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BEST BLOODY MARY Minneapolis 1998 -

After testing the red waters, we came to a conclusion: No matter how you cut it--with pickles, hot peppers, chili sauce, garlic powder, hoisin sauce, olives, or oranges--a bloody Mary is, in essence, simply booze and tomato guts. If it's thick, you get a few vitamins to help your hangover. If it's thin, the hair of the dog will heal you. At the Uptown, you get what you ordered: a couple shots of Kamchatka--poured out of a plastic bottle, of course--and a premixed concoction shot out of the gun usually reserved for pop. Nothing fancy. The thing is, it tastes damned good, especially on a Sunday morning as the sun pours in on the Uptown's dusty floor and your body forgives you for Saturday's transgressions. The reasonably sized beer chaser, usually a cheap domestic, doesn't hurt, either. (A 16-ounce collector's glass Bloody Mary costs $3.95 with $2.50 refills; the regular 12-ounce pour costs $2.80.) Our waitress summed it up perfectly: "It's not what's in our drink that counts, it's the loving way we serve it to you."

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