There are a great many stories surrounding the origins of the Bloody Mary, a cocktail that has become highly popular all over the world. In the U.S., it was one of the first vodka cocktails to find favor with the audience and it remains in grace till today. There are any number of conjectures, speculations, and stories on how this drink came to be, which range from the strange to the highly bizarre.
One of the theories doing the rounds is that Bloody Mary dates all the way back to the time of Queen Mary I of England in the mid-1550s. The drink was a tribute to her violent and ruthless nature as the tomato juice represented the blood bath she caused while the vodka, also known as “fire water,” was symbolic of the brutal means she used to execute the martyrs. Fanciful as the story may be, there’s very little to corroborate its validity.
While cocktail historians have agreed to disagree when it comes to pinpointing the origin of the Bloody Mary, there is one story that has more plausibility than the others. The protagonist of the story is Fernand Petiot, a bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. While working at this bar in the early 1920s, Petiot conceived a rudimentary version of this drink which was made from equal parts of tomato juice and vodka.
After Prohibition, the drink travelled to Manhattan where Petiot got a job at the famous King Cole Bar at St. Regis Hotel. Here, Petiot threw in a few more ingredients, such as Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, black pepper & cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and Tabasco sauce to spice up the drink for Americans. Soon enough the drink became a wild rage and a legend among cocktails was born.
On how it came to have such an unusual name, Petiot himself comments, “One of the boys suggested we call the drink Bloody Mary because it reminded him of the Bucket of Bloody Club in Chicago, and a girl there named Mary.” No matter what the name, the Bloody Mary has been declared one of the defining drinks of the 20th century by the U.S. Bartenders Guide as. Hail Bloody Mary!
How to Prepare
In a pint glass add both tomato juice and vodka. Add in the rest of the ingredients, fill with ice and stir thoroughly to combine. Serve garnished with lemon wedge. You can also use pickled been or celery rib to garnish the drink.