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The best Bloody Marys in NYC

From the 80-year-old original to a new Korean-accented number, these are the best Bloody Marys in NYC

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The origins of the Bloody Mary, that salty hangover-cure godsend of vodka and tomato juice, are as murky as its contents. But the modern-day iteration found at bars in NYC, a favorite companion to the best brunch in NYC with horseradish and hot sauce, was perfected right here in New York, by French barman Fernand Petiot at the St. Regis Hotel more than 80 years ago. From that original hotel restaurant rendition to newfangled riffs topping the recipe with bacon, oysters and more, these are the best Bloody Marys in NYC.

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Best Bloody Marys in NYC

Red Snapper at The King Cole Bar

The quintessential

Fun fact: When Petiot introduced his vodka-and-tomato concoction to the St. Regis’s King Cole Bar in 1934, the name Bloody Mary was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s chichi clientele, and it was thus rechristened the Red Snapper. The bar’s signature drink hasn’t changed much in those eight decades: It’s still silky smooth with rich tomato, but a delayed kick of smoky cayenne pepper leaves lips tingling. Though heavy-handed on the booze—not that we’re complaining—a thick lemon wedge is wrung for full-force tang to cut both the spirit and sweet veg juice. $25

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Midtown East

Bloody Mary at the Bennett

The Mexican brunch pour

Drinks maven Meaghan Dorman offers a Mexican-leaning recipe, built with her in-house batch blend, at this glossy Tribeca gem. The recipe employs roasted tomatoes, Poblano peppers and Tabasco hot sauce with the requisite horseradish, tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce. It's stirred with vodka, lemon juice and olive brine, and garnished with a lemon wheel, olive and pinch of black pepper. $14

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Tribeca

Bloody Bull at The Brooklyn Star

The meat lover's mix

Instead of biting bouillon, this savory potable gets its meaty flavor from fresh beef broth. To top it off, the bartender at these Southern digs dunks a handful of pickled green beans and sprinkles the cup with salt and pepper. With a bit of beefy heft, you could probably sub this one in for a meal. $11

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Williamsburg
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Gochujang Bloody Mary at Syndicated

The Korean spiced

Guests catching a marquee movie and meal at this cinema-gastropub mashup can wash down brunch fare with bar manager Kenneth Vanhooser's gochujang-blasted cocktail. Offered on weekends, the spicy tipple fires up Tito's vodka with gochujang, banana-pepper juice, A.1. steak sauce, Worcestershire and basil. Rounding out that mix are additional seasonings of fennel, sesame, onion, garlic and coriander. $11

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Williamsburg

Lobster Claw Bloody Mary at Lobster Joint

The nautical swill

Toppling with trimmings—a garlicky pickle spear, giant green olives and a tender lobster claw—this saucy tipple is like good gazpacho, spiced with horseradish and bolstered by a secret blend of peppers. $12

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Downtown

Chemex Bloody Mary at Kobrick Coffee Co.

The coffee-filtered drip

At this Meatpacking District coffee shop–meets–cocktail bar, Hella Bitters barman Tobin Ludwig crafts a smooth-sipping take on the traditional cocktail using a traditional glass Chemex coffee maker. Vodka is infused with fresh horseradish, habanero, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce in the filter itself, while lemon and organic tomato juices are poured in à la minute per order. $16, $45 for a carafe

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Meatpacking District
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Bloody Mary at The Dutch

The smoked spin

A hot and salty chorizo garnish sets the tone for this chipotle variation. The smoky pepper warms up without overwhelming and adds earthy tones to the saucy glass. A smoked paprika salt rim adds another layer of subtle, heat while zippy, house-picked cornichons offer a crisp cool-down. $16

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Soho

Green (Bay) Bloody Mary at Bar Sardine

The Mary of a different color

This striking chartreuse glass will catch you by surprise twice: first with a punch of tart tomatillo, more sour than its sweet red cousin, and then with a hit of house-made serrano hot sauce that slow-burns down the throat. Bright, cooling cucumber water helps quell the heat and freshens up the potent, earthy celery notes. $16

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West Village

Spicy Bloody Maria at James

The South of the border shake-up

Jalapeño-jolted tequila gives vodka a rest at this Brooklyn bistro, quaking the cup with both fiery wrath and crisp green flavor. The glass is lanced with house-pickled purple and yellow carrots and pepped with anise, coriander and a sprig of fresh basil or dill, depending on the bartender’s mood. $12

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Prospect Heights
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Bloody Mary at Estela

The Asian bent

House-made Thai chili hot sauce electrifies the thick tomato sipper at Ignacio Mattos’s modernist eatery. The pepper’s slow-and-steady spice gets a briny blast of fish sauce, a clever stand-in for the standard Worcestershire, and an herbal pop from the celery-salt–and-fennel–swiped rim. $14

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Nolita

Danish Bloody Mary at Prune

The Scandinavian stunner

A pair of skewered marinated anchovies plays up Worcestershire’s fishy backbeat in the house mix at this neighborhood brunch favorite. The hair of the dog is fired with horseradish and Tabasco and then spiked with the anise-tinged Aquavit. The Nordic spirit comes forward strongest, echoed in the fresh fennel fronds and amped up with a spritz of lemon. $15

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East Village

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