The bloody mary is perhaps the cocktail world’s most popular, and populist, kitchen sink of a drink. Anyone can make one, and you can add as many (or as few) ingredients as you wish. Portland’s surplus of breakfast cafes and brunch spots support a thriving bloody mary scene, and sometimes, thanks to our city’s aggressive picklers, they’re so packed with garnishes that a separate food order feels superfluous. Just about every bar in town has its own version of a bloody mary, from neighborhood dives to high-end dens of craft cocktails. Below, we explore a wide range of them, spanning the city’s brunch cafes, bars, and restaurants. For more brunch options, this map may help; for bars, start here.Read More
10 Beautifully Balanced Bloody Marys in Portland
Where to find super traditional, celery-garnished versions, as well as more inventive options
Known as a neighborhood favorite for a pet- and kid-friendly brunch, the Tin Shed offers a wide variety of house-infused vodkas, including bacon, cucumber, hot pepper, and pickle. The pickle-infused vodka balances beautifully with the house bloody mix, providing a nice counterbalance to the acidity of the tomato. For heat seekers, the “hot pepper” vodka is aptly named.
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This Prescott cocktail bar offers an inventive take on a bloody mary — though some purists may consider it too far from the source material. Cereus starts with a produce-heavy base, incorporating tomato juice, carrot juice, bell peppers, and roasted garlic. For its noteworthy funk and heat, bartenders use a combination of Chinese hot mustard, white miso, kimchi, fresh tomatillo, and togarashi spices. The outcome is a distinctly beautiful, well balanced, delicate bloody. Visitors can choose from a range of spirits, like vodka, tequila, and gin — here, it’s best to stick to the classic vodka.
A Portland brunch staple with multiple locations in Portland and Hood River, Broder continues to serve a tasty aquavit bloody mary for a touch of Nordic flair. Broder pairs its spicy house bloody mix with a dill aquavit, which is distilled with fresh dill, caraway seed, and juniper berry. The aquavit adds a brightness and bracing botanical note to the Bloody, which keeps the tomato from overpowering the drink. It arrives with a skewer of house-pickled vegetables and salt rim. If you head to Broder Soder, look for ‘Broder’s Aquavit Mary’; Broder Cafe and Broder Nord serve the ‘Danish Mary’ with the option of dill aquavit or vodka.
It’s not listed on their (online) menu, but Irvington’s vegan (and often raw) restaurant makes one mean bloody. If you like them thick and chewy, you’ll like this one, thanks in large part to some coarsely chopped garlic in the mix. It also comes across as a sort of drinkable vegan chili — yes, what you’re tasting there are liberal doses of both cumin and freshly pressed cilantro juice. If you are a fan of beets, the house beet infused vodka bloody is also an option.
Owner Vanessa Preston says Cafe Nell’s Mary Nell is probably the most photographed bloody in town. Spiked and skewered with celery, discs of Olympia Provisions chorizo, Tillamook cheddar cheese cubes, pepperoncini, and cocktail olives and onions, it’s certainly one of the most salad-y. What’s in the mix, though, remains a mystery: The recipe’s so closely guarded that the bar manager mixes up a batch only after the cafe’s doors get locked for the night.
This sprawling, 200-seat downtown Portland institution continues to serve high quality comfort food in a charmingly ornate space. Mother’s also offers a fantastic bloody mary, reliant on a house-infused jalapeno and pepper vodka and a “secret bloody concoction” that’s hard to pin down. It provides a rich tomato flavor with a nice balance of citrus and pepper.
Once a food cart in the 1940s, the Leaky Roof opened its current location way back in 1947 and continues to live on as a local stalwart. It offers a nice environment for a cozy brunch within its dark wood dining room. The Leaky Roof adds its own twist on the bloody by adding a Guinness float, which helps balance the acidity of the tomato without watering it down. The malty notes of the beer play off the Worcestershire sauce in the bloody mix, as well.
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Bought by Jam on Hawthorne’s owners in 2017, Cricket Cafe has retained its old school vibe on Belmont, serving hash-like “skillets” and breakfast burritos alongside a fleet of bloody marys. For a low-key atmosphere, Sunnyside’s corner breakfast cafe offers a close to half-dozen bloody marys. The traditional Bloody Gary is a local standby, but smoky chipotle, spicy habanero, and tequila versions are also available.
Known for its large outdoor patio and indoor pinball machines, this cyber-themed dive bar offers a wide variety of somewhat customizable bloody marys all day. Visitors choose from a lineup of Tito’s house-infused vodkas — including cucumber-dill, rosemary, basil, horseradish, reaper, and habanero, among others — to blend with the house bloody mix. Garnishes hew relatively traditional, with briny and pickle-y things like pepperoncini and olives.
This Division breakfast cafe serves a whopping 15 bloody marys, ranging in spice from simple black pepper, jalapeno, horseradish and Scotch bonnet all the way up to the throbbing, Scoville-chart-topping Scorpion Bloody. For the latter, the mix is stirred with vodka infused with Trinidad Moruga scorpion peppers, while the garnish comes with pepperoncinis and peppadews — note that a real scorpion is no longer included.