Fact: Wisconsin has mastered the "World's Most Complex Cocktail." This should shock no one. Have your happy cows, California, and your Land of 10k lakes, Minnesota, but when it comes to vodka and tomato juice, that crown belongs to Wisco.
From the classic Bloody Mary with a touch of spice to "Would you like a bacon cheeseburger atop your beverage?", the sky is the limit here. Because, you know, we're a "Go Big or Go Home" kinda state. That's just how we do.
Allow me to share just a few of Wisconsin's top spots for a good ol' Bloody Mary. (Psst! Don't see your favorite spot listed? Give 'em a shout-out in the comments below!)
4th Base (West Milwaukee)
Every Bloody Mary you order at 4th Base is made by hand with homemade ingredients - none of that pre-made stuff. The team at 4th Base adds and shakes all ingredients together and then tops these bad boys with fresh vegetables and their house haystack onion rings. (Healthy veggies + deep-fried combo = You win, 4th Base.)
The Old Fashioned (Madison)
The Old-Fashioned located on the capitol square is a Madison staple. The restaurant is Wisconsin-themed, so naturally, their Bloody Mary is, too. In it, you'll find beef jerky, fresh squeaky cheese curds, a pickled egg and a classic pickle! Thank you, The Old-Fashioned for reminding us of how awesome this state is via a delicious Bloody Mary. Cheers!
The Wooden Shoe Bar & Grill (Lena)
Now we're heading to northeastern Wisconsin to Oconto County or more specifically, The Wooden Shoe in Lena. This monster of a Bloody Mary is more Wisconsin goodness with fried cheese curds, bacon, cheese, pickles and the works. The unique touch here though has to be the glassware.
Husby's Food and Spirits (Sister Bay)
This Door County locale in downtown Sister Bay knows a thing or two about mastering the art of the Bloody Mary. They stick to the classic ingredients and throw in an ounce of Guinness for a touch of uniqueness. Me likey.
Sobelmans Pub n Grill (Milwaukee)
Sobelmans is a must for anyone who appreciates a wild spin on this classic beverage. Choose between The MasterPiece (which balances a massive burger on top), The Crown Mary (featuring an upside-down Corona), The Baconado (obviously, there's a bacon tower involved) or The Beast (lots of protein). Just bring an open mind and a huge appetite and don't forget your chaser of Sprecher!
Green Dragon BrewPub (Fond du Lac)
The Green Dragon in Fond du Lac takes its Bloody Marys very seriously. For starters, their Bloody Mary Mix is made from scratch. Then they take the time to keenly craft some of the most insane Bloodies I've ever seen. This is art in a glass, people! Stop by on Sundays for a Gourmet Bloody Mary - their team concocts a brand new themed cocktail each and every week.
Wicked Hop (Milwaukee)
Another fan favorite in the Milwaukee area, Wicked Hop boasts all the great fixings in its Bloody Marys, from mozzarella whips to a beef stick. For the hard core Bloody Mary zealot, elect for the option to "double up" on everything.
It's been said that Pam's Famous Bloody Mary is the best in the Northwoods - some would even call it the best in America. Check out this ingredient list: pickled egg, brussel sprout, tomato, green beans, smoked sausage stick, mozzarella cheese stick, pickled cauliflower, pretzels, garlic bread, pickled carrot slices, dill pickle Spear, celery and more!
Rusty's Backwater Saloon (Stevens Point)
Round up your best pals and head to this backwoods hideaway in Stevens Point. The Bloody Marys here are downright magical. Starting with a solid vodka mix, things only get better with the pickle, pepperoncini, crushed garlic, banana pepper rings and a delicious beef stick. Now that's a hangover helper if I ever did hear of one!
Del's Bar (La Crosse)
When I asked folks on Facebook for their favorite spots in Wisconsin for a Bloody Mary, I can’t say I was surprised to see Del’s Bar in La Crosse was a popular choice. The team there uses a special blend of seasonings (count ‘em: seven secret spices) that they mix in-house. While they can’t divulge the full recipe, they have graciously shared with me a few of their top ingredients, which include Sacramento tomato juice, pickles with queen stuffed olives, pepper jack cheese and pickled brussel sprouts.
As for that massive festival held every fall in La Crosse, Del’s Bar whips up well over 2,000 Bloody Marys during Oktoberfest. Hooooly moley (—err Mary?)
Still craving more on Bloody Marys in Wisconsin? May I recommend checking out The Bloody Trail: In Quest of the Best Wisconsin Bloody Marys by Susan Fiebig. Or visit BestBloodyMary.com.
Mariah Haberman is the host of the nation’s longest-running tourism TV show, Discover Wisconsin. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. Some of her favorite memories include Lake Michigan fishing trips with her Dad, showing sheep at the Rock County Fair and buzzing around the farm on an ATV with her little brother. Watch Discover Wisconsin Saturdays at 10 a.m. on FSN Wisconsin’s outdoor block.