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Courtesy of Silver Grill Cafe

6 Must-Have Ingredients For Your Next Bloody Mary Bar

We asked Heather Beckman of Fort Collins' Silver Grill Cafe, creator of the World’s Biggest Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar, for tips on how to do it like the pros.

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There’s nothing like a spicy, tangy Bloody Mary to cure what ails ya on a weekend morning. But if you want to step it up a notch (and of course you do), head to the Silver Grill Cafe in Fort Collins this weekend, where you can craft the perfect breakfast beverage at the World’s Biggest Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar.

The Silver Grill Cafe has held this honor, from the World Record Academy, since it started hosting the annual event in 2011. (Although it now has some stiff competition, as Minnesota’s the Happy Gnome is vying to beat the restaurant’s record).  Last year, the restaurant sold more than 250 Bloody Marys at the shindig, and it’s hoping to top that this Saturday and Sunday at its sixth and biggest event yet.

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Diners can build their own Bloody Marys from a selection of more than 50 items, including traditional toppings such as stuffed olives, and plenty of nontraditional add-ins, such as pickled quail eggs and rhubarb. “If you can think of it, we’ve probably pickled it,” managing partner Heather Beckman says.

But the creativity doesn’t stop with the pickling. Silver Grill also infuses its own vodka in a variety of flavors—bacon, citrus, and spicy habanero, and jalapeño. After you’ve chosen the vodka, you can rim your glass with celery salt, and then head to the back patio to choose from a variety of Bloody Mary mixes and local seasonings, such as Horsetooth Hot Sauce and salts from Old Town Spice Shop. The final step is filling your glass with the plentiful toppings. New additions for the bar this year included Beckman’s own pickled papaya as well as pickled Asian plums and walnuts.

Even if you’re not able to make this year’s event, the Silver Grill recreates the bar (on a smaller scale) every Saturday and Sunday.

Courtesy of Silver Grill Cafe

Feeling inspired by the out-of-the-box ideas the Silver Grill brings to the table? These local suggestions from Beckman will take your at-home Bloody Mary bar to the next level:

Start with salt

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Spice up the experience with specialty salts. “Old Town Spice Shop has every salt you can think of,” Beckman says. Try the applewood-smoked sea salt or the jalapeño salt.

Think outside the bottle

Regular vodka does the trick, but try adding unique spirits to the mix. Fort Collins’ CopperMuse Distillery actually uses Silver Grill’s bacon drippings for its savory bacon vodka, Beckman says. She also recommends the horseradish vodka, which adds a kick without overwhelming the palate.

Pile on the protein

Shrimp ups the ante on any Bloody Mary, in Beckman’s opinion. Make a seafood stop at Silva’s Fish Market the next time you’re at the Denver Central Market to put together your own platter.

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Get cheesy

The Silver Grill puts out feta and mozzarella balls, but Beckman says blue cheese would also highlight the tomato juice well. St. Killian’s Cheese Shop offers a variety of local and imported cheeses for your next Bloody Mary event.

Venture with vinegar

A balsamic or citrus vinegar isn’t the first ingredient that comes to mind when making a Bloody Mary, but Beckman recommends adding it to complement the savory tomato (Think: caprese salad). Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company has a large variety of balsamic vinegars—try the cranberry-pear or grapefruit-white balsamic vinegars.

Don’t forget the beer chaser

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“We’re from the Midwest, and with Bloody Marys, there is always a beer chaser,” Beckman says. Luckily, in Colorado, there is no shortage of beer. She recommends a citrus beer version, like Cheluna Brewing Co.‘s (our choice for this year’s Best New Brewery) Belga con Passion, a Beligian-style saison infused with passionfruit, or Tamarindo Gose, which is a subtly tart wheat beer featuring both tamarind and plum.

If you go: The Silver Grill’s World’s Biggest Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar takes place Saturday and Sunday, July 15–16, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 218 Walnut St., Fort Collins; 970-484-4656

(Check out five of the Mile High City’s must-try Bloody Marys

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