Celebrating the first anniversary of local ad firm Lion + Panda turned into Dayton’s first Bloody Mary Showdown, sponsored by American Harvest Organic Vodka and produced by DaytonMostMetro.com and the ARC Ohio Associate Board. Held in the Coliseum at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 200 guests tasted their way through renditions of this classic brunch drink. Some were spicy, some were bold, some were even good for you, as they were chocked full of juiced vegetables. Local bartenders were recruited, and asked to bring 3 gallons of their best bloody mix and guests were asked to judge the event. Proceeds of the event were donated to the AIDS Resource Center Ohio.
Chef Matt Hayden of Scratch Event Catering provided a western inspired spread for the Showdown which included Texas inspired Eggs Benedict with Poached Egg, Smoked Beef Brisket, Smoked Gouda and Cilantro Lime Hollandaise on French Pastry, Border Home Fries toasted in cumin and coriander with Crumbled Chorizo and Mexican Crema on side. and scrumptious Tejano Chocolate Bites -Ancho Chili Infused Callebaut Dark Chocolate Bars with Candied Onion and Bacon Center.
On their way out each guest had just one vote to select their favorite Bloody Mary. Many of the participants were really challenged by this and suggested adding categories, like best garnish, most creative, most traditional, as well as best table decor. Look for those categories in the 2015 Bloody Mary Showdown.
The votes were very close and first through fourth place were only 7 votes apart. You’ll have to wait to taste the winning cocktail, created by MacKenzie Manley. She’s a bartender who spent years working at the Pour Haus, and is now in the process of opening her own place. Mack’s Tavern will be open in just a few weeks on St. Rt. 725 in Washington Township in the strip mall where The Melting Pot and Big Lots are. She describes her winning cocktail as Mack’s BBQ Burger Mary- a smokey, hearty, beefed up BBQ bloody mary that has a spicy sriracha salted rim and garnished with a sweet lil smokey wrapped in yummy caramelized bacon slice.
Second place was claimed by Tim Gross, representing McGillicutty’s Pub in Kettering. Tim shared with us that he started out as a customer, then worked the door, helped at as a bar back and eventually learned to bartend at the neighborhood tavern. He only works on Sunday’s and that shift helped him perfect his drink, which he calls Tim’s Sunday Vacation, garnished with a small salad, including celery, olive and green beans.
The ladies of Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery, which serves up brunch every weekend on Fifth Street, and were picked by many as the favorites heading into the contest, took third place with a bloody Erin Welch called the Radical Tomato.
Other participants included the owners of AleFest, Jennifer Dean and Amanda Pond, serving up Bloody Ale- a cocktail featuring the smoked porter from Warped Wing, instead of vodka. Gretchen Kelly represented Kohler’s Catering, Nicole Fiely and Emily Mendenhall served it up for Lily’s Bistro, Jamie Gaulding of World BBQ shared his Bloody BLT, while Constance Myers of Tuty’s Bar & Grill had a buffet of garnishes available. Smart Guy in a Tie Cocktails Brian Petro brought the heat, Suzy Switzer of Trolley Stop’s had a garden fresh veggietastic Bloody. The Oregon Distric was well represented with Natalie Chalita and Adela Gloady of Salar serving up a Red & Rye, Nicole Hiserman from Blind Bob’s, and Kristen Todd from Tumbleweed Connection all offering something slightly different.
While there was no official prize for decor, there’s no doubt that Lonnie House , who was representing Masque had the most awesome diorama, complete with voodoo doll and dry ice to go with his Mary’s Voodoo File Rougarou!
With out a doubt, what all of the guests agreed on was the event was a hit, and MostMetro.com is already thinking about the next event. So you’ve got all winter to work on your recipe’s because the next Bloody Mary Showdown will add a category for amateur bartenders as well.
Cheers to all who made this event a success!