The Bloody Mary Challenge

Posted by Glenn Gritzner on September 18, 2013

Hello Enthusiasts –

Quick little fun post here.

Loyal readers of this little vanity project will recall when I talked up the best Bloody Mary I had ever had.  It’s the Proud Mary, concocted by awesome OG bartender Eric Tecosky at Jones Hollywood and, though well over two years have gone by since I posted that, it remains the gold standard.  It used to be off menu (industry speak for “it’s secret and you have to be cool enough to know about it”) but now, it’s right on there for all to imbibe, as it should be.

Quick fun fact:  the stories of how the Bloody Mary was invented are legion, and there’s really no definitive answer.  But my favorite (which actually has some credibility) is that Ernest Hemingway was sitting at a bar in Paris, having sworn to his family and friends that he would stop drinking.  So he asked the bartender to devise him a cocktail that contained alcohol but wouldn’t make it seem like he was drinking.  So the bartender took some tomato juice, added vodka and a dash of pepper and some other stuff that would serve the purpose and voila, the Bloody Mary was born.  But I digress.

Anyway, I also pointed out in my prior post that Bloody Marys are that rare drink that actually lends itself to “Best of” contests and competitions.  Probably because it’s a very unique drink and lends itself to lots of experimentation and ingredients (rather than the usual spirit/sweet/sour balance that comprises most cocktails).

Well, perhaps inevitably, Thrillist has now undertaken a search for the best Bloody Mary in California, and sure enough, our very own Proud Mary is in the running.  To be fair, there are other entrants from great bartenders and bars from places like Bestia and Cole’s and Seven Grand (but it’s the Seven Grand in San Diego, so…), and I haven’t tried ’em all, but I’m convinced that if someone DID try them all, the Proud Mary would be tough to beat.

That being said, this competition is open to anyone who wants to vote, with no proof of actually having tried any of them, and that probably hurts Proud Mary’s chances (as well as other probably great entries). Why?  Well, take, for example, the current leader.  It might be a great Bloody Mary, but it’s garnished with a whole hamburger.  Gimmicky, and begging for votes (which, regrettably, seems to be working).  Another of the leaders includes vindaloo paste, and yet another has a cool looking garnish that includes a shrimp.  And many of the other contenders have an ingredient list longer than most grocery store receipts.  But as any good cocktailian knows, it’s not the length of your list, it’s the quality in it that counts.

The Proud Mary has three ingredients.  Vodka, tomato juice, and a secret spice mix.  Will you ever learn the ingredients of the secret spice mix?  Not unless Eric then kills you.  And even if you did, yours wouldn’t be as good as his because he infuses his own vodka with all sorts of stuff.  But that’s all the Proud Mary needs.

So, alas, the Proud Mary may or may not win this competition.  But vote for it anyway.  If you do yourself the favor of getting yourself to Jones and actually trying it, you’ll know you made the right choice.

Happy travels.

Jones Hollywood

7205 Santa Monica Blvd. (between Fairfax & La Brea)

323.850.1726