The Bloody Mary continues its descent from cocktail greatness to the most abused drink of all time. As if olives, celery stalks the size of tree trunks (sometimes complete with leaves), cocktail shrimp and pickles weren't enough to make the drink eat like a buffet, now come straws made of meat.
When I first saw Benny's Bloody Mary Beef Straws, I was convinced some dude got a drill press and started hollowing out Slim Jims by the thousands. I wondered where all the shavings went -- they would make an amazing ingredient for Alice's next box.
"No, no," Ben Hirko, the president of the Iowa-based beef straw company told me. There is no drill. He said he wanted to make a beef snack that people actually would want to eat. So he developed his own recipe and then worked with a mechanical engineer to spec out and design a custom machine. Those specs went to a local fabricator, and a beef straw maker was born.
Hirko shipped the machine up to Nebraska and now these guys manufacture the straws, when they aren't grinding up deer or smoking meat. You can buy them 100 at a time for $97.95, which is a lot more than a regular straw but is totally worth it according to Hirko. "It's a really fun thing to add to your Bloody Mary," he told me. The straw tastes much better after a lengthy, boozy bath.
I can't find any restaurants in Dallas that are serving them yet, but they've landed in Houston. Hotel Za Za and the Houston Marriott both feature the drink. I'm sure a Dallas brunch spot or two won't be too far behind.