Photography By Holly Leitner
In Wisconsin, a Bloody Mary is more of a meal than a cocktail. If you think a Bloody Mary is just tomato juice, vodka and a pickle, these Bloody Mary professionals have a surprise for you … a surprise so big you might even have to take home leftovers!
Sobelman’s Pub & Grille, Milwaukee
Sobelman’s is not just the most famous bloody Mary purveyor in the state of Wisconsin, its Bloody Frankensteins are nationally known! Its “Masterpiece” put them on the national Bloody Mary map a few years back with coverage on Good Morning America, the Daily Meal and the Huffington Post. This monstrosity includes shrimp, Polish sausage, cheese, pickled asparagus, a scallion stalk, pickle, pickled mushroom, an onion, brussels sprout, celery stalk, cherry tomato, lemon wedge and a cheeseburger (a really good cheeseburger!). It’s also served with a beer chaser, as are all proper bloodies. On a mission to best themselves, Sobelman’s also serves the Baconado, the Crown Mary (with a Corona tipped over inside the glass) and the Beast, which is basically a bacon, sausage and burger buffet all inside a gallon-sized glass. And if all of that still isn’t enough, Sobelman’s most recent headline-making concoction is the Chicken-fried Bloody Beast, which includes everything inside the beast plus a whole fried chicken. A whole fried chicken.
Rusty’s Backwater Saloon, Stevens Point
While the above contenders for the title of “Wisconsin’s Best Bloody” adopt the belief that bigger is better, Rusty’s Backwater Saloon prefers to keep things simple. However, its Bloody Mary is anything but basic and is widely hailed as the best in the state. Rusty’s version includes banana pepper juice (instead of pickle juice), more peppers, a pickle and a beer chaser on the side. For extra kick, ask for fresh-squeezed garlic, or for an extra buck you can get a foot-long beef stick.
The Green Dragon Brewpub, Fond du Lac
It makes sense that this one would have Bloody Marys on the brain since owner Dave Koepke was previously the owner of O’Davey’s Irish Pub, also in Fond du Lac, which once made national headlines for the most insane Bloody Mary creations in American history. The Green Dragon opened last summer and offers a different specialty Bloody Mary creation each Sunday. Incarnations have included: a chimichanga and plantains, a Moroccan kabob, a smoked turkey leg and deep fried jalapeno mozzarella stick, a fried pork tender and tostones and one with honey-battered mako shark and portabella fries — making their cheeseburger slider bloody seem passé by comparison. (It’s still delicious.) This place is still under the radar so get on that bloody bandwagon before national media gets wind of it and you can’t get a seat!
Revere’s Wells Street Tavern, Delafield
With curlicues of string cheese crowning the top of one of their specialty Bloody Marys like an abstract art project, a slice of sausage unassumingly draped on the side of the glass alongside slices of lemon and lime, and a beer chaser to boot, Revere’s Bloody Mary deserves its spot in Wisconsin’s Bloody Hall of Fame.
Choo Choo Bar & Grill, Superior
If you’re a fan of those super-sized bloodies that Wisconsin does best, then be sure to hit up the Choo Choo Bar in Superior, where the Bloody Marys are served in carafes and garnished with a jumbo shrimp, a giant beef stick, celery with cheese, olives, mushrooms, pearl onions and a pickle spear.
4th Base Seafood Restaurant, Milwaukee
This place takes the art of the Bloody Mary very seriously and will customize its spicy house-made mix any way you want. And if what you want is a full salad of fresh vegetables, a pile of haystack onions and a jumbo shrimp that’s almost too big to fit in the pint glass, then by Mary you shall have it!
The Loaded Slate, Milwaukee
Like the full moon and paying rent, the Loaded Slate’s ultimate Bloody Mary only happens once a month. It is a giant bloody adorned with a full-sized cheeseburger, a soft pretzel, a giant mozzarella stick, a fried pickle, cheese curds, tater tots and string cheese. You won’t need to order a meal, and will probably still want to split this. But if you should happen to visit on a day that they aren’t serving the ultimate, the Loaded Bloody Mary is no slouch – loaded up with a cheeseburger slider, doughnut-sized onion rings, bacon, a fried pickle, string cheese and veggies, and served in a normal, human-sized glass. theloadedslate.com
This article originally appeared in the 2015 spring/summer issue of Experience Wisconsin magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.
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