There is probably no day better suited to being National Bloody Mary Day than Jan. 1 — when we all need some hair of the dog following our champagne-soaked New Year’s Eve celebrations — so props to whoever came up with that arbitrary designation.
Not all restaurants in Austin are going to be open on New Year’s Day, a Monday this year, giving us a more limited stock of places to get our Bloody Mary fix than normal. But rest assured these are all the spots to get a proper Bloody Mary on future weekends in 2018.
District Kitchen + Cocktails, 5900 W. Slaughter Ln.
At weekend brunch at this South Austin restaurant, you have your choice between the District Bloody (made with Dripping Springs 1876 Vodka, the locally produced Bloody Revolution mix, celery bitters, lime and a tajin rim) or the Bloody Mary bar where you can create your own concoction featuring different infusions of Tito’s Vodka. The Bloody Mary bar will be open on New Year’s Day.
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El Chile Cafe, 1809 Manor Rd.
The Brazos Bloody Mary, served in a pint glass with all the usual suspects and a splash of Pacifico beer, was basically my weekend fuel in college. It was just the right amount of spicy to wake me up in time for the mountain of chilaquiles verdes I was about to dig into with gusto.
Fixe, 500 W. Fifth St.
The Southern-focused restaurant downtown has riffs on the two most popular daytime cocktails (mimosas being the other one) during its delectable Sunday brunch. Of the five Bloody Marys, the BBQ Barbecue Bloody (with Ketel One, Fixe’s barbecue sauce, lime and tender belly bacon) and the Spicy Mary (with Tito’s Vodka, lime, soy sauce, siracha and fresh ginger) are the stand-outs.
Frank, 407 Colorado St.
Named for Austin’s favorite musician Willie Nelson, Frank’s Red Headed Stranger is nearly as memorable as its namesake — featuring just the right amount of booze, house Bloody Mary mix and garnishes. The fancy hot dog spot infuses Tito’s with bacon, rims the mason jar with a signature salt mix, and adds bacon, cheddar cheese, a jalapeño-stuffed olive, and pepperoncini to this hangover-busting drink.
Geraldine’s, 605 Davis St.
Tomato juice would seem to be an essential ingredient in Bloody Marys, but the off-beat, still savory version at the restaurant inside Hotel Van Zandt just might change your mind (and cure that hangover). The 24 Carat Magic has carrot juice inside of tomato, as well as Tito’s vodka, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, tamarind, lemon and mole bitters.
L’Oca d’Oro, 1900 Simond Ave.
An Italian restaurant was just about the last place I expected to find one of my favorite Bloody Marys, but L’Oca d’Oro, after all, does just about everything well. The Mueller spot discovered that something magical happens when you roast the tomato (why has no one made that a thing before?!) and does that for the Bloody Bartolo, also with Banner Organic Vodka, fermented chile, celery juice and celery bitters.
Hi Hat Public House, 2121 E. Sixth St.
The michelada seems like an easy order given the prolific number of easy-drinking beers to choose from at this East Austin beer bar. And certainly, it’s good. But the Saké Mary is divine thanks to the flavorful sake (take that, vodka) and a house mix featuring a small amount of herbs.
Rio Rita, 1203 Chicon St.
This dive bar might have relocated farther north from its prime East Sixth Street haunt last year, but at least one thing about it hasn’t changed: the House Bloody Mary. Get it with one of the vodka infusions of white peppercorn or jalapeño and habanero garlic.
Snooze, 1700 S. Lamar Blvd. and 3800 N. Lamar Blvd.
We’d be remiss not to mention Austin’s ultimate breakfast spot, the daytime-only Snooze. Both locations have a small menu of Bloody Marys to choose from, but the Bangkok Bloody Mary is the way to go. With 1876 Vodka, sriracha, lime, cilantro, basil, fish sauce and a house Bloody mix, it’s got the burst of savory, spicy flavor we need to perk up.
Star Bar, 600 W. Sixth St.
If you’re one of those connoisseurs of the heavily garnished Bloody Mary, the outlandishly large Hail Mary is for you.
It’s a literal meal thanks to a variety of over-the-top toppings, which include a P. Terry's cheeseburger, a hard-boiled egg, pickled okra, chicken nuggets, a powdered mini-donut, celery, pepper jack cheese and much, much more. Only 12 of these are made every Sunday, so if you're feeling adventurous, call the bar ahead of time to reserve one and then bring a friend to share it.
Trace at the W Austin, 200 Lavaca St.
What could possibly be better than a Bloody Mary? That’s an easy one: a Bloody Mary with brisket. Trace’s hardy, whiskey-based Brisket Mary features Dickel rye infused with house-smoked brisket, Zing Zang, Austin Beerworks Pearl-Snap Pilsner, pickles and fresh dill.
Viniagrette, 2201 College Ave.
Kale is generally something I don’t want anywhere near my cocktails, but I can make an exception for the salad-focused restaurant off South Congress. Vinaigrette’s forest-green Kale Mary (with Tru Organic Garden Vodka, celery, Thai chili and fresh grape tomato juice with horseradish and soy) makes drinking my vegetables easier than ever.