A quintessential classic (and my favorite drink, day or night), the Bloody Mary can be deliciously crafted in about a hundred different ways. But until the recent make-your-own trend, Bloodies were a pretty polarizing drink – and even now, most people relegate them to brunch status and move onto margaritas, martinis, cosmopolitans and the like for dinner or a night out. But with an array of amazing iterations to enjoy in CLT alone, the peppery, celery-shrouded staple is becoming a 24/7 kind of cocktail.
Whether the presentation is no-nonsense or dressed-up, Charlotte’s Rolodex of Bloodies is expansive and totally mouth-watering. And where to get the best of the best? Check out these options.
4331 Barclay Downs Dr.
Offering more of a timeless twist on the Bloody Mary, with pared-down details at brunchtime, Reid’s keeps it simple. The “Reid’s Bloody Mary,” aptly named for its straight-forward formula, mixes Absolut with Carolina Bloody Mary Mix from local outfit Gilded Beverage. It’s flanked by the typical toppings: two pimento-stuffed green olives and a fresh celery stalk. You can ask your server to make it spicy, but the simple yet tasty blend pleases without the extra seasoning.
1933 South Blvd.
If you’re seeking a more personalized experience, look no further than Tyber Creek Pub’s Bloody Mary Bar. Tyber Creek offers elevated Irish-inspired pub grub in a relaxed atmosphere and capitalizes on the make-your-own trend in the best way. And for just $7 (and maybe a bit of mixology expertise), you can make your very own Bloody Mary for a perfect, if not unique, pairing on Sundays.
1300 Central Ave.
Changing gears from simple to decidedly sumptuous, Moo & Brew has redefined the art of the Bloody Mary with their famous “Large Marge.” Available all day, every day, Large Marge could be the most Instagrammed food item in Charlotte. It’s a 20-oz. juggernaut with two shots of Tito’s Handmade Vodka topped with a jalapeño firecracker, Wisconsin cheese curds, two grilled cheese sandwiches, an Angus burger slider, fried green tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon, and a mini Miller High Life on the side. A Bloody Mary that moonlights as a full meal and a two-in-one, meal plus cocktail, deal that’s unbelievably delectable.
501 E. 36th St.
Oft described as the best brunch in Charlotte, and by extension, proprietor of the best Bloody Mary bar, Boudreaux’s takes Southern cuisine to the next level. And the Bloody Mary bar is no exception, with a hearty Sunday spread of garnishes that mix in a harmonious blend. The Habanero-infused vodka is a modernized backdrop to a bold palate of flavors, all for $5 (and half priced on Sundays).
Price: $5, $2.50 on Sundays
501 E. 36th St.
The Dog Bar, the original Charlotte go-to for dog lovers, keeps their cocktails simple but good (and big!). Because they don’t have traditional cocktail mix, their Bloody Marys are extra special: an original, in-house creation every time. Go for a chance to hang out with your pooch, stay for the Bloody Marys. What’s better than a Bloody Mary with the added perk of man’s best friend?
Price: $5 on Sundays
129 E. 5th St.
Marrying fresh seafood with custom cocktails, Sea Level NC prides itself on offering coastal flavors right in uptown Charlotte. And, well, chilled shrimp cocktail and fried oysters are arguably the most fitting partners to a deliciously spicy Bloody Mary. Sea Level’s take is the appropriately named Bloody Maria, complete with Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila and zesty seasoning – the perfect foil to everything from fish tacos to Maine mussels.
1800 E. 7th St.
Both known for their bold flavor, Bloody Marys and New Orleans-style cuisine are a match made in heaven. Cajun Queen capitalizes on this well-suited pair with Creole influences and coastal vibes. Their Bloody Mary, known as the Muddy Waters, comes with an oyster shooter. Spiked seafood that’s shockingly delightful next to the zest of the Cajun Muddy Waters, which is diminutive in size for a cocktail but packs a huge, flavorful punch.