The first day of a new year brings with it hope, resolutions, and, depending on the previous night’s festivities, a well-seasoned hangover. While sleep and caffeine are sound weapons of choice, there’s perhaps no better fix than the hair of the dog, and perhaps no better combating cocktail than the bloody mary. While the classic trio of vodka, tomato, and spice is in and of itself a powerful remedy, restaurants across town are mending morning maladies with variations on the savory sipper, altering everything from garnish to base liquor. Here we present a list of bloodies by neighborhood, to spare you the town traipsing that’ll likely characterize your New Year’s Eve.
Bushwick: Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan Street, Brooklyn, 718-366-6311
Vegans rejoice at this meat-free Bushwick watering hole, which got our vote for Best Bloody Mary in 2013. The team here created a vegan Worcestershire sauce to balance the other flavor-packed ingredients in their tomato-based tipple: horseradish, pepper, and a savory stake of house-brined olives and pickles. Check the menu for several variations, too — we like the one spiked with pineapple and ginger.
Carroll Gardens: Char No. 4, 196 Smith Street, Brooklyn, 718-643-2106
With more than 150 American whiskeys and a brown spirit-dominated drink list, it makes sense that the team behind this Carroll Gardens bourbon bar creates a bloody mary representative of its main offering. Namely, a biting chipotle bourbon version using Old Crow, Tabasco, freshly ground horseradish, and a sizeable garnish of pickled carrots and cucumbers.
Chelsea: Cookshop, 156 Tenth Avenue, 212-924-4440
The bloody mary lineup trots the globe at Cookshop, where Italy (vodka, Dorothy Parker gin, pecorino, pepperoni, mozzarella, and garlic), Oaxaca (Mezcal, cilantro, and lime), and Boston (Greylock gin, Boston Bittahs for the Red Snappah) all get a spirited shout-out. When regions aren’t the focus, dishes and their components are: The Pickled Mary serves up tangy pickle juice and pickled red onions, while neighboring tables will cast envious glances at the within-your-reach BLT mary, chock-full of makeshift alarm clock bacon in two ways — infused vodka and as a crisp garnish.
East Village: Prune, 54 East 1st Street, 212-677-6221
Nearly a dozen bloody marys earned the rights to their own menu page at chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s East Village brunch fixture, qualifying the drink decision to be just as important — and strenuous — as the main course resolution. The classic gets twists in the deadly — with a splash of Sauza tequila — and the Green Lake, with wasabi and a beef jerky “swizzler.” For the bullshot, beef bouillon subs for mary mix, and the Chicago matchbox features a handclasp of homemade lemon vodka, pickled Brussels sprouts, baby white turnips, and salt-packed caperberries.
Midtown East: King Cole Bar, 2 East 55th Street, 212-339-6857
St. Regis bartender Fernand Petiot is credited with the creation of the original bloody mary, a recipe he brought with him from Paris and titled The Red Snapper. Since its 1934 origins, the bar has tastefully updated the cocktail with salt, pepper, lemon, and Worcestershire sauce in addition to upping its bloody game overall: The bloody smoke is a wink to the classic with Springbank 10-year old scotch, and Harry’s Texas bloody mary packs Southern flare with Herradura silver tequila and Cajun seasoning.
Upper West Side (and multiple locations): Sarabeth’s, 423 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-496-6280
This beloved Manhattan eatery takes brunch and its cocktails seriously, right down to the glassware. An oversized brandy snifter houses the signature “pickled” bloody mary, a spicy spin on the classic with Old Bay seasoning and a medley of apple cider- and sugar-brined vegetables, including jicama and red pepper. For the pescatarians and protein-lovers alike, add poached shrimp for $3.
West Village: Joseph Leonard, 170 Waverly Place, 646-429-8383
Two bloody marys headline the menu at this smart West Village joint, where no two vintage suitcases or mirrors are alike, resulting in an antiquated mismatched décor that is far from accidental. For the bloody mary no. 20, patrons can choose between traditional, cilantro, or dill-infused vodka, then further enhance a morning buzz with a beer chaser. To combat post-New Year’s hunger and hangover pains, find instant satiation and solace in the bloody caesar, vodka-based and complete with a deep-fried bacon-wrapped brussels sprout, radish-stuffed olive, oyster, and jolt of sriracha — just to make sure you’re awake.