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Is there a more noble a.m. cocktail than the Bloody Mary? With slabs of crispy bacon standing at attention and decadent crowns of pickled nibbles, the popular tomato-and-vodka cocktail is the savory drink of choice for brunchers. Bartenders around town tinker with ratios of horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and secret spice blends to achieve a superb zing. From bottomless options to those made with bacon-infused vodkas, here are the 10 best Denver spots for Bloody Mary enthusiasts to know and love.
Christian Batizy, operating partner at the Lobby, first concocted his Bloody Mary mix as an oyster shooter recipe years ago when he was working at a seafood restaurant. Today, it’s the base of the Ballpark restaurant’s Bloody Marys, including rotating seasonal spins and a signature bacon-jalapeño rendition made with Breckenridge Distillery vodka. If you need any more convincing, the Lobby has taken home a half dozen awards from the Bloody Mary Festival; to boot, you can sip bottomless Bloodys for $20 (with a two-hour time limit). 2191 Arapahoe St.
The bartenders at Sassafras, a Southern-style restaurant in the Highlands, are big-time Bloody Mary fans, presenting nine variations on the menu. That includes the Tale of the Pig, which has a touch of homemade barbecue sauce mixed in, and the 24-ounce Proud Mary. Beverage manager Kelly Morrill says the Queen Mary, a light and bright green tomato riff, helps win over Bloody newbies. Meanwhile, the ghost-peppery Marie Laveau is “wicked spicy,” she says. The most popular, though, is the house version; garlic-dill-infused vodka and a painstakingly long list of seasonings go into the mix, including roasted red peppers, Cajun spice, Worcestershire, and housemade hot sauce. 3927 W. 32nd Ave.
The Bindery’s bar team infuses Denver’s Family Jones vodka with applewood-smoked bacon fat for a week as part of a technique known as fat-washing. The process yields a silky, buttery vodka that’s perfect for adding depth to a Bloody Mary, says chef-owner Linda Hampsten Fox. The Bindery’s Bacon Bloody lands on the table with a slab of bacon, and a beautiful bouquet of garnishes, including a plump, blistered shishito pepper. 1817 Central St.
You probably saw this coming, but Bacon Social House serves its signature Country Roads Bloody Mary with bacon-infused vodka. It’s generously garnished with bacon, Gouda, and salami. Vodka not your favorite? The brunch spot with Denver locations in Sunnyside and on South Broadway calls in a habanero tequila for its Ring of Fire Bloody Mary and gives gin treatment to another variation that’s topped with shrimp and cornichons. 2434 W. 44th Ave.; 2160 S. Broadway; 2100 W. Littleton Blvd., Littleton
Local pickle company the Real Dill makes a custom Bloody Mary mix for Denver-based breakfast chain Snooze. The signature concoction includes cucumber water, onion, garlic, and vegan Worcestershire sauce and is delivered to the eateries in recyclable bulk packaging, which saves 2,000 Tetra Paks from landfills per Snooze restaurant each year. Try the kimchi Bloody Mary with tamari soy sauce, gochujang, and Worcestershire. Multiple locations
The Bloody Pickle at Steuben’s stays true to the classic but has some nice upgrades. Bartenders infuse the vodka with pickles for a week before it hits the mix and the glass is rimmed with a combo of celery salt and Old Bay seasoning. Steuben’s keeps the garnishes simple with a wedge of lime, olives, and a pickle, but you can add on a strip of bacon. 523 E. 17th Ave.
Curious how a barbecue joint makes a Bloody Mary? Head to Smōk inside the Source Hotel to find out. The spicy cocktail at Texas-born chef Bill Espiricueta’s RiNo restaurant is infused with Family Jones vodka and finished with a kebab of burnt ends and tomatoes. 3330 Brighton Blvd. Suite 202
Lucile’s serves up Big Easy breakfasts at its seven locations across the Front Range, including a couple of outposts in the Mile High City. Hit sweet and savory notes with powdered-sugar-dusted beignets and the restaurant’s “famous Bloody Mary,” which is made with a secret family recipe and is topped with a skewer of pickled okra, shrimp, and an olive. Multiple locations
Breakfast beer meets the Bloody Mary at Denver Biscuit Company, where the drink comes with a splash of oatmeal stout and a Tajín-encrusted rim. If tequila is more your speed, the biscuit spot also slings a Bloody Maria that’s made with Tanteo chipotle tequila. Multiple locations
Brunch-goers can feast on delicious dishes like baba ghanoush, shakshuka, roasted lamb shoulder, and smoked salmon at Safta’s Israeli brunch buffet on Saturdays and Sundays ($50 per person). Wash it all down with a Bloody Mary built with Real Dill mix and seasonal market veggies, which, depending on the time of year, could include cauliflower or green beans alongside crisp cornichons and briny Castelvetrano olives from Sicily. 3330 Brighton Blvd., Suite 201