040215 dive3Ashlyn Schmidt pours a spicy bloody Mary at Dive in Sea Bright. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)


040215 dive2A sweet cocktail filled with tropical fruit is nice on a hot summer day, but with the strong spring winds still blowing sharp and cold in Sea Bright, only a hearty, spicy cocktail could quench PieHole‘s thirst.

Dive, a “coastal bar and food joint” on Ocean Avenue, offers a Sunday brunch and bloody Mary menu featuring a quaff called the Bloody Hook that makes the lips tingle and the throat burn with enjoyment.

040215 dive1 A lively happy hour at Dive. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

We were there at happy hour in the middle of the week, when Dive offers a menu full of bargain libations and noshes, and we put in a request for the Bloody Hook.

“The bloody Mary menu is served on Sunday at brunch,” and is not on the happy hour menu, and so it would be full price ($9), bartender Ashlyn Schmidt informed us. That established, she went to work on our drink, starting with Clamato juice instead of the usual tomato juice.

Schmidt asked if we liked horseradish. What would a bloody Mary be without horseradish? Rimming the glass first with a salted Old Bay seasoning mixture added a spicy twist to this traditional drink. After a long shake with ice and a dramatic pour, the Bloody Hook was served.

The fresh horseradish gave the drink a nice pungency that mixed well with the salt and the clammy tomato flavor, though we found ourselves wishing for a little more depth to the drink; a bit of Worcestershire or Tabasco would have helped. Next time, we will remember to request an extra spicy Bloody Hook.

If your bartender doesn’t remember to bring out a basket of popcorn with your order, PieHole suggests you ask for one. The complimentary popcorn is one of the best features of this bar. Crunchy and freshly popped, it makes one want to linger and order a second glass.