Fun Bloody Mary facts and Epic Brunches Where You’ll Find the Best Bloody Mary in Orlando
A great Bloody Mary can be enjoyed year-round, especially during weekend brunch, but there is more to it than just vodka and tomato juice. Here’s some fun facts about this “Meal in a Glass” which makes it perfectly acceptable to imbibe before noon, plus the best Bloody Mary cocktails and weekend brunches I have found in Orlando. It is reason to make reservations and go have a brunching good time with friends!
Bloody Mary Fun Facts
- January 1st, New Year’s Day is also National Bloody Mary Day. It seems quite appropriate after a night where over-imbibing is the norm, don’t you think?
- The Bloody Mary is the most popular brunch cocktail in the United States. Have you ever been to a weekend brunch and not seen a Bloody Mary?
- It’s believed the Bloody Mary, with its combination of vegetable juice, which settles the stomach, salt to replenish electrolytes and alcohol to relieve headaches, helps alleviate hangovers. Unfortunately it is a tall tale as tall as the glass it comes in. Drinking alcohol will only further dehydrate you. Nonetheless, it’s a tasty beverage. If you want to feel good, consider this a great way to drink your veggies.
- If you’ve wondered where the name Bloody Mary comes from, it’s not a spooky Halloween tale. Some believe the cocktail was named after Queen Mary I of England, who was nicknamed “Bloody Mary” in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Others consider 1920’s Hollywood legend Mary Pickford as the inspiration. A third camp believes it was a mispronunciation of a drink named after Vladimir Smirnov, of the Smirnoff Vodka family, by the drink’s creator Fernand Petiot. (this last one seems most likely, don’t you agree?)
- Fernand Petiot created the modern Bloody Mary in the early 1920s at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, a frequent hangout of American celebrities like Ernest Hemingway. When Petiot moved to Manhattan, he added a bit more flavor to the original vodka and tomato juice recipe to suit the American palate, however it is unlikely he would have imagined today’s crazy concoctions. In July 1964, The New Yorker magazine quoted him as saying: “I initiated the Bloody Mary of today. George Jessel said he created it, but it was really nothing but vodka and tomato juice when I took it over. I cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, two dashes of black pepper, two dashes of cayenne pepper, and a layer of Worcestershire sauce; I then add a dash of lemon juice and some cracked ice, put in two ounces of vodka and two ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour.” (source Wikipedia)
- Using a celery stick as a garnish came about in the 1960s at Chicago’s Ambassador East Hotel. An inventive customer used a stalk of celery from the relish tray to stir his Bloody Mary when the drink arrived without a swizzle stick. Common garnishes today include everything from bacon to cheeseburger sliders! This is why we call it a Meal in a Glass!
A good Bloody Mary is more than a drink. It’s a meal! In today’s age, the drink often includes hot sauce (likely Tabasco), horseradish, celery salt, clam juice or olive brine, brown sugar and bitters. Mixologists often revel in creating unique recipes for their Bloody Mary mix.
The tomato juice base mix should be hearty, a bit (or a lot) spicy, and full of flavor. The vodka must be of good quality, and even better when it’s infused or flavored. And finally, don’t forget the garnishes. A celery stalk, the traditional accoutrement just won’t do all on its own. You want lots of tasty bites, from cheese and hard salami, olives, dill pickle spears, lemon wedges, dried sausage, shrimp and pickled veggies, to candied bacon, grilled cheeses and sliders. This is where we differentiate between the ‘meh’ and the ‘wow’. Of course, if you’re a purist and prefer a classic without the crazy garnishes, we don’t judge. Also a Virgin Mary is just as great if you want to skip the alcohol. Whatever you like is what you should order.
Best Weekend Brunch and Bloody Mary in Orlando
If you want jaws dropping when a Bloody Mary arrives at your table, then check out these fantastic restaurants in Orlando and the fantastic brunches they offer. They know how to make a great Bloody Mary.
1921 BY NORMAN VAN AKEN
Award-winning chef Norman Van Aken has given us one more very delicious reason to make the drive from Orlando to Mt. Dora on weekends and that is brunch. As of August 4th, now offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Their Bloody Mary came served in a pitcher for two with an array of garnishes to “make your own.” House cured bacon, pickled veggies and cheeses combine with a perfectly zesty Bloody Mary mix. Pair with Southern Florida favorites like Andouille Hash with a Sunny-Side Up Egg and Chicken and Waffles or go for a more eclectic Wood Oven Fired Israeli Shakshouka with Lamb Merguez, Farm Eggs, Feta & House Pita. The charming town of Mt. Dora is perfect for a walk after brunch. 142 East 4th Avenue, Mount Dora. Visit website for more information.
ART SMITH’S HOMECOMIN’ FLORIDA KITCHEN
The Florida native lovable celeb chef Art Smith, who became well-known as Oprah’s personal chef, has made Disney Springs Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen a mouth-watering must stop. His new Rise & Shine Southern Brunch on Sundays is a love letter to Florida cooking are everything you expect from the South. Decadent and bold dishes full of flavor that require stretchy pants to fully enjoy. This is not your typical mimosa / Bloody Mary brunch. Take your pick of five epic Bloody Mary’s including the Proud Mary, the Southern Mary with Tomato Vodka topped with a fried green tomato and pimento cheese stuffed olive, the Whiskey Mary with Ole Smokey Mango Habanero whiskey, the Garden Mary with cucumber infused vodka, garnished with crisp peppered cucumber and the Bloody Maria made with tequila and garnished with pimento cheese stuffed olive, and Tasso ham. Pair with Hush Puppy Fried Chicken Benedict with a decadent pimento cheese Hollandaise sauce, Short Rib Hash with sunny side up local farm eggs. Don’t miss the house made doughnuts with Pecan Bacon and caramel glaze. Visit website for more info.
The House Bloody Mary at downtown Orlando’s sensational French-inspired brasserie, DoveCote, is served by the glass or 32oz jug. House made pepper and horseradish infused vodka and house Bloody Mary mix come together beautifully. A strip of bacon and house pickled veggies, like okra and cauliflower, add the perfect final touch. The secret ingredient is the house hot sauce, which gives the fresh-made tomato base a peppery spice slightly sweetened with local orange blossom honey. Pair it with the ample portion of extra crispy fried chicken (also served with the house hot sauce and a creamy Louie Remoulade sauce) and you have yourself a satisfying brunch experience in a casually elegant setting. Available only during Sunday Brunch 10:30am – 2:30pm. Located in the Bank of America Building, 390 North Orange Ave, suite 110, Orlando. Complimentary self parking is available in the attached garage. Visit website for more info and reservations.
DUFFY’S SPORTS GRILL
If you’re looking to enjoy an epic Bloody Mary while watching your favorite sporting event from a multitude of TV screens, look no further than Duffy’s Sports Grill. Their All-American Bloody Mary, made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, tomato juice and savory spices is topped with the most American of all foods – a Bacon Cheeseburger slider! The Bloody Mary Brat mixes Jägermeister into your Bloody Mary, and tops it with a beer-infused bratwurst. This Lake Worth Florida-based chain has multiple locations throughout the state. Bloody Mary is on the menu daily. Visit website for more info.
EARLS KITCHEN + BAR
A Bloody Caesar is the Canadian version of a Bloody Mary. It uses Clamato or a mix of tomato juice and clam broth, instead of the typical Bloody Mary mix. No surprise that Canadian chain Earls Kitchen + Bar offers a delicious Signature Caesar with a blend of spices on the rim. It is the perfect accompaniment to their a la carte brunch dishes, especially the flavor-packed Spicy Sausage and Mushroom Hash topped with creamy avocado, poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Served every Saturday & Sunday until 3pm. Located at The Mall at Millenia, 4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando. Visit website for more information
HIGHBALL & HARVEST
Not only is the Sunday buffet brunch menu at Highball & Harvest absolutely epic, serving everything from shellfish raw bar to carving stations, made to order omelets, pancakes and waffles, cheeses, charcuterie and a dessert display like no other. Bloody Mary fans have their pick of three Bloody Mary creations at this casual American eatery inside the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. The Green Mary is a veggie delight with celery bitters, St. George Green Chile vodka, and a rosemary salt rim. It’s garnished with dill, cucumber, celery, heirloom tomatoes, and thyme for a fragrant garden in your glass. If you’re looking for something exotic and spicy, The Bloody Caliente offers a departure from vodka with smoky Fidencio Mezcal. Mixed with lemon juice and house made Habanero shrub, it has a sweet-spicy flavor that will wake up those taste buds. A cayenne pepper and salt rim, plus jalapeno slice, lemon, lime, heirloom tomato and fresh cilantro garnish the glass. For the meaty Bloody Mary to win them all, The Hail Mary mixes Absolut vodka with Old Bay Seasoning and black sesame salt rim, garnished with dill, bacon jerky, heirloom tomato, pork crackling, and lime. This is truly the most epic of them all! The house made beef jerky alone will have you ordering more than one. Sunday Brunch is served from noon – 2pm. Complimentary valet parking available. Located at 4012 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando. Visit website for more information and reservations.
The bloody mary at Paddlefish Orlando in Disney Springs is topped with candied bacon, crab claw, shrimp, hot pepper and olive. If that’s not enough to inspire you, don’t miss the crab and asparagus benedict with jumbo lump crab, asparagus, grilled Nueske bacon slab, smoked trout roe challah, lobster infused hollandaise sauce. Plus, the beautiful views from aboard this reimagined steamboat turned luxury yacht are some of the best in Disney Springs. For more information visit their website. 407-934-2628
In a picturesque lakeside setting by the Tranquilo Golf Course of Four Seasons Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Resort, sits Plancha Restaurant. The resort casual Cuban-American inspired eatery serves an expansive Sunday Brunch, featuring buffet stations and a la carte dishes, fresh pressed juices and bottomless Bloody Mary and mimosas. You can read all about the menu here. In true Four Seasons fashion, the Bloody Mary bar gives you a variety of Bloody Mary mixers and garnishes including bacon wrapped asparagus, beef or gator jerky, stuffed olives, peppers, a multitude of hot sauces and more. Garnishes change regularly. The Fried Chicken with White Cheddar Waffles and spicy maple syrup is a perfect pairing. Only available during Sunday brunch, 10am-3pm. For reservations, call 407 313 6161. Located at 10100 Dream Tree Blvd, Lake Buena Vista. Visit website for more information.
RUSTEAK RESTAURANT & WINE BAR
How about a crispy grilled cheese with your Bloody Mary? At RusTeak Restaurant and Wine Bar they do just that! The Bloody Chubby is made with local Winter Park Distillery Genius Vodka, house made “mudd” (their mixer), and cherry tomato confit. The mini grilled cheese gives this grown up drink a whimsical touch of childhood. Maple pepper bacon and fried house pickles are alternative toppings full of flavor. Only available during Saturday brunch from 11AM-2:30PM. Locations in College Park and Ocoee. Visit website for more info and reservations.
Lisa Wilk of TasteCookSip.com shared these gorgeous pictures on Instagram:
Southern contemporary neighborhood favorite Soco in Thornton Park serves up a fun brunch on Saturday and Sundays offering Chef Greg Richie’s Southern inspired cuisine. To start, don’t miss the Soco-Style “Chicken and Dumplings.” Carved Chicken Breast and Lobster Dumplings with Local Mushrooms, Edamame, and Soy Butter are truly delightful. The Summer Peach Stuffed Brioche French Toast with Whiskey Maple Syrup is as decadent as it sounds. The Lobster Benedict is another winner! Of course, you must pair your selection with the house Southern Bloody Mary topped with pickled veggies, available by the glass or pitcher. For an even bigger kick, try the Bloody Caesar topped with OBC Dry Porter and sriracha. For more information, visit their website. 407-849-1800, 629 E Central Blvd, Thornton Park, Downtown Orlando.
THE HAMMERED LAMB
The BYO Bloody Mary Bar with over 75 items at The Hammered Lamb is legendary and considered by many locals as the best Bloody Mary bar in Orlando. The popular Lake Ivanhoe neighborhood pub serves up shrimp, bacon, cheeses, pickles, local hot sauces and so much more to top your Bloody Mary creation. Herb, pepper, pickle, citrus and bacon Tito’s Vodka infusions provide the needed spirit. You can simply go for the liquid brunch or pair it with one of many plated brunch dishes like Cajun shrimp and grits, the Brekkie burrito, or Breakfast BLT. Served during Saturday and Sunday brunch, 10am – 4pm. Located Across from Lake Ivanhoe, 1235 North Orange Ave, Orlando. For more information, visit their website.
THE OSPREY TAVERN
Award-winning upscale-casual new American restaurant The Osprey Tavern in Baldwin Park serves up an a la carte brunch menu featuring favorites like the decadent Dutch Baby, Smoked Salmon Benedict, and Scotch Egg Burger. A variety of brunch cocktails are offered but the Tavern Bloody Mary with St. Augustine Vodka is not to be missed. Served Sundays from 10:30am – 2:30pm. Located 4899 New Broad Street, Orlando. 407-960-7700. Visit website for more information.
Lisa Wilk’s of Taste Cook Sip:
Although not your traditional weekend brunch location, if you find yourself in the mood for an epic Bloody Mary while visiting Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park, stop by The Refreshment Port. The Stow Away Bloody Mary is topped with hot crispy chicken nuggets, blue cheese stuffed olives, grape tomato, and a celery stalk. Guaranteed you will be asked “where did you get that?” as you walk around eating and drinking around the world.
THE RAVENOUS PIG
Craft cocktails are just as iconic as the Southern fare dishes at Orlando’s award-winning favorite The Ravenous Pig. Sunday Brunches include Tiki cocktails but the Bloody Mary Board for Two is not to be skipped. The mix is made in-house with secret spices that give it a nice twang but not overly spicy. The garnishes included house pickled veggies, coppa ham and cheddar. The watermelon radish garish was a nice touch. Pair it with the B.L.T.E. of housemade lamb bacon, black garlic aioli, with sunny side egg on sourdough and their killer truffle fries, or one of the best Shrimp and Grits in town topped with green tomato chutney and chorizo oil. Don’t miss the bakeshop board with housemade pastries. The menu changes regularly but it’s always worth the calories. 565 West Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park. For more information visit their website.
Now it’s your turn to share. What restaurant serves up your favorite Bloody Mary? Let me know because I want to continue exploring, tasting and adding to my list!
What’s your favorite garnish? Are you classic celery or crazy toppings? What’s the craziest Bloody Mary ingredient you’ve tasted? Please share in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
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