From the city's classics to vitamin-filled experiments
The bloody mary shouldn’t work. It’s essentially soup with alcohol in it—and yet it's one of the most popular drinks on airplanes, brunch tables, and many places in between. In Los Angeles, where the juice is cold-pressed and the bar for what makes a good cocktail is high, the bloody mary market is competitive. We’ve rounded up ten of our favorite bloody marys in the city, in no order, from no-frills classics to Vitamin-filled innovations.
Downtown at the new Freehand LA hotel, the latin-inspired Exchange restaurant offers a bloody mary that comes together thanks to teamwork from the kitchen and the bar. Bar masterminds Gabe Orta & Elad Zvi built a bloody with touches like dark soy sauce and olive juice, while chef Alex Chang created an orange juice-cut carrot mole that gets served on the side.
Inside of the secret garden splendor of the iconic Hotel Bel-Air, weekend brunchers can order the Bunny Mary, which swaps in carrot juice for tomato. The 12-acre hotel’s Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air restaurant is perfect for celebrity spotting on the patio.
Weekend brunch cocktails are better when they’re the product of LA bar powerhouse Gaby Mlynarczyk. Mlynarczyk uses biodynamic Mell Vodka, tomato puree, yuzu kosho, celery bitters, and a firewater tincture to make her bloody mary. Catch the drink at Accomplice’s adjoining restaurant, Little Fatty, during brunch service.
It makes sense that an incredible plant-based restaurant would have an incredible plant-based cocktail. Everything in the Crossroad bloody mary is made from scratch, down to the horseradish and tabasco that give the drink its kick. Just like the vegetarian diet, this drink is better for the environment thanks to the 360 Vodka it calls for. The vodka, bottled in recycled glass, is made with locally-sourced grain using a distillation process that maximizes energy efficiency that yields nearly no waste (leftover grain even gets sent to nearby farms for animal feed).
The Pimped Out Bloody Mary at Big Bar in Los Feliz is so good, it recently took home best traditional bloody mary in an LA bloody mary throwdown. While the drink’s main mix is a 14-ingredient secret, what we do know is that there’s also fresh lemon juice and Plymouth gin in there.
Redbird bar director Tobin Shea created a bloody mary that matches the elegance of the restaurant’s historic space. Don’t be taken back by the clear color of her Modern Mary. It features clarified tomato, clarified lemon, white balsamic, fennel, basil, and chili vodka. Perfect pairings include, but aren’t limited to, the prime burger and the fried chicken sandwich.
The renovated Beverly Center is home to a handful of new restaurants like Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. The Chicken and Waffles won’t be great pre-swimsuit shopping, but they do go well with the house bloody mary made with premium vodka and Sacramento tomato juice, finished with Louisiana hot sauce, cilantro, and a bacon garnish.
Connie & Ted’s
Everything (minus the ketchup) at this seafood spot is made from scratch, and that extends to the produce-packed bar program. While most vodka blends into whatever it’s mixed with, the one that goes into their bloody mary is infused in-house with celery and bay leaf.
You get to choose your own bloody mary adventure at Rossoblu, chef Steve Samson’s expansive Bologna-inspired restaurant in the Arts District. Start with your pick of vodka, gin, tequila, or mezcal.. The deeply savory cocktail, served during weekend brunch, is made up of spiced, clarified tomato water with beef and chicken broth by bar director Brynn Smith.
Downtown dive La Cita kills the bloody mary game with its weekly wonder: Sunday Bloody Sunday. Go for the patio’s build-your-own-bloody mary bar, stay for the michelada station.