bloody mary_2.jpg Gothamist has been on a perpetual quest to find the perfect Bloody Mary for about 3 years now. Perhaps this quest has been created as an excuse to drink before noon, but it seems that in a city with over 2,000 brunch options, finding a good Bloody Mary has resulted in the Goldielocks complex. They have been too spicy, too bland or have enough horseradish in them to choke, well a horse. Recently, Gothamist’s luck has changed – and it’s about bloody time.

Back to back, Gothamist has had two great Bloody Marys that have renewed our love of brunch and has made waking up early on a Sunday morning – dare we say it, a pleasant experience. Clinton Street Baking Company and Blue Ribbon Bakery serve up a Bloody Mary that almost justifies that two-hour wait to get in. While the criteria for a great Bloody Mary varies from person to person – what’s too spicy for some may be just right for others – they key to what makes them so great at these two restaurants is the fresh ingredients and balance of flavors. A great Bloody Mary has layers of spices, not just heat. Fresh horseradish is a must and while some may say the vodka doesn’t matter, we say, you’re probably right but for some reason it just seems to taste better with Ketel One (damn marketing).

Another place worth mentioning is Essex. Sometimes one Bloody Mary just isn’t enough (ok, most times) and this place get bonus points based on quantity. Each brunch option, for only $15, comes with 3 Bloody Marys – so even if the first one wasn’t your favorite, by the third you’ll be kissing the bartender (perhaps that was just us, and perhaps we should have stopped at two).

Our search is certainly not over, and our recent discoveries have just added fuel to the fire. With 1, 492 brunches left to try we understand that more disappointments are bound to happen. But the hope of finding that perfect Bloody Mary – is what gets us up in the morning…before 2pm. Where's your favorite Bloody Mary?