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High Street Grill in North Andover introduces the area’s only make-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

By Charlene Peters

Photograph by Anthony Tieuli

Food styling by Mary Jane Sawyer for Ennis

High Street Grill

The 16th century’s queen of England, Mary I, persecuted close to 300 religious dissenters in what is historically known as the “Marian Persecutions,” earning her the nickname of “Bloody Mary.” But is this how the popular morning cocktail originated or does it have a more modern beginning? Nobody seems to know for certain, but the debate on this blood-colored tomato juice drink is getting some newfound local attention.

Ironic to the Queen’s connection to the cocktail, many customers who arrive at North Andover’s newest restaurant, High St. Grill, show up for the Bloody Mary brunch following church services.

The owner, Kristi Morris, has transformed the former mill factory into a vintage-designed restaurant. High St. Grill’s Sunday brunch and make-yourown Bloody Mary bar were inspired by the East Coast Grill, where the Bloody Mary bar was “a big hit,” according to Morris, the Cambridge restaurant’s former general manager.

Once seated for brunch, which includes a delectable Brioche French toast with a side of blueberries and warmed peach and apple slices soaked in syrup, order your Bloody Mary basic: a glass with vodka, its rim sprinkled with a spicy blend of salt, pepper, coriander, and cumin.

Then, head to the counter and be your own bartender, adding whatever ingredients you desire, whether tomato juice, clamato juice, or the house Bloody Mary mix, and a wide selection of spices that includes cayenne pepper, celery salt, onion powder, allspice, and smoked paprika. Finalize your concoction with Worcestershire, Tabasco, or one of many tangy sauces before adding the final touches of horseradish, lemon or lime, and vegetables including green beans, carrot sticks, olives, and a celery stalk.

Unlike the roots of the Bloody Mary, your palette’s preference is not up for debate. High Street Grill, 25 High St., North Andover, 978-682-6363,