Tonight's drink is going to be the Bloody Mary. I'm going to my friend Missy's surprise birthday party in Hollywood, and although it is normally a breakfast (and hangover) cocktail, I thought I'd give the classic tomato juice mixture a try. I reach the restaurant with enough time to hit the bar before Missy arrives, and I order my first one. Strangely the bartender asks, "With salt?" and I pause. They all come with salt - and pepper, and celery salt. So, a bit confused, I say yes.
Drink #1: *cough cough* The bartender - although cute - made this Bloody Mary way too spicy. Lay off the Tabasco, my man! He should've asked "How spicy?" Additionally the salt request was putting salt on the rim. A third look and I realize he's forgotten the celery stalk! Bad bartender! Bad!
Sweepea is not too happy a camper at this point. But I'm halfway back to my seat and deep into a throng of party people, so I attempt to weather out this Bloody Mary instead of fighting the crowd again. I sit with my friends and we chat as we wait for Missy's grand entrance. A quick poll of the table confirms my confusion over putting salt on the rim of a Bloody Mary. No one's ever seen it served this way before. Maybe it's this place's version of the cocktail, we rationalize. It's actually quite good with the salted rim...but then again I could eat a whole salt lick by myself.
Missy has yet to show so I order another. This time it's with a waiter, so I tell him, "Not too spicy and no salt on the rim" just to be sure.
Drink #2: The waiter arrives with what looks like a Strawberry Daiquiri. He sets it in front of me and I'm perplexed, but the waiter confirms that it's my drink. Have I morphed into the Bizarro World of Bloody Marys? This time the bartender has decided to blend the Bloody Mary. I'm speechless. I have never had salt on the rim of a Bloody Mary, and I was finally getting used to that. Now this guy has provided me with a whole other Cocktail Enigma to decipher. I take a sip and it's not that bad. Weird that it's like a tomato shake, but nonetheless... So there's no salt on the rim, but it's still too spicy.
Where the hell is Missy? Looks like she's going to be a while longer, and now I've got brain freeze. I break through the pain and push on. It's for Science, people! And drunks everywhere! Oh good, here comes the waiter. I can't believe how specific I have to be with him now. I've never been this picky when ordering a cocktail. "Bloody Mary, no salt, on the rocks, not too spicy, with a celery stalk."
Drink #3: I'm convinced that this bartender is a revolutionary in the world of Bloody Mary's. This time the waiter arrives with a Bloody Mary, blended, in a huge oversized novelty glass, and it's not only garnished with a celery stalk, but a pepperoncini. This is like the Kandinsky of Bloody Mary's...it's brilliant, yet baffling. Unless the bartender is just fucking with me. Oh well...onward and upward!
Finally Missy arrives. We all shout "Surprise!" and a few people look at me as I cheer a bit after the applause subsides. I don't care because I got a pepperoncini with my drink. Did any of them get a pepperoncini with their drink? Hell, it's just fun to say pepperoncini. Pepperoncini. The food arrives and we all get up to stand in line for the buffet. I take my drink and ask every person in line if they've ever heard of a Bloody Mary with salt on the rim? Or blended? Or served with a pepperoncini? At this point it's now really difficult to say pepperoncini.
Drink #4: One of my friends has ordered another round for us, so by the time I get back to the table a brand spankin' new Bloody Mary is waiting for me. It's in a normal glass this time with a celery stalk, on the rocks. I'm a little disappointed. All creativity has been drained from this cocktail. Now it looks so boring. But it's still a cocktail, right?
Next thing I know my friend is driving me home and I'm elucidating my newfound appreciation of the Bloody Mary the whole way home. What else could make this mixture distinctive? Many have substituted vodka with various alcohols, making it into a Bloody Maria, or a Danish Mary, etc. But how many have thought of adding an awesome element like the inspired pepperoncini? So much can be done with a Bloody Mary, and we have yet to explore it's true potential. Pepperoncini.
Final total: 4 drinks of varying invention - and alcohol content.
Major after effects: Wild ideas of genius and assorted philosophies behind the power of the Bloody Mary (and the bartender), yet simultaneously drinking an exceptional portion of vitamins and P3 for the week...and not a smidgen of a hangover the next morning. Yee-ha.