On a recent Sunday in Fort Greene, patrons of Brooklyn Public House were offered the chance to taste Bloody Marys from several bars around the neighborhood. The flight of six Bloody Mary samplers cost $10 and came with a ballot to cast one’s vote for the best one. Kif, Sputnik, General Greene, Anima, and Olea were among the competitors. By the end of the day, Marissa’s Bloody Tonic from Olea was declared the winner. The “Bloody Battle,” as it’s called, is run by one Matt Preis (a.k.a. Max Power) and, starting next year, it will be open to regular folks in the neighborhood.
With the recent wave of amateur cooking competitions, it was just a matter of time until someone decided to host an amateur bartending competition. Preis, a former bartender who now owns a local pet care business with his brother, has always liked to brag about his mean Bloody Mary-making skills. He says he started the Battle just for fun and its success has come as a surprise.
“So far, this last Bloody Battle was my third and it went extremely well… The first [one] started as a joke in 2007 when I worked at Rope bar on Myrtle. After a summer of shit-talking among bartenders, I decided to host a throw down. I expected a little party with friends — it was packed full all day on a Sunday. We had waiting lists for flights, but no one was bothered by it. We had so much fun that I had to throw another.”
So, when can amateur bartenders expect to get in on the action?
“I hope to host three more battles in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill. The next event will be an open call to residents not associated with bars or restaurants and I am shooting for February 2010. After that will be one more bar/restaurant event, probably in May 2010. Then, I take all of the winners and we host a Bloody Brawl and find out who is the true champion.”
Preis is hoping get some sort of sponsorship deal for the event so that he can take it borough-wide. So far, he still spends more than he makes on each one. If you live in Brooklyn, start working on your Bloody recipe now — a Battle may soon be coming to a bar near you.