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The Bloody Marys of Calhoun County 

Can't sneak tomato juice past a pro

What stands out in our sudsy memories of Calhoun County boozing is that not one of the seven establishments reviewed below included so much as a lime in their bloody marys. Perhaps namesake John C. Calhoun ordered his cocktails sans garnish in a states'-rights flouting of some obscure federal mandate.

Bloodies are rated on a ten-celery-stalk scale, with ten being, uh, sublime.

Wittmond Hotel, Brussels
5 celery stalks
After pouring her Mr. & Mrs. T's base and a generous portion of vodka, inexperienced bartendress smartly opts for the build-your-own-bloody approach and supplies patron with Tabasco, salt and Worcestershire sauce.

Meppen Tavern, Meppen
4 celery stalks
Tomato juice instead of V8 or mary mix is a stumble akin to Sasha Cohen blowing a double toe loop. Serving it in a Pepsi glass takes Meppen out of medal contention, though a build-your-own finish prevents total flameout.

Corner Tavern, Hardin
2 celery stalks
Tomato juice and vodka in a skinny little glass and...that's all, folks! Permissible only in a dorm room where kitchen facilities aren't available.

Barefoot Restaurant & Bar, Hardin
6 celery stalks
Pure professionalism in a tall, wide glass. Spicy and meaty, owing to significant presence of Tabasco and Worcestershire.

Straight Home, Hardin
3 celery stalks
See "Corner Tavern," with a bonus point awarded for pint schooner rather than glorified shot glass.

Michael Tavern, Michael
6 celery stalks
Tomato juice faux pas offset by succulent Crystal hot sauce and plenty o' Worcestershire.

Louie's Kampsville Inn, Kampsville
7 celery stalks
The one and only tavern to serve its mary in a bona-fide cocktail glass — with horseradish in addition to Worcestershire and Frank's Red Hot sauce, no less. Exceptionally executed by a seasoned pro, except for that niggling garnish deficiency.

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