I love brunch. I am a proud cardigan wearing, Volvo driving, stereotypical girl who adores a good weekend spread.
When the waiter comes around you don’t have to twist my arm to get me to order an adult beverage to go with my huevos rancheros.
One of my go-to brunch drinks is a Bloody Mary, and while there is no shortage of good Marys in Santa Barbara, there were some that stood out above the rest in more ways than one.
So, before you head to your next epic brunch outing next weekend, here is a list of my favorite Bloody Marys ranked by category in Santa Barbara and Goleta.
Spice it Up
Best Spice: Outpost, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta
Runner Up: Reds Bin 211, 211 Helena Avenue, Santa Barbara
I searched high and low until my taste buds felt like they might explode from all my tastings around town before I finally settled on the spiciest Bloody Mary in town.
Let’s just say the concoction at Outpost really packs a punch! So much so, I broke into a bit of a sweat before gulping down my last fiery sip.
Mixed with a healthy dose of horseradish and a delicious bacon topping, this breakfast cocktail can’t be beat if you’re looking to sweat out some toxins while sipping away your Sunday morning.
Best Garnish: Reds Bin 211, 211 Helena Avenue, Santa Barbara
Runner Up: Tupelo Junction Cafe, 1218 State St, Santa Barbara
The crab claw and pickled green beans at Tupelo Junction were a lovely touch to a standard Mary, but no one could hold a candle to the tapas-laden Bloody Mary at Reds Bin 211.
Every weekend the toppings are a bit different from the previous sampling, but you can be sure you’ll have more than a handful of snacks resting atop your glass.
From trip-tip sliders to grilled cheese with pickles to giant prawns, one could easily order this for a light brunch and walk away satisfied.
Unlike Any Other
Best Variation: Ty Lounge, 1260 Channel Dr, Santa Barbara
Runner Up: Outpost, 5650 Calle Real, Goleta
I really struggled to choose between Ty Lounge and Outpost for best variation, because it really is a matter of personal preference when it comes to futzing with the perfection of a well-made Bloody Mary.
However, that being said, the off-menu wasabi Bloody Mary from Ty Lounge stole my heart…and my taste buds.
One sip of this smooth Asian-inspired variation on their oceanfront patio and you’ll swear you’re on vacation overseas.
This particular variation isn’t on the menu, but is made to perfection every time. So, be specific with your waiter.
What about Outpost’s variations?
The Bloody Caesar is a delightfully refreshing gin version of the traditional cocktail — listed under the Bloody Mary on the menu.
But if you’re looking to take things to the next level, ask for the off-menu Bloody Maria concocted in a mesquite-smoked glass with reposado tequila, mezcal and infused with cilantro and mustard seed.
Don your Sunday best and brunch on, everyone.
— Tara Jones leads Eat This, Shoot That! and welcomes reader tips and ideas for future columns. She can be reached at [email protected]. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.