Drink of the Month: Bloody Mary

By: Sara Walters

There are lots of bars in La Crosse and surrounding areas that are rumored to have the best Bloody Mary around.

One of the region’s top contenders is Rivers Rats on French Island. On the banks of the Mississippi, River Rats is a local favorite, featuring a full menu and bar as well as a waterfront view.

Their Bloody Mary is served with a pepper and onion-infused vodka (photo) that gives it a little more kick than your standard rail option. It’s got bell peppers of all colors as well as a few jalapenos for fans of a nice, spicy Bloody. Although they wouldn’t divulge their trade secrets, this seems to be a unique step in the process.

For Bloody Mary connoisseurs, it’s all about the add-ons. River Rats’ version comes with a skewer that includes a green olive, a pickled onion, a pickle spear, a beef stick, a mushroom and a hearty chunk of pepperjack cheese. They don’t skimp on the snacks, here.

Sometimes Bloody Marys can be too filling, but that’s not the case at River Rats. Their drink is a little more on the tomatoey side and is quite refreshing. Yes, there is a spicy component, but it’s a true beverage and not a meal replacement. And the snacks are generous, but they’re not overdone. They’ve discovered a balanced equation for their signature drink.

River Rats serves their Bloody Mary in a Mason jar glass with an optional beer chaser. They’ve also got a menu of tasty appetizers to go with it, including some delicious spicy shrimp for those who want to keep with the heat.

Drinking a Bloody Mary at River Rats is also about the atmosphere. Tucked back near the water, it’s a bit of a hidden gem. Plus the patio and unique decor are added bonuses. It’s got great service, to boot. River Rats is located at 1311 La Crescent Place and is open daily.

Sara Walters is a writer, mom and marketing professional. She lives in La Crescent, MN with her husband and two daughters, Caroline and Maggie.