I have always been partial to a Bloody Mary, partly because of its most excellent components (tomato juice, horseradish, Tabasco), and partly because it's entirely acceptable at any time of day, thereby sanctioning the consumption of alcohol at breakfast if so desired. Fortunately, many others share this view, and one such - Simon Burgess - has brought a range of Bloody Mary-themed events and pop-ups to Manchester (and not before time, in my opinion - no idea why no-one has thought to do this before).
A couple of weeks ago I got to attend the dry run (an inappropriate name if ever there was) of Simon's new baby: twenty or so of Manchester's food bloggers drinking their way through the full range of Your Buddy Mary's tomato-based repertoire. Simon's plan is to offer three different options, all of which I wish to do immediately:
1. #TheBuddyClub. This is the pop-up version, a 90-minute session coming soon to bars near you in Manchester and London - the first is a Halloween special at The Liquor Store on Sunday 30th October. Here you'll first be served up a selection of Taster Marys - we got to try loads of these and they were all excellent, especially the Red Snapper (properly blow-your-head-off levels of heat) and the tequila-based Bloody Maria - before the 'Club Mary' takes care of any hangover hungers. Finally, you'll get to make your own little bottle of #MyBuddyMary to take away - I loved this part of the press event, and went faintly feral in my application of spices, horseradish, Jalapeno Stoli and pickle juice in the creation of my own masterpiece. These events strike me as good value at £20, particularly as most Manchester bars/restaurants will relieve you of the best part of a tenner for just one Bloody Mary.
2. #BuddysBoozyBargeBonanza. Whilst the idea of combining booze, people and large stretches of water may seem a foolhardy one, I'm a big fan of a booze barge, and I think this one looks really good - little wonder, really, as Simon is a paid-up member of The Liquorists, who certainly know how to pack a boat with genial folk and ply them with alcohol. The 3-hour round trip goes from Castlefield to Media City, accompanied by live acoustic music, an arrival Mimosa and midday beer, a selection of Bloody Marys and - best of all - a #TheresSomethingAboutMary. I actually emitted an undignified cry of joy when this arrived at the press launch - an outstanding, Cajun-spiced, Bloody Mary sporting what I consider to be a superlative array of garnishes. As with the other events, you also get to make your own drink to take home, so you may wish to consult the pictures below to see what perfection you are aspiring to. At an introductory price of £35 this is crazy value, and I am very much hoping to be aboard the next barge on Sunday 3rd December.
3. #YourOfficeBuddy. The idea behind this one is pleasing: if you're hungover at work, Your Buddy Mary will pitch up and make everyone a Bloody Mary as well as one to take home, thereby restoring harmony in the workplace. I fear that a college staffroom will never be eligible for such a service, but it's a nice thought.
Further details and event tickets are available on Your Buddy Mary's website. The press event was a free event but for feedback only with no pressure to review - Simon's enthusiasm and knowledge is a fine thing though, and I shall be going to more events as a paying customer (if only for the prospect of shouting ALL ABOARD THE BLOODY MARY BARGE! for a couple of hours).