Tahoe Bloody Mary Competition | Aug. 13 | 12-5 p.m. | Beach Retreat & Lodge, South Lake Tahoe
There’s something about a Bloody Mary that complements outdoor activities in Tahoe, whether you’re looking to consume one before or after a day at the beach or after hiking, biking, golfing or simply trying to cure a hangover. Here are my picks for some of the best Bloodys in Tahoe.
Beach Retreat & Lodge’s Tiki Bar
The Tiki Bar on the sandy shores of South Lake Tahoe claimed the second-place prize in both the People’s Choice and the Judge’s Choice in last year’s Tahoe Blue Vodka Bloody Mary Competition (this year’s event is on Aug. 13). The Tiki Bar makes a lot of them.
Many people book their Tahoe vacation at Beach Retreat & Lodge just to go to the Tiki Bar. And I believe it because its drinks are amazing. The Bloody Mary mix is made with a hint of jalapeño and combined with Tahoe Blue vodka, served with orchids on top and chili salt on the rim.
“Our Bloody Mary is all about simplicity and focus on the detail,” says Tiki Bar manager Dreu Murin.
The Tiki Bar serves about 50 to 60 Bloody Marys a day, but it’s the Sneaky Tiki signature drink that it sells the most — 2,000 to 3,000 a year. | tahoebeachretreat.com
Whiskey Dick’s Saloon
Walking into Whiskey Dick’s on the South Shore on a late Thursday afternoon with Tom Petty playing on the speakers, I noticed a few people saddled up on the stools, drinking Pabst and watching sports on flatscreen TVs. Whiskey Dick’s won the Judge’s Choice Award last year at the Bloody Mary competition. So, I tried one of the saloon’s Bloodys and the first word that came to mind was “refreshing.” It’s not as heavy or spicy as the others I’ve had, which makes a Bloody Mary aficionado like me want more. I did catch a glimpse of their secret recipe and know what sets it apart, but you’ll have to go in and ask about it yourself. | Whiskey Dick’s Tahoe on Facebook
Buckaroos Saloon in Gardnerville, Nev., clinched the People’s Choice Award in last year’s Tahoe Bloody Mary Competition. Even the other participating bartenders told me that if I was writing about Tahoe’s best Bloody Marys, I had to include Buckaroos. In the nine years the bar has competed in the competition, owner Chris Reiner and his team have won 22 trophies.
“We make a different Bloody Mary every year. We do extravagant ones some years, experiment with different flavor profiles,” Reiner says.
The Bloody Mary competition also inspired Reiner to create the Battle Born Bloody Company and its mixes are used at Lake Tahoe AleWorX in South Lake Tahoe and Stateline, Nev.
“We put lots of garnishes on the people’s tasters and this year our recipe is going to be geared toward breakfast,” says Reiner. “We’ve had a lot of success with our Bloody Marys over the years and we enjoy it. We look forward to it. And I think this is going to be our best one yet.” | Buckaroos Saloon on Facebook
Tahoe Donner two ways
These venues at Tahoe Donner offer Bloody Marys in different ways — one in summer at The Lodge Restaurant & Pub and one in winter at the Ski Grill + Bar were equally delicious. The one I had at the downhill ski area’s bar on a cold snowy day was thick and warmed me right up, while the one I had at the golf course was more thirst quenching and made it easier to swing a club afterwards. | tahoedonner.com