The Bloody Mary Festival

This seemed like an excellent idea when I bought tickets for it  for King Daddy’s Christmas present and, indeed, it was. Who doesn’t like a wee Bloody Mary on Sunday morning? Or 15.

So King Daddy and I decided before we walked into the venue that this was going to be a tasting event and not a drinking event. And I walked out only slightly typsy after trying each and every one of them. I am famous, at least among a few Oyster Easter loyalists, for serving Bloody Mary’s with bacon swizzle sticks. I make mine with Bloody mix, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and plenty of horseradish. So I have some skin in this game.

Okay, let’s get to my assessment of this inaugural event with various Bloodys presented by local restaurants and food purveyors.

This got off to a good start with Bloodys garnished with skewers of pickled cucumber, shrimp and cherry tomatoes. The garnish was far better than the drink, which was kind of just meh.

Here’s an idea I’m definitely stealing — a Bloody cup rimmed with Old Bay Seasoning. Really zipped up the taste.

This won as best garnish station. Pick your own from shrimp, cheese cubes, olives, peppers and celery. I may steal this for Oyster Easter as well.

This was an Indian-inspired Bloody with a papadum garnish and a garam masala rim. Garam masala, an Indian spice blend, makes a very good curry but not a great tasting Bloody. Nice try but way too strongly flavored.

The only green Bloody Mary in the tasting. There’s a reason for this. It was awful. It tasted like a combination of tomatillos and wheat grass. It was actively disgusting.

And our winner was the Bloody from Seaside Grown Bloody Mary Mix. It had a perfectly spiced mix, a rim of BBQ rub and a garnish of a pickled bean, shrimp, pickled okra and an edible flower. Seaside Grown is an outfit out of coastal South Carolina. The mix is only available here online but it may be available at Whole Foods soon. I will buy it.

Okay, so here’s where I’m going to get a little bitchy. I thought all the Bloody Mary purveyors could have been a lot more creative with garnishes. There were lots of olives, shrimp and pickled okra. Nice, but not very creative. I wanted to see pieces of smoked short rib, chicken wings, a caprese skewer with fresh mozzarella or onion rings. Heck, my bacon swizzle stick would have been a huge hit at this event.

I hope The Bloody Mary Festival returns. This year’s festival benefited the Fannie Battle Day Home, a very worthy charity. I’m going to pitch the Community Resource Center for next year’s festival and enter a Bloody Mary myself. I can take this thing.

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