Chubby Mary, and other drinks involving animal flesh

Yesterday morning, the family and I drove up to Leland, Michigan, where, among other things, we sat around watching otters frolicking in the crystal clear water as we sipped big, cold drinks. The photo above is of one such drink. It’s called a Chubby Mary, and it’s the specialty of the house at a place called The Cove. It’s like a regular Bloody Mary, but with a dead fish bobbing around in it, next to the pickle spear and the lemon wedge. I don’t eat a lot of smoked fish, but I really enjoyed it… The reason I mention it tonight, though, is that it got me thinking about how, if I were to open a bar in Ypsi, I’d like to have a signature drink that involved a dead animal in some way. (And, yeah, I’m no longer a vegan.) The best idea I’ve had so far, I think, is for something called a Jive Turkey. It’s a pitcher of Pabst with a smoked turkey leg floating in it.

There were lot of bad ideas too. For several hours yesterday, I was thinking about using pickled opossum tails, either hollowed out as straws, or left whole as swizzle sticks. (Wouldn’t it be cool to see an olive or two impaled on a opossum tail?) I don’t know that I could find a reliable supply of tails, though. But, I suppose they could be reused. I’ve heard of a bar in the Yukon that serves a shot of whisky with the frostbitten toe of prohibition-era rum runner in it. The drink is called a Sourtoe. You just down the shot, swish the toe around in your mouth, and spit it back out, for the next person to use. (The original toe was unfortunately swallowed not too long ago. A replacement was soon acquired, though.)

I’ve also been thinking quite a bit about chicken feet. As it is, even though they’re popular in Asia, they’re pretty much ignored by the American food industry. I’m thinking that I might be able to change that, if I can just come up with the right drink.

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  1. Posted September 11, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Pickle spear??

  2. Eel
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    A better title for this post……. “A drunken Mark Maynard chows down on a chubby in northern Michigan”.

    As for drink ideas, how about stirring all the drinks with a preserved deer hoof or something? Or, what about mixing drinks in a wolverine skull? Didn’t the last Michigan wolverine just die or something?

    And I seem to recall from world history class that many battles have been lost with pickle spears.

  3. Edward
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Strain everything through Pat Elkins’ beard.

  4. K2
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    As a vegan, I would prefer a block of tofu with googly eyes.

    And, speaking of veganism, here’s a neat little infographic.

  5. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    the fish is called a chub, the drink is a chubby mary…

  6. Posted September 12, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry, this is a hoax. Nobody puts a pickle in a Bloody Mary. I think Mark just thought of a pun, and mocked it up in his kitchen.

    Nice infographic!

  7. RFG
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    @K2: I can find no evidence supporting the claim that Alec Baldwin is a vegan. I refuse to believe it!

  8. Elf
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    How about a bloody mary with a big glob of earwax on the rim of the glass?

  9. Meta
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    If we got things going with that nutria colony in Riverside Park, we could start selling nutria beer koozies.

  10. Alice Krum
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Would the vegans out there be happy with a testicle, perhaps, or something that wouldn’t require an animal to be killed? I suspect there are thousands of dog testicles wasted each year. And I image they wouldn’t taste half bad if they were battered and fried.

  11. dirtgrain
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Frog Island Frog?

  12. Mr. X
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink


    McClure’s Pickle company in Brooklyn sells Bloody Mary mix that has pickle brine as one of its main ingredients. You can find out more here:

  13. Posted September 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    This is proof that anyone can put leftovers in a jar and call it “Bloody Mary mix.”

  14. Edward
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ll do you one better, Dirtgrain. How about a breaded smeet patty?

  15. Mr. X
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Time magazine is on it!

    In this meat-happy era, when diners serve bacon doughnuts and every menu item comes with an option of adding chicken, one cannot expect to consume alcohol without killing an animal. Fat-washed cocktails, as drinks with meat-infused liquor are called, are popping up at lots of swanky bars. Sirio Ristorante at Las Vegas’ new Aria hotel, for example, makes a $14 vodka drink called Bring Home the Bacon, which contains beef bouillon and is garnished with a deep-fried bacon-wrapped olive. And a prosciutto-stuffed olive. And a cream-cheese-and-bacon-stuffed olive. If that sounds over the top, consider the hit YouTube video in which two Los Angeles women wince while drinking a McNuggetini, which combines a chocolate shake, vanilla vodka and a bit of barbecue sauce — and has a whole McNugget perched on the rim.

    It’s easy to come up with ghastly combinations, but creating a meat drink that actually tastes good seems like a tough thing to pull off. So I asked Tony Abou-Ganim, who wrote the new book The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails, to invent a meat cocktail with me. He had already created the Big Eye Bloody Bull, an elk-bouillon-based homage to one of the first meat drinks, 1985’s San Francisco — birthed Bloody Bull (vodka, beef bouillon and lemon juice), which itself was based on the Bull Shot (vodka and beef bouillon) from Detroit’s Caucus Club. But I wanted something that was totally new — and didn’t sound so gross.

    We met at 9 a.m, the perfect time to consume both meat and alcohol. The night before, Abou-Ganim had rendered some pancetta, let it cool, diced it and dropped it into some Old Potrero Rye. When I asked why he chose pancetta, he told me that a cocktail should let its base spirit shine and that the meat would bring out the smokiness of the whiskey. “Also,” he said, “bacon makes everything taste better.”

    We threw out the meat, which had been stripped of its flavor, and took a sip of the infused rye. It was a bit salty at first and left a slightly fatty mouthfeel that made the smokiness linger even longer. But overall, it tasted like fire.

    My first idea was to mix the rye with pepper, since the flavors reminded me of spaghetti carbonara. Abou-Ganim smiled at me as if I were an idiot. Making a cocktail, he explained, is a lot like cooking or winemaking: you need balance, particularly when it comes to sweetness and acidity. He figured pineapple was a classic pairing with pig, as was maple syrup. Orange, he thought, would also work, since it softens whiskey. I was very pro-softening.

    We made two cocktails. In the first, Abou-Ganim muddled 15 mint leaves and five slices of pineapple, added 1 oz. (30 mL) of simple syrup and 1.5 oz. (45 mL) of our infused rye and poured it over crushed ice in a short glass. It was surprisingly good: sweet and salty and refreshing and dark at the same time. Since it was a variation on a drink called a smash, I named it the Swine Smash.

    Our second attempt was a sour, which combined Cointreau (a neutral-tasting orange liqueur), lemon juice, maple syrup, egg whites and our rye, shaken over ice and served in a martini glass. The drink was way too sour. But when I poured in a lot more maple syrup and a little seltzer, it tasted much better. Not as good as the first one, and definitely not as meaty, but good enough for me to name it: Breakfast Fizz. I’m not entirely sure when and where someone will wake up and crave a meat-infused drink, but I have a feeling the time is coming, and I’ll be ready.

    Read more:,9171,1977119,00.html#ixzz1Xm59mrrB

  16. Mark
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, bacon is kind of an obvious choice. Bacon and whiskey, I think, would go really well together. I’d like something a little more unique, though. I like the idea of a frog leg, but I’ve heard that the world’s frog population is dying off. Chicken feet, I think, are probably the best bet, as they’re super abundant and pretty much wasted now. (I suspect they’re ground up for dog food.) I just need to figure out the best drink to accommodate a chicken foot. Maybe I’ll ask Andy Garris if I can do some experimenting at Woodruff’s.

  17. Eel
    Posted September 12, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    You can keep your infographics. We all know that vegans kill babies.

  18. Posted September 13, 2011 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Jason Young take this photo

  19. b
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    squirrel tail?

  20. anthony anonymous
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    i have a jive turkey every year at ren fest.

  21. gary
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    once while drinking at the corner brewery, i believe mark bumped into me and some of his eczema fell into my beer. it looked pretty grody, but if mark would donate more skin, it could catch on.

    ‘ypsilanti! taste the maynard!’

  22. Mr. X
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    A Grody Maynard?

  23. Walt
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I’ve had a Grody Maynard before.

    It’s very similar to a Manhattan except instead of using whisky, vermouth, and bitters, you combine two parts ouzo, two parts tequila, and one part dark rum into a glass of crushed ice and mint. Then you strain it all into a highball glass through a pair of jeans with Fat Albert’s face on them that you found in your yard after the snow melts. You’re then supposed to have this served to you on an antique silver tray by a white slave, but that’s not possible everywhere.

    If you use light rum instead of dark rum, it’s called a Canadian Rooster.

  24. dirtgrain
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Grody Maynard is a great name for a drink. Maybe Mark could harvest fingernail clippings to include in the drinks. I’m not sure though, as one might choke on a fingernail clipping. Whatever goes in it, Grody Maynard should be the name.

  25. Mr. X
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    A Grody Maynard should have country ham in it, and gin. And probably something dirty and germy, but not too dirty and germy. Maybe he could lick the rim of the glass.

  26. horny hot
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I stir my bloody marys with my husband’s chubby, which, coincidentally, is covered in bumps and slimy like a pickle.

  27. h Ref
    Posted September 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    All I know is you try to put a dead fish in my cheesesteak and your gonna be eating yur teeth.

    Philly in the HOUSR!

  28. h hot
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The only place to get a decent chubby Mary abound her, I’m told, is in Hasan’s bedroom.

  29. Posted September 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    He did not try to serve me a “Chubby Mary” when I was in there Friday night, if that’s what you’re suggesting.

  30. paleo diet
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    The fish should be blended up in the drink with a bass-o-matic.

  31. wm thomas
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Having once experienced the displeasure of having gone down on a chubby Mary while on a family vacation down river, this article made me vomit. If it were possible, I would open up my brain pan and scrub it out with a wire brush and battery acid. It is the worst memory that I have from childhood. Dare I say, it is probably the worst memory of anyone living on the planet earth, holocaust survivors included.

  32. Formerly Chubby Mary
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    It was my nickname in high school and I googled it just now with some trepidation. I’m glad to see that the name has found something else to attach itself to.

  33. Cortney
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    I miss Michigan. I would give anything for a decent Chubby Mary in Brooklyn.

One Trackback

  1. By Eating lobster at George’s Huron Inn on October 10, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    […] said a few weeks ago that I wanted to start a bar here in Ypsi that was known for a signature drink involving some kind of dead animal, but I think that I’d settle for a little neighborhood bar that dished out inexpensive […]

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