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Providence’s Best Bloody Mary

Who makes the best Bloody Mary in Providence? You’re invited to help decide!

The New England Hemophilia Association (NEHA) and Rhode Island Food Fights are coming together on Sunday, May 20th for a special Bloody Mary taste off to raise funds for the NEHA’s programs and services.

We chatted with NEHA’s Executive Director (and cofounder of the Providence Downtown Neighborhood Association) Rich Pezzillo to find bit more about this special event that is near and dear to his heart.

Tell me a little bit the work that the New England Hemophilia Association does.
Since 1957, the New England Hemophilia Association (NEHA) assists and advocates for all persons with inherited bleeding disorders in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont through education, support, and advocacy. NEHA is based in Dedham, MA and has a staff of three full time employees. NEHA provides programs and services throughout New England to include a Family Camp (where kids learn how to administer their medication through IV), educational meetings and retreats, advocacy and legislative efforts, and a financial assistance program.

Bleeding disorders are caused when the body lacks a gene which can properly manufacture certain blood proteins called clotting factors. Having a bleeding disorder like that can be a very serious condition that often requires treatment and lifestyle modification. The most common clotting factors to be missing are Factor VIII, and Factor XI, which cause hemophilia A and hemophilia B, respectively. The average cost to treat hemophilia is annually $350,000 per patient! All the medication is through intravenous and there is no cure. In Rhode Island, there are an estimated 100 people living with hemophilia and about 10,000 living with other types of bleeding disorders.

What can people expect from this inaugural event?
The New England Hemophilia Association and Rhode Island Food Fights will hold their inaugural “Providence’s Best Bloody Mary” event on Sunday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Providence Arcade at 65 Weybosset Street in downtown Providence. This will be the first bloody mary competition of its kind to pit local bartenders against one another to see whose spicy concoction will be deemed Providence’s Best. Area bartenders are invited to compete for free and will be granted a table at the event where they can create their bloody mary. Competitors will be provided with vodka from event partner, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, but will bring their own mix, spices, and garnishes to make their own unique drink. Those interested in competing in the event can register by visiting the link included below.

In addition to the bars participating, Yacht Club Soda will be donating soda for everyone to try. Many local shops in the Arcade and in downtown will be offering discounts for ticketed events.

How many different bars will be participating?
Providence bars currently registered include: The Black Sheep, The Grange, New Harvest, Rogue Island Kitchen and Bar, TROOP, The Salted Slate, and Wara Wara Restaurant. We are expecting several more bars to participate.

What’s your favorite type of Bloody Mary? Spicy, garnished with bacon?
I like a classic/spicy bloody Mary with a hint of lime, olives, and pickles. A cocktail shrimp is always an added bonus.

Taking place at The Arcade on Sunday, May 20th from 11am – 2pm, tickets are $25 online or $30 at the door. Admission includes tokens to vote for your favorite taste and garnish, plus appetizers to snack on. Sample sizes of the Bloody Mary’s will be large enough to judge, but small enough to taste all entrees. At the end of the event, NEHA will present a trophy to the bar with the most tokens in two categories, best taste and best garnish

Providence Bars Participating (as of April 23rd):

Sunday, May 20th from 11am – 2pm at The Arcade. You can purchase tickets for the event here.