One Block, Three Very Different Bloody Marys

The other day, because I didn’t really feel like hanging out at the office and because I thought that a little midweek afternoon consumption was a good idea, I decided to head out for a Bloody Mary. This action was also spurred by a text from Preston & Steve personality Marisa Magnatta, who has the week off and wanted to do a Bloody Mary tour of Philadelphia. Joined by a Comcast SportsNet on air talent who shall remain nameless, because apparently Comcast is a lot more concerned about stories featuring their talent drinking than is WMMR (shocker!), we actually managed to find three delicious and distinct Bloodys within one block of each other, from 1421 to 1516 Sansom Street.

Given that the weekend is almost upon us and a time when folks tend to seek out these things, I thought I would share.

Bloody Mary #1: Katie Loeb at Sansom Street Oyster House concocted one of the city’s more unusual versions of the drink. Her Bloody Viking isn’t exactly new, but it was my first time trying it. She makes it with homemade aquavit (I love that I live in a place where someone is making aquavit), and there’s a pretty significant cumin and caraway thing going on here. It’s a little like drinking Indian food. But in a good way. Served in a highball for $9.50. 1516 Sansom Street, 215-567-7683.

Bloody Mary #2: You only have to take a quick jog just up the stairs from the Oyster House’s front door to find another formidable option, the wasabi-spiked Bloody Nancy (pictured) at Nodding Head, a place known more for its beer. When we showed up, since it was a weekday, they didn’t have any made, but the bartender offered to whip up a batch if we were each going to have one. He disappeared for a bit with a six-pack of V8, and wow. Nothing subtle about it. If you wake up a little groggy on Sunday, this drink’s kick will get your head right. A tulip glass of it is $6 or $4 on Sundays. 1516 Sansom Street, 2nd floor, 215-569-9525.

Bloody Mary #3: As everyone should know by now, vodka is basically flavorless. A blank slate. So why not add some more flavorful booze to the recipe? That’s what bartender Rob Cutler does at Chris’ Jazz Cafe with his Dizzy Mary, presumably named after legendary trumpeter though it could just as easily be for the effect it has on the drinker. Cutler’s version combines one part each gin and vodka with two parts smoky tequila. It’s a satisfying mixture, and one best consumed when no erranding has to occur that day. I enjoyed mine with a cold beer chaser, a bit of which wound up mixed into the cocktail. Yum. $9 for a pint. 1421 Sansom Street, 215-568-3131.