Three years ago, I was sitting in a windowless basement office (not) watching the beautiful Pacific Northwest Summer pass me by. I was unfulfilled, depressed, and hated waking up in the morning. So I quit.
I booked a one-way ticket to Split, Croatia, and started my life as a digital nomad. More than three years and 44 countries later, I've stepped foot on five continents and met people from all walks of life. Although I haven't been to Somerset, Wisconsin, I've tasted some damn good Bloody Marys. Here are five of the best:
The Bloody Special - Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA
My favorite Bloody Mary of all time can be found in the cash-only Girolamo's Court'n House Bar & Grill on the banks of the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. It's the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. A single pickle spear and a pair of olive accompany the spice-laced rim.
I'll take this one with a straw and add a two-for-one burger special on Tuesdays. I'll admit, I spent more time at Girolamo's on Tuesday afternoons than I did across the bridge on campus for class.
Oh, and the price doesn't get much better… $2 for a fantastic drink. You might as well order two right off the bat.
Gold Mary - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I'll give you some contrast from good ole Eau Claire. St. Regis in Dubai is one of the most expensive places in the world. The hotel itself is located on the man-made island Palm Jumeriah and features unparalleled views of the Arabian Sea. It's wild.
Inspired by the King Cole Bar in the St. Regis New York of the 1930s, this restaurant claims to use the same ingredients in its Bloody Marys that Fernand Petiot did nearly 90 years ago.
The Golden Mary has gold. Not in a figurative way. It literally has golden flakes sprinkled on top. I drank gold.
This drink didn't make the list only for its unique qualities, although that does factor into my rankings. The drink was delicious. It was spicy, strong, and unique.
It calls for date paste, pickled jalapenos, yellow tomato juice, and rose-infusion vodka.
Oh, and it was $100 (but came with three bowls of snacks)!
The Caesar - Karratha, Australia
Karratha is in the middle of nowhere and has a typical outback feeling to it. It's like a western movie, only in western Australia. I was surprised there weren't saloon doors swinging in and out with people riding up on stallions.
Blanche Bar's version of the Bloody Mary is Canadian inspired and most closely resembles the caesar Bloody Mary. Clam juice is the secret weapon ingredient that made this Bloody Mary pop.
I ordered the Caesar Mary and a burger. I didn't need a burger. This Bloody Mary comes with a thick slice of chorizo, a burger slider, a full stick of celery, 10 olives, a pickle slice, and four slices of cheese.
The Lion - Nairobi, Kenya
Brew Bistro in downtown Nairobi is an excellent place to, well, get drunk.
Not in a messy, dangerous, or scary way. In an upscale and fun way. Bartenders sing, music is quiet enough that you can hear yourself think, and they have a Bloody Mary on the menu that blew my mind.
Fresh off a safari, my partner and I needed to unwind from one of the most magical experiences of our lives. The Lion delivered. It should've been called The Fire.
This thing was unbelievably hot. Made from signature chile and fire sauce, the recipe also called for ginger juice, olive juice, pomegranate juice, soy milk, and garlic salt.
Talk about a ride for your tastebuds.
The Secret Souk - Marrakesh, Morocco
Technically speaking, you're not supposed to drink in public in Morocco. There are ways around that, however, say, after 10 p.m. Often, you need a password to get through. It was sort of like a 21st-century American speakeasy, only in Africa.
The password for L'Epicurien in Marrakesh when I visited was the day of the week (thanks, hostel manager)!
What greeted my friends and me were Moroccan belly dancers and a massive list of cocktails. To my surprise, a drink on the menu very much resembled the ingredients of a Bloody Mary, so I ordered it.
The Secret Souk.
When I think about why this is one of the best Bloody Mary's I've had on my travels, specifics allude me. It was one of the most drinkable Bloody Mary's I've ever had, in any case. It wasn't overly fancy, nor did it have three pounds of food on top. It was just delicious.
I had four.
Tell me where your favorite Bloody Mary comes from!