The Bloody Mary Festival Disrupts Hangovers With Innovative Cocktails

As a former bartender, I can say that the Bloody Mary is one of the hardest drinks to make well, and not just because a lot of people have throbbing skulls as they’re putting them together. They can be too thin, or too astringent, or contain greasy bacon and cocktail onions that came from a jar in the back of the fridge. Also, Clamato happens to be the grossest “word” of all time. (And if I hear one more gay man tell me that vodka has zero calories or that celery stalks have negative calories, I shall simply scream.)

[jump] Undeterred by all those horrors, the Bloody Mary Festival is coming back to San Francisco on Sept. 20 with the best of the genre. Not content with mere horseradish, the competition here will dazzle us all with rare peppercorns, regionally prized hot sauces, and obscure tinctures. If you ever needed a reason to get deliberately hung over, this is it.

While the 2014 festival killed it at Public Works, this year things are moving to The Midway, in the Dogpatch. Thirteen of the Bay Area’s best Bloody Mary purveyors will be there, from the highbrow (1760, Cliff House) to the wonderfully lowbrow (Mission Bowling Club, Hi Dive). Last year’s winner, Berkeley’s Five, and the runner-up (and People’s Choice Winner) Twenty-Five Lusk will be staring each other down again, too.

General Admission tickets ($45) get you unlimited tastes for three hours, along with food samples, music by DJ Mancub, and a vote for the People’s Choice ballot, while the $75 V.I.P. ticket includes an early entrance, schmoozing time with the celebs, and lunch from a food truck that’s T.B.D.

So throw away all your Ibuprofen, don’t drink any water for two days, and get completely wasted the night before!

The Bloody Mary Festival, Sunday, Sept. 20, 1-4 p.m., at the Midway, 900 Marin St.

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