KetelOne Bloody Mary Trail

well used chequebook

Ketel One Citroen and Square Meal set the month of May as the month to find the best bloody mary in London. I got a little cheque book in the mail which entitled me to two free bloody mary’s at 10 bars around Shoreditch/Old Street. The criteria was pretty easy, rate them on  the cocktail and also on the experience.

Gt Eastern Dining Room White Bloody Mary

I’ve never really thought much of bloody mary’s, somebody asked me if it wasn’t a drink you had after the night before. Which is pretty much what I always thought but I was game. My willing volunteer, Eatlikeagirl, tagged along for some of my bloody mary adventure.

3 of the bars didn’t even try! I mean come on, pouring a tomatoey conconction over ice and throwing in a slug of vodka is not going to get you the crown of best bloody mary. Special odious condemnation goes to The Chill Bar in Brick Lane. Sticky concrete floors, dank smell of spilled beer, bright lights and bored staff did not make for a welcoming experience. And terrible bloody marys, full of pepper pieces, it’s only saving “grace”, it was strong.

Pinchito's 'mary

Let’s put that horrible experience behind us and get on to my top 3. Many of the bars also served a little snack to go along with drink and some but not all my faves served food with it. Spot number 3 goes to Pinchito Tapas near Old St. What I liked about their ‘mary was they kept true to their Spanish roots and added a shot of sherry along with the more exotic tapa of pineapple blue cheese jelly served alongside it. Talk about an umami explosion! Whew! That was some good stuff.Cool venue, too.

No. 2 goes to the Rivington Grill. A light and tasty concoction, full of horseradish but a good citrus balance. It was surprisingly light bodied but still packed a punch. Extra points for actually serving it with a stalk of celery. And a great big slab of welsh rarebit. I liked the atmosphere at the Rivington too, great music.

Rivington's offering

No.1 for me had to be at The Redchurch near Brick Lane. Andrew, the bartender there, walked us through how he prepared his bloody mary and the way they “roll” over there at the ‘church. Andrew says that the key to a perfect bloody mary is rolling it. Check out the vid to see how he does it. I liked all the fresh ingredients used, crushed cucumber, plenty of worcestershire sauce, tabasco, celery salt, fresh lemon juice, horseradish, and more. It was served straight up and was a delicious combination of flavours, not heavy but light with a good spicy kick  to it.  The venue was fab too, kind of a cross between a baroque bar and your local. As an added bonus,  we were served a side of peanuts to go with the ‘marys.

Honorable mention has to go to the Hawksmoor bloody mary. It was good but like so much from there, it was way too filling. Could have been the pork cracklings served alongside the ‘mary….mmmmm….

Hawksmoor's 'mary and crackling

A big thanks to Square Meal and Ketel One Citroen. And the next time you need a bloody mary, not saying you ever would but….you’ve got a choice of 3 great Bloody Marys’ all within walking distance of each other. So head on over to The Redchurch, The Rivington Grill or Pinchito Tapas to help you get over the night before.

Ketel One Citroen


  1. Great post Denise! Am always on the look-out for a good bloody mary and more often than not find the profferings of London’s establishments falling short of flavour. The Pinchito one with sherry sounds delicious but the Redchurch looks like a true bloody mary aficionado’s kinda place 😉

    • Yes, like a good club sandwich sometimes you have to make your own! Happily, there are at least 3 great places to go for bloody mary’s in East London. Whatever you do, don’t go to Luxe or the other dishonorable mention, Hoxton Grill – booooooooring….at Hoxton Grill, we didn’t even bother to finish them, they were that uninteresting. I coulda had a V-8! 😉


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