The Bloody Mary Club: Bespoke Kitchen

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The Bloody Mary Club hit up Bespoke Kitchen a while ago, because we had to see the famous Mary’s Walk of Shame with our own eyes. Richa spotted a picture of it on Instagram and we just *knew* we had to check it out for ourselves.

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Mary’s Walk of Shame is a whopper of a cocktail and it was the absolute highlight of our meal. It’s a bloody mary topped with grilled cheese, maple bacon, pastrami, sausage, pork belly & pickles. The glass has a spicy salt rim.

The restaurant itself is very modern but in a charming way, not a clinical way. We made reservations but the place wasn’t very crowded, so I’m not sure if it was necessary. We ordered the biscuit bites (with fried chicken and gravy, naturally), shrimp & grits, short rib benedict, and Angie’s croast (which is a croissant french toast hybrid). Bespoke Kitchen is all about locally sourced ingredients and “New York style” food. Our food was okay, but the Bloody Mary was the highlight of the meal. Afterall, if I really wanted to eat a good shrimp and grits or biscuits and gravy, I’d be looking for an actual soul food restaurant, not a hip West Village “New York style” restaurant.

But honestly, the Mary’s Walk of Shame is worth a trip to Bespoke Kitchen on its own. It was practically a meal in itself. We were so full from the process of drinking the first one that we didn’t have room for a second drink – that’s almost blasphemous as far as Saturday brunches are concerned! We all agreed that next time we would hit up Bespoke Kitchen for a cocktail before going somewhere else for brunch.

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Cheat Sheet:

Bloody Mary:
Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Perfectly slurp-able
Spice: Not too salty – the toppings add all the salt you could want
Fixin’s: Grilled cheese, maple bacon, pastrami, sausage, pork belly, pickles & a salted spice rim
Overall Rating:  4.8 out of 5

Bespoke Kitchen is located at615 1/2 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014. http://www.thebespokekitchen.com/

A Literary Cocktail Party inspired by Arrowsmith

literary

I would call Sinclair Lewis’ Arrowsmith a “pretty serious book”, but one of my favorite things about it is its setting within the Prohibition Era. We see the protaganist, Martin Arrowsmith, going into speakeasies with his friends and sneaking into the back rooms of warehouses alongside the general public warnings on the dangers of drinking and gambling. I think this especially stood out to me as the other Pulitzer winners set in this era have all shied away from any mentions of drinking. Without further adieu, I invite you to The Ice House in the West Indies to join Martin Arrowsmith for his signature “rum swizzler.”

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This is Barrio 47, but I imagine The Ice House is similar to this

The Ice House, that dimmest and most peaceful among saloons, with its cool marble tables, its gilt-touched white walls, had not been closed, though only the oldest topers and the youngest bravos, fresh out from Home and agonizingly lonely… were desperate enough to go there, and of the attendants there remained only one big Jamaica barman. By chance he was among them all the most divine mixer of the planter’s punch, the New Orleans fizz, and the rum swizzle.

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Recipe courtesy of Liquor.com

Bermuda Rum Swizzle Cocktail:

  • 4 oz. Gold Rum
  • 4 oz. Black Rum
  • 8 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 8 oz. Orange Juice
  • 3/4 oz. Grenadine
  • 6 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Shake vigorously with crushed ice, and then garnish with pineapple, oranges, maraschino cherries, and any other tropical fruit that catch your eye.

Although I’m glad we no longer have this law, it’s a period of time that I don’t know much about and am intrigued by. I suppose finding a book on the Prohibition should be added to my to-do list!

Additional Reading:

  • Font courtesy of Manfred Klein
  • Curious about the difference between gold and black rum? Apparently there are four types of rum.
  • Check out our first Literary Cocktail Party post here, featuring Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
  • Arrowsmith was the 1926 Pulitzer winner, and Sinclair Lewis was the first (and only) writer to refuse the prize. Read more about it here.
  • Fun fact: 1926 was also the year The Great Gatsby was published. Some people would say that Gatsby deserved the Pulitzer much more than Arrowsmith did.

The Bloody Mary Club: The East Pole Kitchen & Bar

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Most recently, the Bloody Mary Club went to The East Pole for brunch! New York weather has been a little indecisive this month, but the morning of brunch was lovely and we snagged a great table outdoors. The East Pole is a popular after-work destination for cocktails, so I was eager to try not one, but two Bloody Marys!

Left to Right: Peach Bellini, Spicy Maria, Bloody Mary

I got the Bloody Mary, which was vodka, “market tomato juice” and fresh horseradish, garnished with celery and an olive. It definitely tasted like fresh tomato juice, and it was a light and refreshing take on a Bloody Mary. Most of the items on East Pole’s menu were just like this – light, fresh, and well seasoned. We started with a pastry basket followed by Eggs Florentine, Avocado Toast topped with soft boiled eggs and hot sauce, and a cheeseburger with a side of “duck fat chips”which were really savory potato wedges. The Eggs Florentine was definitely my favorite. I’d skip the pastry basket and avocado toast next time and try something else.

Counter Clockwise: Eggs Florentine, Avocado Toast, The East Pole Cheeseburger

Richa got the Spicy Maria so we could  try both. This had a jalapeno-infused tequila mixed with the same tomato juice. This one had a weird aftertaste that we couldn’t quite put our finger on. There wasn’t much of a kick at all – we could hardly taste the jalapeno – and we were a little disappointed. Richa said she would definitely stick with the Bloody Mary next time. Iris’s Peach Bellini was good, but I would say it was pretty standard – not a bad choice, but nothing to write home about. Overall, I would say it was a pretty successful brunch – great weather, a beautiful venue, fresh and filling food that didn’t leave us groggy, and lovely company! We’ll definitely be back to try a different menu sometime!

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Cheat Sheet:

Bloody Mary:
Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Pretty standard – just juice, no pulp or surprises
Spice: Not spicy or too salty, a very fresh and light drink
Fixin’s: Horseradish, Celery, Olive
Overall Rating:  4 out of 5

Spicy Maria:
Liquor Base: Jalapeno-Infused Tequila
Viscosity/Texture: Again, pretty standard – just juice, no pulp or surprises
Spice: Disappointingly bland
Fixin’s: Celery, Olive
Overall Rating:  1.5 out of 5

The East Pole Kitchen is located at 133 E. 65th Street, New York, NY 10065. It’s tucked away in a little alcove, so keep your eyes out or you might walk past it twice like I did! http://www.theeastpolenyc.com/

The Bloody Mary Club: PJ Clarke’s

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P.J. Clarke’s is a New York staple (although according to their website, there are also now locations in Washington, DC and Brazil!) with dark wood and red checked tablecloths. They’re renowned for their burgers and Bloody Marys. Any New York Bloody Mary list would be incomplete without a visit to P.J. Clarke’s, so I headed over to the one at Lincoln Center with some classmates for a late night snack last week. Who says Bloody Marys are only for brunch? In my book, it’s never too late for one.

IMG_2740The Original Clarke’s Bar Bloody Mary comes with olives, a wedge of lemon, lime, and a stalk of celery. The drink is very salty, so you’ll need a few glasses of water while you’re drinking. The glass is rimmed with some sort of vinegar & sugary syrup – this was the highlight of the drink. I would highly recommend ditching the straw to get the full experience. I would say this variation is a classic; you’ll never be disappointed because you’ll get a consistent drink every time. However, half the fun is trying new interpretations! If you’ve never had a Bloody Mary before, I think this is a good place to start to get a strong foundation. I would give this a solid 3/5, a perfect baseline to get acclimated to the world of Bloody Marys.

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Cheat Sheet:

Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Thin, but not watery
Spice: More salty than anything else, definitely not spicy
Fixin’s: Celery, Lemon & Lime Wedge, Vinegar-Sugar Rim
Overall Rating:  3 out of 5

The Lincoln Square P.J. Clarke’s is located at 44 West 63rd Street, New York, NY 10023 http://www.pjclarkes.com/lincoln-square/

 

The Bloody Mary Club: Delicatessen

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Delicatessen, known for its take on “International Comfort Food”, is located in the Lower East Side. Because they don’t take reservations for brunch, we went at 10:30am right as the restaurant was opening. (Shout out to Richa for showing up first two months in a row!) The decor is modern and sleek, and I think it would be a great place to people watch in the summer when all of the glass walls are open onto the sidewalk.

The Bloody Mary at Delicatessen is known as the “Stacked Mary,” and it is definitely stacked. There’s celery, olives, cucumber, pickled vegetables, a lemon wedge, a shrimp, and a bacon salt rimmed glass. This is the kind of Bloody Mary that I envision people drink while tailgating at football games and create at those make-your-own Bloody Mary bars that I keep hearing about.

The Stacked Mary

The vodka and Bloody Mary mixture was smooth, savory, and well seasoned. I happily crunched on the celery while waiting for our food to come out, and I dunked the shrimp into the drink halfway through to give it some flavor. While I didn’t eat the olives, I loved the “stacked” presentation of the drink and would have been disappointed if there were no olives.

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The Bloody Mary Club: Jack’s Wife Freda

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It’s been a while since I posted about a Bloody Mary! Don’t fret, I still love them, but we have been too busy recently to meet up for brunch. Iris and I finally got it together and met at Jack’s Wife Freda on Carmine Street last weekend. The place is famous for its long wait, so we decided to beat the crowd, so we got there fifteen minutes after it opened, around 8:45. Surprisingly, we weren’t even close to the first people there, but there was no wait at all.

The food was delicious, and the restaurant had a really clean & chic decor. Jack’s Wife Freda is an American-Mediterranean bistro, so we ordered Green Shakshuka, Jack’s Breakfast, and an order of house-cured duck bacon. I had a Bloody Mary, and Iris ordered the Cantaloupe Mimosa.

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Photo Courtesy of Iris’ Instagram – thanks girl!

The Cantaloupe Mimosa was really fresh and subtle. Unfortunately, the Bloody Mary came with all of the right fixin’s but was disappointingly underwhelming. It was a little thin and watery, without any real flavor or kick. It didn’t even taste as good as the ones you make at home with pre-made mix.

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I think the restaurant is definitely worth the trip, but I would stick to coffee and juice.

Cheat Sheet:

Bloody Mary

Liquor Base: Vodka
Viscosity/Texture: Thin and watery
Spice: Not spicy at all
Fixin’s: Olives, Lemon, Lime & Celery
Overall Rating: 2  out of 5

Jack’s Wife Freda has two locations. The one we went to was located at 50 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014. http://www.jackswifefreda.com/

A Literary Cocktail Party: Book & Drink Pairings

I don’t know about you, but I have a flurry of social obligations this weekend. In order to make it to all of these events, I will probably be abstaining from drinking a lot of alcohol – this weekend is a marathon, not a sprint! However, I don’t want to miss out on all the fun, so I thought I’d plan a literary cocktail party here. If these books hosted parties, what would their signature drinks be? Without further adieu, you are cordially invited to…

literary

Go Set a Watchman + Manhattansmanhattan

go set a watchmanGo Set a Watchman is set in my heart of hearts, Alabama. Every Southern girl knows how to hold her whiskey, so I imagine Scout and Hank bringing flasks of it to drink by the water. When they’re not drinking it neat, I think Scout would appreciate a good Manhattan, especially since we find her a New York City girl in Harper Lee’s second book. I think she would refuse to eat maraschino cherries though, don’t you? I can see her sneaking them into Atticus’ glass when he pretends to not be looking.

 

 

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The Magicians + A Sunday in the Park

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magicians

The Magicians is a pretty dark and twisted fantasy novel; it follows Quentin Coldwater as he attends Brakebills, a college of magic in New York. I wanted to focus on the first half of the book, when Quentin and his friends spend their time drinking in the Cottage and hosting elaborate dinner parties (complete with magical moving ice sculptures showing Zeus and Leda). I think this “Sunday in the Park” Lillet cocktail would be perfect for drunk games of welters. It’s an herbal concotion of Lillet, Bourbon, herbs, and simple syrup. It can be as light or as strong as you want, so Eliot can add as much extra bourbon as his heart desires.

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Wolf Hall + Blood & Honey

blood and honey

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Wolf Hall takes place in 1500 England and follows the rise of Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry VIII. I can’t really picture Thomas Cromwell drinking anything but pints of mead and ale, but just humor me here, okay? I imagine that if a local pub created a cocktail in his honor, they would come up with something similar to Cornish Mead Co.’s Blood and Honey. The only catch is they would maybe use the actual blood of the people that Cromwell has defeated… Yikes!

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It’s your turn! What drinks would you pair with these books (or other books)? What are you doing this weekend?

Additional Resources: