By Anthony M.J. Maranise
If I were to employ a tradition technique used by life-coaches known as ‘word association,’ stating the sequence: “tomato,” “vodka,” and/or “zing-zing,” chances are most of us would think: “Bloody Mary!”
Yes, indeed, my friends… That traditional brunch-time favorite which, save the vodka, is a rather healthy alternative to coffee or an energy drink, and which often rivals mimosas in terms of its complementarity with brunch-foods.
During my recent two weeks along 30A, retreating to both write (with that ‘inspirational gusto’ that only comes from these dazzling white sands, inspiring people, and stunningly turquoise waters), relax, and refresh at our home in Blue Mountain Beach, I took the numerous opportunities for exploration (especially of a culinary sort). For whatever reason, I decided to focus on compiling my own list, albeit unofficial, to add to The Best of 30A listings. Here below, I present to you all: “The Best Bloody Marys on 30A.”
You may not enjoy what I think is this fabulously refreshing libation, but on the off chance that you do, I hope you consider this list whenever you visit the 30A region.
#5: The Bloody Mary at Another Broken Egg Café at Grayton Beach
It contains the traditions garnishing of a Bloody without the massive impediments to stirring-ability; a celery stalk acts as a great stir stick. While it lacks some spice, it does contain a smooth flavor with a citrus undertone.
#4: The Bloody Mary at Great Southern Café in Seaside
Chef Jim Shirley of Great Southern continues to be a pioneer in Coastal Cuisine — from the incredible dishes he serves up both at Great Southern and his new restaurant, The Bay, overlooking Choctawhatchee Bay, his bartenders add a flair to their Bloody that is out-of-this-world.
Using a variety of vegetables including infused green-olives, okra, and several kinds of peppers, lemon, and lime, this Bloody “kicks it up” a bit in terms of spice — and, naturally, being a former New Orleanian, I opine that spicier is better.
I recommend Jim Shirley’s Bloody from Great Southern be consumed with any of his Eggs Benedicts, and from The Bay, with his Gulf Grouper (and sweet demi-glace) served over polenta cakes.
#3: The Bloody Mary at Fish Out of Water in WaterColor
Fish Out of Water is magnificent, as most 30A aficionados well know. Part of WaterColor Inn & Resort, this fine dining establishment whips up a mean Bloody Mary complemented with marinated green-bean stalks and pre-soaked olives. Their libation is moderately spicy and can be sipped as a stand-alone or with their Chili-Lime Glazed Red Snapper and Coconut-Asiago Risotto.
#2: The Bloody Mary at Barefoot BBQ in Seaside
The sign on Seaside’s iconic Airstream restaurant which sits directly to the left of the Seaside Post Office reads: “The Best Bloody Mary on 30A.” The truth be told, that sign inspired my investigation into this delicious beverage. I had to know, “Is it really the best?!” In my humble evaluation, it is a close second. Chef / Owner James Murphy shakes up an incredible mixture which includes fresh-ground black pepper, pickled green-beans, Tiki-salt (a delightfully Cajun mixture of paprika, cayenne pepper, and cumin), and just the slightest hint of citrus.
Great for sipping as you stroll through the shops and galleries or while enjoying a concert or movie on the lawn.
And, finally… Topping my personal list is:
#1: The Bloody Mary at Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill in Grayton Beach
Nestled in The Shops of Grayton Beach off Logan Lane, and with a patio view overlooking a pond abundant with lily-pads and turtles is this funky, hip, kid- and adult-friendly restaurant and bar. Though their speciality drink is their namesake, a Hurricane, the Bloody Mary here is also top-notch. But, what’s their secret?
Say it with me: Bacon-infused vodka.
Yes, this Bloody contains the usual tricks of the trade — green-beans, olives, just a touch of citrus, and definitely a spicy kick — but their bacon-infused vodka affords you the opportunity to enjoy the taste of that guilty-pleasure without quite as many calories.
By all means, sample the local fare and libations for yourself!