A good Bloody Mary on a Sunday morning? How about eight in competition with each other to prove who can make the most popular Bloody Mary in Mendocino County. The spirited (!!) competition was intense, nothing spared to make the strongest, spiciest, tallest, most extravagant bloody on the coast. All the action took place on March 13, 2022 at the famed Little River Inn, an elegant inn at the center of Little River and a longtime pillar of the community.
In 2023 the Bloody Mary Festival takes place on March 12, 2023 from 12-2:30 and expect even more competition, lavish cocktails and friendly locals. Buy tickets as soon as they come on sale at www.littleriverinn.com or better yet, spend the weekend at this fabulously dog-friendly hotel with its own golf course right on the coast. There is no bad view from any room.
As a celebrity judge (make that media – celebrity in my own mind) I was thrilled to get to try these concoctions firsthand and, with my fellow judges, try to winnow out who brought on the savory heat and over the top garnishes best. The bottom line is every single bloody mary was delicious and, as much as I wanted to slurp each one to completion, it was before noon and there were plenty of festivities ahead.
Guests who attended the charitable event had a full bloody mary made for them from each of the competitors – no skimping here – paired with delicious grilled cheese sandwiches made by the local fire department, which also entered a bloody mary paired beautifully with their famous sandwiches. Guests paid $75 ahead of the event and tickets were limited to 120 and sold out fast. Proceeds from tickets went to the Mendocino Area Parks Association.
Even the spirit was a local contribution from the popular Tamar Distillery that makes a wide array of spirits including the organic DSP-CA-162 Straight Vodka. It’s made from Organic Wheat from Italy, GMO free Corn from Quebec, plus Organic Viognier spirits. Find it at Harvest Market, buy direct from Tamar Distillery in Redwood Valley, call them at 707-485-2068, or order online at caddellwilliams.com.
Here are the 3 winning recipes:
NOYO HARBOR INN and HARBORVIEW BISTRO & BAR
WINNER FOR MOST CREATIVE BLOODY MARY
5oz. Tomato juice
2oz. Pineapple juice
2oz. Worst cheshire sauce
.5oz. Soy sauce
.5oz. Smoked Maple Syrup
.5oz. Fresh Lemon
2 Tablespoons Freshly ground Black Pepper
Rim: Millionaire Seasoning (Brown sugar, Cayenne, Ground Black Pepper)
Garnish: Maple Black Pepper Bacon & Fresh Pineapple wedge (pineapple leaves optional)
Rim glass with millionaire seasoning
Fill glass with ice to the top
Add 2oz of Vodka or spirit of your choice
Add all mix ingredients
Briefly Stir to combine
MV FIRE DEPARTMENT
WINNER FOR THE BEST USE OF HEAT
1.5 oz vodka
0.5 oz Worcestershire sauce
Squeeze of Meyer lemon
Squeeze of lime
Tsp of horseradish
4 dashes of Tabasco
2 shakes of black pepper and celery salt
A pinch of celery seed and Old Bay
Half tsp of pickled green bean brine
Tomato juice to fill
Garnish with pickled green beans and Meyer lemon
WINNER FOR BEST GARNISH
Toasted achiote powder
Rim: Ancho Chili + Kosher Salt
Garnish: Pan-seared scallop, mango, pineapple, and jicama