshine, which was a yellow tomato Bloody Mary topped with a mushroom cap umbrella.
Below are some of our favorite brunch bites from Sunday afternoon:
Jason Hicks from The Peacock presented deviled eggs made with smoked mackerel, horseradish, pickled pearl onion and dill.
One of our sweet favorites was the fallen pancake souffle with huckleberry syrup and bacon from Larissa Raphael of Telepan.
And if you ever thought bacon comes from only pigs, think again. This DLT was the ideal companion to a Bloody Mary, featuring duck bacon, arugula, heirloom tomato and smoked paprika caper remoulade from Charlie Marshall of The Marshall.
But the best bite of the brunch was unctuous and satiating for those still recovering from the night before: a slice of suckling pig served over fresh corn “grits,” salsa verde, piquillo pepper confit and pork jus.
Keep coming back to FN Dish all weekend long for more insider coverage of the New York City Wine & Food Festival.
- The Perfect Culinary Collaboration Between Farmer and Chef at Geoffrey Zakarian’s Greenmarket Brunch
- Saturday Afternoon During the New York City Wine & Food Festival Calls for Brunch @ Bobby’s
- Live Music and Strong Cocktails at Rachael Ray’s Feedback
- Burger Bash 2015 Winners: BBD’s and Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer
- Giada De Laurentiis Kicks Off the New York City Wine & Food Festival with Rooftop Italian Feast