Move over mimosas. Sorry about it Irish coffees. The best brunch beverage of all time is the Bloody Mary — and the return of a much-missed festival devoted to the perpetually popular cocktail is here to prove it.
I was fortunate enough to judge the inaugural Bloody Mary Fest when it debuted at Shangri-La on Easter Sunday in 2014. Although Austin drinkers awaited patiently for its return, year after year went by with nary a word. Now, the organizers are bringing it back on April 21 with a stellar lineup and a roomy new location in Scholz Garten.
"The original Bloody Mary Fest is back and ready to continue the magic that makes weekends in Austin so beautiful," fest co-founder Miletus Callahan-Barile tells CultureMap. "Tasty bevs, good food, and chill tunes to create the ultimate atmosphere for celebration!"
And that celebration includes some of the hottest names in Austin bars and restaurants including Frank, Scholz, The Grackle, Contigo, Jon Chapman’s Clubhouse Happy Hour, The Cavalier, Geraldine's, Shangri-La, Full Circle, and a collaboration between food festival Hot Luck and Cisco’s restaurant. The first fest’s winners were Swift’s Attic for Judges' Choice and Frank as People’s Choice.
Competitors bring their own Bloody Mary mixes, garnishes, and showmanship to be judged by a panel of local personalities and experts. The coveted top prize — the Cocktail Cup — is bestowed by attendees who cast their votes by token after trying each of the creative concoctions.
In addition to competing, Frank will serving a special brunch menu to help absorb all those drinks. DJ Johnny Hottub will again be on hand to fill the space with good vibes.