The best bloody marys in London
So alright, this isn't your conventional mary. But cocktail wizard Tony Conigliaro's Prairie Oyster is a twist on the classic with all the flavour of the original but none of the looks. It looks even better, in fact; a deconstructed version served in an oyster-shaped vessel. Its spherical yolk is filled with clarified tomato juice bobbing in a sea of horseradish vodka and the drink’s usual accoutrements. Knock it back in one gulp and order up a round for your pals.
The story goes that the first bloody mary was shaken either in New York or in Paris’ foremost New York-themed bar. So it's great to find an authentic Big Apple bloody mary in London’s branch of Balthazar, the swanky all-day brasserie that started its journey out Stateside. They add to their vodka some savoury V8 juice and a nice hit of horseradish. New York, New York!
At £20 a glass it’s a pricey old tipple, but the Connaught’s version includes – wait for it – celery air. Okay, maybe that’s not answering your boozy prayers, but it’s fancy as hell. Everything else is pleasingly loyal to the original recipe and you’ll have one of the hottest bar experiences available in London. How’s that for a hangover cure?
The Hawksmoor group is famed for elevating the simple (and best!) things to stunning standards, and its bloody mary is no exception. For real hair-of-the-dog stuff, try the No 7 – they add Kernel porter to the mix for an extra booze hit. Served in a tall glass with a salted rim and a celery stick for decoration, it’s a classic through and through.
You might as well rename this the ‘hipster mary’, since it’s made using daikon srirachra for an extra hit of spice. We've come to expect these kinds of quirky flourishes from bar Nightjar, the label-pushing Old Street speakeasy. Other quirks to this elaborate drink include chilli cress and tamarillo. Make the morning after as exotic as possible.
There’s a list of five bloody marys on the menu at The Distillery, west London’s gin hotel. Although you can stick to the classic formula, our favourite is the Red Snapper, a mary made from gin in place of vodka. They use the house gin (Portobello Road) and garnish with an olive, a gherkin and a chilli. It almost counts as your full five-a-day.
Have a Sunday to savour by heading to The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green, where they dedicate the day to punchy takes on the tomatoey classic. Their original is fiery, the Mad Mary (£10) is pint-sized and served with a meat stick (plus the obligatory celery stick, of course), while the Bloody Murphy is an Irish twist on the drink that includes poitin and stout along with that vodka. Sure to sort your head out.