At one Milwaukee bar, bloody marys come topped with a full meal: bacon, jalapeño cheese balls and a three-pound fried chicken.
In Stevens Point, a secret bloody mary recipe at a bar on the backwater of the Wisconsin River attracts visitors from all over the state.
And in Oshkosh, crazy bloody mary toppings like macaroni and cheese are the talk of the town every Sunday as patrons stream in for a hangover cure after a wild Saturday night.
The bloody mary holds a precious spot in Wisconsin’s heart. Maybe it’s because the drink can zap even the worst headache after a night of a little too much fun. Or because, at some spots, it comes topped with a whole meal — a totally Wisconsin touch, by the way.
“It’s an extension of how we wear things on our sleeve with pride,” said Brian Bartels, Wisconsin native and author of “The Bloody Mary: The Lore and Legend of a Cocktail Classic.”
Wisconsin is credited for adding the beer chaser to the cocktail and gilding that lily with an array of pickled vegetables, cheese and meats on top. The toppings and chasers are something that Bartels does in the restaurant group, Happy Cooking Hospitality, that he co-owns and helps to manage in New York.
We asked readers on Facebook to tell us their favorite bloody marys in Wisconsin. Here are a few standouts to try on your next trip around the state. (Is your favorite not on this list? Share it with us in the comments — or discuss it with us in the Be Wisconsin Facebook group.)