Adorned with a single olive or stuffed with enough garnishes to serve as a ski-bum snack bar, the Bloody Mary has long been a ski-resort après staple.
It is a drink from the golden era of cocktails—and, coincidentally, the golden era of skiing—which means it pairs well with wood-paneled lounges and retro ski posters. Lauded as a hair-of-the-dog tonic, it’s a perfect mid-morning cocktail for those who’ve apre’d too hard the night prior. And its salty bite makes the Bloody Mary ideal for easing into après after working up a sweat on the slopes.
Known as a “Bucket of Blood” in its original incarnation (vodka and canned tomato juice) when it debuted in Paris in the 1920s, the drink truly belongs to the St. Regis Hotel in New York, which imported it from Paris following the repeal of Prohibition. There, it’s known still as the Red Snapper; the hotel’s ski-resort sister properties, at Deer Valley, Aspen and elsewhere, make perhaps the most famed après-ski iterations of the drink.
Sometime in the following decade, the drink picked up its current name in honor of the Protestant-persecuting Queen Mary I of England. Incidentally, skiers north of the border can order a Bloody Caesar; this cocktail, named after another ruthless ruler, uses clamato juice rather than tomato.
Although the Vails and Tahoes of the ski world tend to embellish the drink—housemade candied bacon garnish, anyone?—the ski areas of the Inland Northwest tend to stick to the basics: vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce. It’s a no-frills approach that suits our style of après-ski entertainment just fine.
Taps Lounge, Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s signature apres ski spot, is best known for its namesake two-dozen brews on rotation. But guests at this raucous ski-in bar can also order a fine Bloody Mary, the spice of which might just provide the kick to get you out on the dancefloor. Taps opens at 11 a.m. in case you were wondering.
Foggy Bottom’s raucous bar area prepares a traditional take on the Bloody Mary. Served in a cool Mason jar, the spicy celery-laced taste of the veggie-heavy drink is a pick-me-up for parents taking a break from herding their children to ski lessons, and a nice refresher while taking in the night-skiing nightlife.
49 DEGREES NORTH
The Bloody Mary whipped up by the Boomtown Lounge is the Carmen Miranda of bar drinks, stuffed with celery, pimento olives, and pepperoncinis—although skewered through with enough cocktail swords to start your own English revolution. But it’s a well-balanced and filling drink, best enjoyed in an Adirondack chair on the deck—unless you’re still avoiding the harsh light of day. Upgrade to a bacon Bloody Mary. It’s worth it.
Mogul’s Lounge in the Mountain House lodge also serves up a bacon Bloody Mary, with more emphasis on the protein than the veggies. The smoky taste balances the snap of vodka and makes for a low-carb lunch.
The Loft Pub, on the upper floor of the second-oldest lodge in the Northwest, serves its Bloody Mary appropriately no frills: just a single pepperoncino floats atop the bright-red concoction. The liberally-applied seasoning salt complements the tang of tomato—and provides a welcome dose of end-of-the-day electrolytes. //
Aaron Theisen is author of the forthcoming book Day Hiking Glacier National Park and Western Montana (Mountaineers Books). He wrote about Kimberley Alpine Resort for the January/February issue.
Feature photo: Bloody Mary at Mt. Spokane. // Aaron Theisen
Prefer beer? Read Earn Your beers on the Slope to find the best bars and lounges at local resorts.