It's not the most popular beverage, and the average complaint is that it's just too filling and "tomatoey". But say what you will, a good

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Seattle's Top 5 Places for a Bloody Mary

It's not the most popular beverage, and the average complaint is that it's just too filling and "tomatoey". But say what you will, a good Bloody Mary can have healing powers after a late night at the bar or a tough morning at the office. And if you play your cards right and ask for extra pickled veggies, it's a cheap meal.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Bloody Mary is that the experts have not given up on this classic, underappreciated beverage. To wit, there are bartenders around town adding high proof spirits, fresh grown herbs, exotic spices, and house-infused vodkas to their BMs. And after a weeks-long Bloody Mary-a-thon, we present you with our Top 5 picks.

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The Ballard Mary at Hattie's Hat
5. Hattie's Hat (left)

5231 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-0175.

This is exactly what you think of when you crave a traditional Bloody Mary. Hattie's version is hearty, balanced, refreshing and comes garnished with a small vegetable garden, perfect for an everyday hangover. The Ballard Mary is made with aquavit and Campbell's soup instead of tomato juice. And you really can't beat the $6.50 price tag. It's big and cheap and has been enjoyed by locals since the beginning of time.

4. Fresh Bistro, 4725 42nd Ave. S.W., 935-3733.

This was a last minute addition to the Bloody Mary-a-thon after hearing the Fresh Bistro version comes with a kimchi-spiced rim and a pickled green apple garnish. The cocktail itself is made with Thai chili-infused vodka, a little lime juice, and a splash of Triple Sec. It's a very masculine drink, bold in flavor. It lacks the finesse of the Mary at TASTE (see next entry), but sometimes you just need to be kicked in the balls first thing in the morning.

3. TASTE, 1300 First Ave., 9.03-5291.

TASTE at the Seattle Art Museum has three different Bloody Marys on its menu. All were taste-tested, but the one that stood out in a crazy good way was the Green Fairy Mary, which is a combination of Lucid absinthe, Pearl vodka, scratch Bloody Mary mix, and tomato juice. It's reminiscent of a Good & Plenty with a pickled carrot garnish. The $9 price tag is a little steep considering the drink's size and the fact that you probably had to pay to park in the garage. But if you ask real nice, the fine folks at SAM will validate a buck or two after your bar stay.

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Lola's mystery Mary
2. Lola (right), 2000 4th Ave., 441-1430.

We really wish we could tell you what made this Bloody Mary so special, but the bartender wouldn't say bupkis about the ingredients, other than "everything is fresh." Tell us something we didn't immediately guess after our first sip! The menu gives away the house-made jalapeno-infused vodka, but other than that, you'll have to try and guess the secret recipe yourself. (And then tell us immediately.)

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Matt's In the Market
1. Matt's in the Market (left),

94 Pike St., 467-7909.

At Matt's, we were blown away--not just by the Bloody Mary, but by the hospitality of the bartender. Robbie McGrath is more than happy to talk about his days in the Midwest where he swears fisherman carry Miller High Life in their coolers more often than the catch-of-the-day. He'll tell you this story while continuously filling your beer back (or 'snit' as he calls it). Robbie's Bloody Marys are made-to-order, using aquavit, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and Sacramento tomato juice from DeLaurenti. The pickled green bean garnish is crispier than any other you'll find, purchased by the jar-full from Pike Place Market.

 
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