The last time I was at Denver International Airport, M and I got to our gate about 20 minutes before boarding started and were chatting with another friend who was on our flight to Chicago. Our friend said he got some free meal vouchers from the airline since there was a hefty four-hour delay (luckily we sat at home during this delay), so we tried our luck at the airline agent desk to get some vouchers. We ended up getting a nice $21 between the two of us and sprinted upstairs to grab a drink at the bar. We went to Aviator’s Sports Bar and BBQ (located near the B gates) and ordered up two cocktails quickly (they were $11 each, so we only owed a dollar and a tip!). We had our vouchers in hand, which the bartender must have seen immediately in the middle of taking our order because he left while I was giving him my drink order. He comes back with two of the worst $11 cocktails I have ever seen (well, M didn’t know his was bad until he tried it), but my Smoked Mary literally had no spices in it, nor any good flavor. It was supposed to be a smoky-tasting Bloody with peppercorn flavor and a smoky-infused vodka according to the menu. I was honestly disappointed because I have been to Aviator’s before for dinner before a flight and the Bloody Mary was phenomenal (probably because our server was phenomenal and recommended a mix of two infusions for the Bloody, while also tossing in some bacon). The bartender this time around was extremely rude and couldn’t make a damn drink if his life depended on it. I probably won’t go back now after this past experience, which you can read about below.
AT A GLANCE 10/20
When the bartender handed my my Aviator’s Smoked Mary, I was pretty disappointed by the first appearance. I literally didn’t see any spices in the cocktail and it was a watered-down red color. It was clean and solely garnished with a pepperoncini. The glass was rimmed with celery salt, which was a plus.
The garnish only consisted of a pepperoncini, which looked simple. It was just tossed into the drink, not on a cocktail pick or anything. It tasted like your average pepperoncini and was not very creative.
There were actually no spices in the Smoked Mary. I’m convinced the bartender used these ingredients (and ONLY these ingredients): vodka, tomato juice, and ice. That’s all. As I took another look within the actual cocktail to make sure I wasn’t just drinking from an area of the Bloody where there were no spices present, I realized I was right the first time around. NO SPICES! Who the heck makes a Bloody with no spices, especially when it’s advertised on the menu as being a smoky Bloody?!
TEXTURE AND ACIDITY 10/10
The Smoked Mary was also diluted. It tasted like good ol’ tomato juice mixed with water. The consistency was just that– the same as water. It wasn’t acidic because there were no ingredients in the Bloody that could make anything acidic (even though tomato juice is acidic on the pH scale..). I ended up dumping A LOT of pepper, salt, and hot sauce into the Smoked Mary, so I could make it bearable to drink.
The only thing unique about the Smoked Mary was the inclusion of peppercorn (?) infused vodka, even though it wasn’t that intense of an infusion (you couldn’t taste the vodka flavor very much). Everything else about the Smoked Mary SUCKED. It got more disgusting with each sip until I dumped all of the spices on the table into the cocktail.
FINAL SCORE 44/100
If you want to grab a sh**ty Bloody Mary and be served by pretentious a**holes at DIA, feel free to check out Aviator’s BBQ in Concourse B. You will be disappointed.