It's easy to see why the bloody mary is often called the most complex cocktail. Most restaurant managers and bartenders will define it as a base of vodka and tomato juice, but the common ground stops there.

It's easy to see why the bloody mary is often called the most complex cocktail. Most restaurant managers and bartenders will define it as a base of vodka and tomato juice, but the common ground stops there.

"I like a bloody mary to hit every different note," says Christina Meehan of Tucci's in Dublin. "I want some salt. I want some heat. I want to taste the booze. I try to a strike a balance."

This is precisely the draw of the bloody mary, says Eric Allen from Brothers Drake Meadery. There are no real rules and therefore so many directions to take the morning cocktail. "The thing is to do it your own way," he says.

Columbus brunchers in search of a bloody mary fix-whether you like it ultra-spicy or the chance to build your own-should seek out one of these options.

Matt the Miller's Tavern

The strength of the bloody mary is in its infinite customization, and Matt the Miller's Tavern takes advantage of it by offering Matt's Ultimat Bloody Mary Bar to complement their weekend brunch buffet. For $7, customers are provided a glass of Ultimat Vodka and given free reign to load up with more liquids and garnishes, including pickles, gherkins, horseradish and about 15 hot sauces.

Hal & Al's

Hal & Al's meets the challenge of creating a bloody mary to pair with their vegan brunch of "sausage" gravy and biscuits or tofu scrambles. "For some things we have to think outside the box," says owner Jay Cheplowitz. "A lot of substitutes don't work. Fake bacon doesn't work; bacon vodka doesn't work." So his bar staff turned to the ever-popular New Holland Dragon's Milk. The Michigan-made stout is always on tap, and its bourbon barrel-aging provides a sweet and boozy addition to the traditional vodka base.

Due Amici

Like a bar on wheels, Due Amici's bloody mary cart lets you customize your cocktail without getting up from the table. Starting with pepper-infused Absolut vodka, a server will blend tomato juice with your choice of accouterment, including Clamato (clam juice), horseradish, garlic, Worcestershire and sriracha. Tall glasses overflowing with garnishes offer celery, lemon, pickles and banana peppers. Busy weekend brunches will keep the cart rolling from table to table all day.

Tucci's

This Dublin spot serves bloody marys with house-infused vodkas, Zing Zang bloody mary mix and glass rims coated with celery salt or Tabasco and Old Bay. But they also demonstrate the bloody mary's flexibility with the Bourbon Bloody Mary, which is fueled by bacon-infused Maker's Mark and garnished with-you guessed it-bacon. Tucci's manager Christina Meehan explains, "Bacon is breakfast, and to me the Bourbon Bloody was one of things we needed to do."

Brothers Drake Meadery

Eric Allen starts their Bloody Mary with Hot Shot, a fiery mead infused with habanero peppers from CaJohn's. He then supplements it with OYO vodka and a mix laden with Ohio tomato juice, garlic, ginger, carrots and apples. "Ours is the anti-condiment mix," he says. "It's served in a martini glass and is more like a booze soup."

Nicholas Dekker blogs about breakfast at breakfastwithnick.com. His book, "Breakfast With Nick: Columbus," is a complete guidebook to the morning meal.