Some like it hot, some like it spicy, and p3wong likes her Bloody Mary to be both, and with a pinch of celery salt to boot. Friday night, we chilled out in the upstairs lounge at Nearby the Tree, tried a Bloody Mary – yes, we’re aware this spot is known for Belgian beer – and discussed how her favorite drink fares in this city.
“They never use celery salt [in Bloody Marys] in Beijing,” she says. “A lot of places are also stingy on Worcestershire sauce.”
So, what spots does she recommend?
“Redmoon Bar (Hyatt). They use enough Worschestire sauce and put in cherry tomatoes.”
“Lan – the Sichuan Mary is spicy.”
“[The former] Icehouse [where she once worked as GM]; I could tell the staff exactly how I wanted it made.”‘
“The Bookworm – it has an interesting one. I think they make their own juice because it comes out pinkish.”
“I haven’t tried The Vineyard Cafe yet, but I heard they have a ‘do it yourself’ Bloody Mary and I like that idea.”
How about Face? “Okay, but it seems a little bitter, so I’m wondering if they use pepper vodka.”
Block 8? “They must have the worst one. They shake it with the ice and it gets too watery.”
Aria? “The first one I had there, I could only taste tomato juice. The second one had a lot of vodka but not much flavor.”
Centro? “They’re bad. I was disappointed because I heard Bruce Li [now at Aria] was the best bartender. I don’t know if he made mine, but they weren’t good.”
As for the Bloody Mary at Nearby the Tree, here’s p3wong’s take: “It could be better with celery salt, Worcestershire sauce and more tomato juice.” At any rate, it’s a cozy place to chat and there’s plenty of beer and wine as an alternative.
Here are a few my current and past favorite places for a Bloody Mary:
Café St. Laurent: Its ‘Asian Mary’ includes wasabi and soya, a rim salted with nori, and pickled asparagus, a cherry tomato and a prawn as garnish. It comes in a 12-ounce glass, without ice, so it doesn’t get watery. CSL will soon have Bloody Caesars, made with Clamato rather than tomato juice.
Press Club Bar: The menu includes a half-dozen Bloody Mary variations, including one with Qingdao beer; tasty but pricey. (Note: I hear the St. Regis Hotel, which houses The Press Club Bar, is undergoing some renovations, so I’ll visit soon and check this out.)
Before closing, The Big Easy made a nice Bloody Mary.