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A Cocktail that has really grown on me: The Bloody Mary


Staff member

Manhattans, Metropolitans (which is very similar) and the Tuaca Sidecars have been my main choices over the past several years. This past year Zaya rum has found a special place in my heart.

I bought a couch for my office that says Ernest Hemingway when I look at it (yes. I hear voices from inanimate objects). I just couldn't pass it up. So since I see it everyday the writer and world traveler has been on my mind. There is a tale that the bloody mary was created for Hemingway....that is probably fiction....but why let facts get in the way of a good story? The usual telling goes something like this:

Ernest Hemingway was know to be quite the drinker and spent his nights and possibly days at the bar at the Ritz in Paris. His wife, Mary, was not a fan of his drinking. One day, Hemingway asked the bartender to mix up a drink that would disguise the alcohol so Mary wouldn’t be able to tell or smell his breathe. The Ritz bartender mixed up some tomato juice and vodka with some other spices and handed the drink to Hemingway.

The next day he returned to the bar per usual and the bartender asked “so could she tell you were drinking?”


There is a bit more substance to this:

The famous writer bragged in a letter to Bernard Peyton that he introduced the drink to Hong Kong, and further claimed that "it did more than any other single factor except perhaps the Japanese Army to precipitate the fall of that Crown Colony."

I decided to try one in Hemingway's honor recently and was very much surprised how much I enjoyed it since I have never been a big fan of tomato juice when I was a kid. Not only does it have a wonderful spicy flavor, it also doesn't dehydrate like most cocktails. I had many on my travels as of late and have even started making them at home now.

Here is a more likely history:

1926: Fernand Petiot, an American bartender at Harry's New York Bar in Paris mixes equal parts tomato juice and vodka. Petiot says: "One of the boys suggested we call the drink 'Bloody Mary' because it reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, and a girl there named Mary."

1927: This is the year that George Jessel claims to have invented the Bloody Mary in his Palm Beach home. He claims the name happened when his friend Mary spilled some of the concoction on her shirt and she said, "Now, you can call me Bloody Mary, George!"

1934: Petiot moves to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis in New York. His drink becomes popular with New Yorkers but something is missing. The hotel asks him to change the name to the Red Snapper, but it doesn't catch on and it is again called the Bloody Mary. His patrons encourage him to make the drink spicy, so he adds cayenne pepper, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and a big dash of Tabasco® sauce. The recipe is a hit.

March 30, 1956: George Jessel takes out an ad in Collier's that reads: “I think I invented The Bloody Mary, Red Snapper, Tomato Pickup or Morning Glory. It happened on a Night before a Day and I felt I should take some good, nourishing tomato juice, but what I really wanted was some of your good Smirnoff Vodka. So I mixed them together, the juice for body and the vodka for spirit, and if I wasn't the first ever, I was the happiest ever.â€￾

Aug. 15, 1956: The Bloody Mary is mentioned in Punch magazine: "Those two ... are eating raw steaks and drinking Bloody Marys.â€￾

July 18, 1964: Petiot tells the New Yorker: "I initiated the Bloody Mary of today. George Jessel said he created it, but it was really nothing but vodka and tomato juice when I took it over. I cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, two dashes of black pepper, two dashes of cayenne pepper, and a layer of Worcestershire sauce; I then add a dash of lemon juice and some cracked ice, put in two ounces of vodka and two ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour. We serve a hundred to a hundred and fifty Bloody Marys a day here in the King Cole Room and in the other restaurants and the banquet rooms."

Jan. 8, 1975: Petiot dies in San Francisco.

1976: The McIlhenny Company introduces Tabasco® Bloody Mary Mix.


Maj.Nick Danger

I'll Lock Up
Behind the 8 ball,..
The tomato juice is loaded with anti-oxidants which assuage any ill effects of consuming too many drinks. If I were a heavy drinker, this would be my choice of drink. I like them with V-8 juice, for even more flavor and nutrient density. :)

Miss sofia

One Too Many
East sussex, England
I always like a Bloody Mary or two for hair of the dog. Actually if i'm ordering one in the pub i have to have it with extra lashings of W. sauce and Celery salt to counteract the taste of cheap tomato juice.

My dad always serves his with a stick of celery - yummy!


Practically Family
Tivy, Texas.
Your local off-licence may have a Bloody Mary 'base' called "Zing-Zang"....no really! Our local bartenders claim it to be the best.......I'm more of a 'Screwdriver ' guy for breakfast.


One Too Many
Ex-pat Ozzie in Greater London, UK
I used to go to a pub that had a Sunday morning Bloody Mary Breakfast Club - excellent brunch dishes and a menu of about 8 variations on the BM, with different alcohols, juices and degrees of spice. I think I tried all of them at one time or another!


Incurably Addicted
On NFL Sundays, a local restaurant has a bottomless Bloody Mary bar which runs all day...... where you make your own, choosing from a myriad of condiments and garnishes. For $20. Be careful what you wish for......:p


Practically Family
A friend of mine has recently started marketing a homemade bloody mary mix called "voodoo juice". It's a little heavy on the worcestershire, but it does the trick.


One of the Regulars
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
I'm a scotch man but for some reason really love a good Bloody Mary out here in the tropics. I think it has to do with the salt. I make what I think is a good one using olive juice and Old Bay seasoning.

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