For those who like savory and spicy, bloody marys are the perfect cocktail to order at brunch. Originating from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, the once basic tomato-juice concoction has been transformed to a, in many places, a full-on meal of a brunch-time cocktail. And as no one loves brunch better than Southerners, bloody marys have become a staple on menus across our great region.
Here's where you can find the best of the best bloody marys at restaurants from around the South.
The base of any good bloody mary is tomato juice and vodka or gin, but the rest of the cocktail can be customized by the bartender with spices, infused liquors and the odd topping like a hard-boiled egg.
In the South, bartenders have created some of the craziest bloody marys in the country — some are so complex they are considered more of meal than just a cocktail. If you can dream it, you can probably find it on one of these drinks. They might even help your hangover from the night before. The Queen Bloody Mary
Tupelo Honey Café, Greenville, South Carolina
Using locally-sourced ingredients and local distillers, Tupelo Honey Café has crafted a menu full of cocktails inspired by the South. At brunch, it offers three different bloody mary options, and "The Queen" is the most impressive. Using Dixie Black Pepper vodka or Jalapeno-poblano-infused moonshine as the base, the cocktail is combined with Golden Tomato Bloody Mary mix, Demitri's Bloody Mary seasoning and is garnished with “fresh lemon, fresh lime, pickled okra, pimento cheese-stuffed olives, grilled shrimp, apple cider-bacon, celery, green bean, pickled jalapeño & cherry tomato with a lime-salt rim.” Now that’s a drink fit for a queen. Husk Bloody Mary
Chef Sean Brock brought his love of Southern meats to his cocktail menu at Husk. Named as one of the best bloody marys in the U.S. by Food & Wine, the Husk Bloody Mary is a “refreshing, vegetable-heavy drink of tomato, celery and onion juice, carrot juice, parsley and watercress juice, lemon and horseradish, and a good pour of vodka.” The best part of this drink? It's garnished with country ham. The Big Red Hammer
La Petite Grocery, New Orleans
Seafood lovers will love this savory, briny twist on the bloody mary at La Petite Grocery. The Big Red Hammer is a vodka-based and topped with poached shrimp, blue crab and house pickled vegetables. It’s served in a Mason jar with a fork so you’ll be able to devour all of the garnishes. Dirty South Bloody Mary
The Rebel House, Boca Raton, Florida
The Dirty South Bloody Mary from the Rebel House is stacked with Southern favorites. Along with house-cured meats, this cocktail is also topped with peppers and pimento cheese. If truly you want to go over the top, we won’t judge you if you order an additional charcuterie and cheese board for nibbling alongside your drink. Proud Mary
Rustic Table Café, Pawleys Island, South Carolina
We’re not sure if we can even call this one a cocktail. With skewers of shrimp, sausage, pickled okra, grilled pineapple and a deviled egg, this towering bloody mary is definitely more of meal. If the Proud Mary seems a little daunting, however, Rustic Table offers another option: The Rustic bloody mary, a true classic topped with a simple garnish of pickled okra. Bistro Bloody Mary
Maison De Lu, Ocean Springs, Mississippi
It’s all about the toppings at Maison De Lu in Ocean Springs. Garnishing its classic bloody mary is a mix of pickled asparagus and okra with blue cheese stuffed olives, green olives and our favorite breakfast meat — bacon. Born On The Bay-O Bloody Mary
Miss Shirley’s Café, Baltimore
In Maryland, bloody marys are never complete without a shake (or three) of Old Bay. During brunch at Miss Shirley’s, diners can enjoy their Old Bay-rimmed cocktail garnished with blackened shrimp, tasso ham, andouille sausage, cheddar, pickled okra, tomato and celery. If that’s not enough for you, you can also add jalapeno-smoked bacon if you so desire. Bloody Best
The Nook, Atlanta
No need to order any food when you're drinking the massive 32-ounce bloody mary at The Nook. This vodka-based cocktail is mixed with house bloody mary mix and topped with pepperoncinis, jalapeños, lemon, lime, a hard-boiled egg, a slice of toast, tater tots and steak. That’s right. This bloody mary comes with its own steak and eggs.
Prefer to make your brunch cocktails at home?
Try this recipe from "Southern From Scratch"
Or pick up one of our favorite made-in-the-south mixes
Photo (Tupelo Honey): Facebook
Photo (Husk): John H. Leas/Facebook
Photo (La Petite Grocery): Shadi Sweis/Facebook
Photo (The Rebel House): Facebook
Photo (Rustic Table): Facebook
Photo (Maison De Lu): Facebook
Photo (Miss Shirley's): Facebook
Photo (The Nook): Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown Facebook