The Best Bloody Mary In New York

The 2nd Annual Bloody Mary Mix Down takes place this weekend in New York. Three Long Island bartenders are among those competing. We caught up with, Nicole Wenz of Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas and Molly Froehling of The Helm as they prepared for the mix-down.

Pulse Insider: When did you start bartending?
Nicole Wenz:
I have been in the service industry since I was 16-years-old and started bartending full-time about 5 years ago. I used to be on the retail side of the industry working as a manager of a liquor store and that got boring so I gave bartending a shot. I love it!

Molly Froehling: I started bartending when I was 21. My mom was the manager of The Helm in Freeport and she thought it would be a good opportunity for me to learn how to bartend. Once she took the bar over and now owns it (as of this year ) she put me on as manager and full-time bartender.

PI: Tell us about the bar menu at Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas
We are a full service bar that specializes in wine! We have more than 50 types of wine available by the glass and more than a 100 available by the bottle. We are trained weekly on our wines so we can provide you with the best service around. Spuntino’s is a tapas style restaurant with more than 60 small plates of amazing food. We also offer happy hour Monday- to Friday from 3 to 7pm and 10pm to close, featuring $5 glasses of wine and select tapas along with $2 bruschetta.

PI: Tell us about the bar menu at The Helm
The Helm is a very simple and local Freeport bar . It is one of the oldest in Freeport .We cater mostly to the regulars and fisherman of the town . We don’t have a menu right now but I’m always coming up with new drinks to try out. We mostly serve beer and simple mixed drinks and shots .

PI: What’s your favorite drink?
My favorite drink happens to be a Bloody Mary ! I always loved trying new ones and have always had an interest in making them myself . If I’m not drinking mixed drinks I usually stick to Coronas.

NW:The Amalfi Coast is by far one of my favorite drinks on our menu especially this time of year. We take Hendricks Gin and blend it with cucumber and St. Germain, fresh lime and thyme. It’s such a refreshing cocktail.

PI: You’re competing at the Bloody Mary Mix-Down. What do you think makes a great Bloody Mary?
To make a great Bloody Mary it’s all about how you build your cocktail and use ingredients that compliment each other. You also cannot forget about the heat. I make my own habenero paste by roasting my peppers and then putting them in the food processor with some other secret ingredients.

MF: I have always taken pride in the fact that every Bloody Mary I make is fresh, I find that really important.. I don’t like to use pre-made mixes or even pre-make my own mix. Every Bloody Mary is made with a fresh can of tomato juice spices. A great Bloody Mary needs to have thickness, lots of horseradish and a good kick to it as well

PI: What do you think of your chances?
I think I have a pretty good chance at this. However I’m doing it more for the experience. I keep my Bloody Mary’s simple but I add a fun presentation that represents my bar in Freeport .

NW: This is my second year in the competition and I believe I can come out number one.

The Bloody Mary Mix-Down is part of the 2015 NYC Hot Sauce Expo, which takes place April 25 and 26 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. Three local bartenders, Nicole Wenz of Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Molly Froehling of The Helm and one more from Honu, who Pulse Insider wasn’t able to reach both press time, are competing. Find more information on the expo at: