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Friday, June 12, 2015

Proud Mary, Keep on Burnin': Premium Bloody Mary Mix Hits SF

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 11:00 AM

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Kelly McVicker of McVicker Pickles and Gillian Fitzgerald of Virgil’s Sea Room have been teaching workshop classes for a couple of years now, and for their Bloody Mary and pickling class, they’ve been tinkering with a mix for a long time.

“We’ve come up with something that’s really accessible,” Fitzgerald told SF Weekly. “It’s not too spicy, and it’s not too briny.”

But they’d never bottled it, until the Plumpjack Group, which already carried McVicker Pickles, ordered 50 jars for their cocktail club. Then McVicker unloaded “20 or 30 jars” at the Maker Faire in San Mateo “halfway through the event.” Suddenly, Proud Mary was born.

“It’s a premium price,” McVicker said. “It retails between $14-$15, because we use fresh-pressed organic tomato juice” along with her pickles, in every 32-ounce jar. “You get like six drinks out of it.”

Aside from Bloody Marys, do they use it for anything else?

“Micheladas,” Fitzgerald said. “I like absinthe, but it might kill you. I’ve made Bloody Marys with absinthe and I’m like ‘These people are crazy.’ But I’ll put absinthe in a spray bottle and spray a frosted pint glass. It’s super good without killing you. Otherwise, mostly just Bloody Marys, Bloody Marias — a Sunday hangover type thing. Or not even a hangover, just a drink!”

For the time being, Proud Mary is available only through Plumpjack and at Oakland cheese shop Sacred Wheel, but while the duo works to get distributed through more fancy grocery stores (and hopefully hawk their concoction wholesale to bars as a premium mix), they’ll be woman-ing a booth at the West Coast Craft at Fort Mason this Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14.

If you miss Proud Mary then, you have another chance to pick some up at Plumpjack's Bloody Mary Pop-Up (3138 Fillmore) on Saturday, June 27. You can also see their beaming visages on Instagram. This is a lot of effort for what is likely to remain only a side project, as both women cheerfully admit.

“We’re both very busy,” Fitzgerald laughed. “I don’t know why we thought this was a good idea."

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.

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