On a mission to find Milwaukee's Best Bloody Mary

You say tomato, I say Bloody Mary.

Steny’s | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Steny’s, on the corner of 2nd and National, is one of the spots I’ve been wanting to try for a long time.  Whenever I read a “Best of” lists, it’s always listed.  Friends have been recommending it to me for years.  They claim to be the #1 Bloody in Milwaukee, I’ve been curious if it would live up to the hype.  So, alas, we finally went.

After I ordered, the bartender pulled a pre-made bloody mary out of a cooler, covered by saran wrap.  The straw was even in the glass already, the tip of the paper wrap was still there for sanitation purposes.  I thought it was really interesting.  Clearly, Steny’s has made their fair share of Bloody Marys.  Do they really make that many in a day where they feel the need to pre-make them?


Mix: The place opened in 1985, and it’s said they have never changed their recipe.  The bartender was tight-lipped on what’s in it, and I wasn’t in the mood for pressing him.  However, I found a tip online that said they use Clamato juice, instead of tomato, for a lighter taste.  Good marketing, Mr. + Mrs. Steny.  The lighter the bloody mary, the more customers can consume.  The mix certainly had a lighter feel than that of one at a Lowlands location.  Clamato juice is made from tomatoes, onions, celery, clam juice and other spices (the clam juice is undetectable).  Personally, I thought the mix was very good.  It was a little spicy but didn’t kick too much.  The flavor was great & I would have had two if time allowed.

Garnish:  Steny’s isn’t messing around.  They garnish their famous drinks with one olive, one pickle spear and a rim of celery salt.  Part of me love the over-the-top garnishes (they’re just so fun!) but, at the same time, knowing the history of Steny’s, they’re like “we’re not f-ing around, Milwaukee”.  They focus on the mix and that’s that.

Chaser:  Yes, a small garnish was included.  I got my choice and went with High Life.

Buzz:  No buzz from one Bloody Mary, even on an empty stomach and quickly slurping it down.  Perhaps I would have caught one on #2.  See what I was talking about with marketing?

Size: A bit smaller than most, 12 ounce mug

Cost: You guys… $4.  Four.  Normally $5, but served at $4 Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM to 6PM.  That price can’t be beat.

Bottom line: Steny’s isn’t messing around.  With the recipe not changing since 1985, they know what they’re doing.  Although they’ve won a ton of contests for best in the city, I encourage you to try it for yourself.  I liked it a lot and will certainly go back.  I do have other favorites though.  Sorry Sten-man.

Certainly, one thing I’ve learned from this quest is that every bartender, at every establishment, makes things differently.  Just last week, someone reached out to me stating a recently reviewed bar (who was rated pretty well) was far from the recipe I spoke of.  By premixing all bloody marys, Steny’s really has consistency down.  No matter who makes it, you’ll always get the same drink.  For this, I’m a fan.

One comment on “Steny’s | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  1. Pingback: The Beefy Bloody Mary | MOTOR – Harley Davidson Museum | On a mission to find Milwaukee's Best Bloody Mary

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This entry was posted on December 14, 2013 by in Bloody Marys in the area and tagged , , .
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