During the summer of 2006, if you didn't spend your Sunday afternoons at the Rope and you lived around here and were of legal drinking age, then I have three words for you: Shame on you.
Not only was the gas grill out back being loaded down to the fullest with burgers, dogs, veggies and the like, but Matt Preis, aka "Max Power" was inside mixing up some of the best Bloody Marys around.
Now personally, I don't drink Bloody Marys, but if you see the same people coming in, ordering the same thing and raving about them, they must be pretty excellent, right?
Over the past couple of years, Preis has taken on other neighborhood establishments with the "Max Power Bloody Battles" and tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Moe's Bar & Lounge on Lafayette, he's holding the first "Max Power Bloody Mixer," which is open to the community.
I caught up with "Max" and here's some of the background and details:
How did the idea for the Bloody Mary Battles come about?
The idea for Max Power's Bloody Battle began when many of the bartenders on Myrtle started giving me [grief] because they kept hearing I had the best Bloody Mary in town—and they were jealous! Finally I organized a battle so we could put up or shut up. I lost by one vote but I still blame it on one person who didn't show up—he usually drinks at least five! So Maggie Brown got lucky I say.
Our neighborhood is pretty chummy, I feel. What do you think the past contests have done for community spirit?
One unforeseen byproduct of these battles is that they are bringing together a lot of people who work in the industry and the patrons who all know them from separate places. And when we get together we all have a blast, proving that no matter where you go in a Brooklyn neighborhood you're usually guaranteed a good time served up by good people. Especially in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, where I feel there is a huge camaraderie and mutual respect among restaurant/bar workers and their patrons.
What made you decide to hold an open competition this go-around?
I decided to host an open competition because I have been promising to do this since the competition began. When I started this, I didn't know I would keep doing it, but once I realized I would do a whole round in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill I always knew I would open up one Battle to residents. In the end, we are looking to find the Queen/King of Bloody Mary for each neighborhood so it's only fair to open it up to residents.
It's coinciding with Moe's ninth anniversary, right? Were they like, "Get Max Power in here to liven the festivities!"
I approached Moe's with the idea and the date I randomly proposed happened to be on their anniversary. At first we thought we couldn't do it because of the anniversary, but after a brief thought we realized that's a perfect time to bring the neighborhood together.
And Matt, I hate to bring this up, but you haven't taken home the title yet: What's up with that?
The obvious and easy answer is that people are idiots! But actually, I am also a victim of messing with my mix in the second battle—I totally screwed it up trying to make it even better. And in the third battle I maintain that my mix suffered because I'm so busy organizing these things I had to make it at the last minute! Anyway, so far I'm always number two so look out 'cause I'm coming with guns blazing from here on!
So come drink your choice of the best Bloody Marys in Fort Greene/Clinton hill and if you are a resident and have the guts, bring a big can worth of mix and see if you can make it into the next round!