Easy on the eyes, but an enigmatic adventure for the tongue. This “meal in a glass” is a royal masterpiece!

The Bloody Mary Cocktail

Made with HAN Vodka and Café 21’s House Bloody Mary mix, Bloody Mary kills like her namesake! I take my first sip and KAPOW, she hits my taste buds with a punch so fierce, I request the drink be cut with a just a little more tomato juice. Between sips of the 16oz cocktail, you can calm your taste buds with the hearty garnish. The garnish is not the traditional celery stalk or dill pickle spear you’d expect in a Bloody Mary, but a delectable slice of grilled prosciutto, a pickled vegetable skewer featuring: a cocktail onion, a cherry pepper, a green olive, a peperoncini and, of course, slices of lemon and lime.

Who was Bloody Mary?

Queen Mary I of England, the only child born of the ill-fated marriage of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who survived to adulthood, is who we know as Bloody Mary. Her parent’s marriage was annulled, leaving her status as heir to the throne in question. Like any spoiled-rotten princess, she was overcome with rage against her father and believed that if he obeyed the rules of the Roman Catholic Church, her status would not have been disputable. Things worked themselves out, sort of; her dad died but not before clarifying her birthright in the line of succession. You would think she would have been grateful and relieved of any ought against her father; sadly she was not. To make a long and detailed story, short; her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded her father but later became mortally ill and attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession, due to religious differences; he failed. By some twisted turn of events her cousin, Lady Jane Grey, took the throne once Edward had succumbed to his ailments. Needless to say, Mary was not a happy camper and ultimately had Jane beheaded at the acquiesce of the Spaniards, who bartered Mary’s marriage to their king, Philip II of Spain; dubbing her queen consort of Habsburg Spain, upon his accession in 1556. After executing Jane, her rage against her father spiraled downhill into a reign of terror and she was killing everyone (Protestant Leaders, mostly.) First was John Rogers (a.k.a. “Thomas Matthews”), the printer of the “Matthew-Tyndale Bible.” Next, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, and several hundred people after him. Her brutal persecution of Protestants caused her opponents to give her the sobriquet “Bloody Mary.” Mary died at the age of 42 in St. James’s Palace during a flu outbreak. It is believed she suffered a great deal, possibly from uterine cancer or ovarian cysts, I don’t think anyone knows for certain, ironic; nonetheless, don’t you think?

Take your chances with the fiery legend

Despite Queen Mary’s death on 17 November 1558, her legacy and reign of terror lives on in a hair of the dog drink dubbed “Bloody Mary.” There are several stories circling the wagon about how this cocktail received its name but I think this one best describes the experience when drinking Café 21’s Bloody Mary cocktail. Like Queen Mary I of England, Café 21’s Bloody Mary cocktail is a force to be reckoned with. During Mary’s five year reign, she beheaded her cousin and burned hundreds of religious dissenters at the stake. From the first sip til completion, this drink reigned down delicious terror on my tongue, but terror nonetheless, boy is it spicy! I am not sure if Café 21 knows the history of Queen Mary I of England, or how this drink relates to her, but I am positive they understand how to make a Bloody Mary that will have any enthusiast begging for mercy.

About Café 21

Café 21 first opened in the University Heights area of San Diego, California in 2007; at 2121 Adams Avenue and was appropriately named Café 2121. Later that year the restaurant moved a few blocks up the road and shortened its named, becoming Café 21. The owners, a married couple, Alex and Leyla are from Baku, Azerbaijan. After moving to San Diego, the idea of opening a restaurant was born when Leyla baked a plate of baklava for their friend who owned a restaurant. Though she had only baked as a hobby, prior, Leyla soon found herself baking for the restaurant and their business began. Finding success, they opened the University Heights’ location and have since expanded to a second location in the Gaslamp Quarters, located in the heart of Downtown San Diego, on 5th Avenue.

Café 21’s savory, homemade dishes and drinks (including their fruit infused vodkas) are made with fresh, organic produce from local California farms. Whether you want a fiery Bloody Mary cocktail or a hearty brunch, you can count on their satisfying menu variety to give your taste buds an enigmatic adventure through Mother Natures’ goodness.


Café 21 (Gaslamp Quarters)
750 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 795-0721
Cafe 21 on Urbanspoon

Café 21 (University Heights / North Park)
2736 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 640-2121
Cafe 21 on Urbanspoon

Bloody Mary, Mass-murderer at Café 21

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About The Author
- I am Quincy, but you can call me Cue. I love food, and sharing my culinary experiences with you. Feel free to engaged with me over some good foodie conversation.