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The Bloody Mary cocktail is, name notwithstanding, one of the friendliest drinks out there. Made of tomato juice, vodka, and whatever else you choose to add to it, it’s one of the most enjoyable daytime drinks ever conceived.
Today, we look at the possible origins of this drink (including a ghost story) and how to make one yourself.
The Origin of the Bloody Mary
Study your mixological history long enough, and you’ll begin to see a common trend: a hell of a lot of drinks were invented during the 1920s, a time when doing so was illegal in America. Was it seeing the United States ban alcohol that made the rest of the world appreciate it so? What drove so many barkeeps around the world to pour their hearts into their pours?
In all likelihood, the Bloody Mary was a result of this collective global zeitgeist. A particular bartender by the name of Fernand Petiot, nicknamed “Pete,” was slinging drinks in Paris’s Harry’s New York Bar in the early ’20s. He perfected a drink that involved adding vodka to tomato juice, lemon juice, celery salt, and other herbs and flavorings.
When Prohibition ended in the 1930s, Pete headed to the land of the free and the home of the thirsty. He became a bartender at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan. Its King Cole Bar was one of the trendiest spots in town, and he introduced his concoction to the crowds to great applause.
However, the legend goes that he toned down the name a bit, calling it the Red Snapper. Whatever it was called, it was a hit.
Which brings us to an important point: where does the name “Bloody Mary” come from?
The Bloody Ghost Story
We promised you a ghost story, and a ghost story we shall deliver.
Queen Mary I of England lived from 1516-1558. She was not, shall we say, pleasant. Ruling both England and Ireland from 1553 until 1558, she took issue with the ongoing English Reformation.
This movement had begun during her father’s (Henry VIII) reign. Mary found it repugnant and tried to reverse it in a way that would have made her father grin: by murdering everyone! For five years, she put nearly 300 religious dissenters to the stake.
If you feel you missed out by not being able to hang with Mary I, fear not — legend has it that you can conjure her right in your home.
Turn out all the lights. Maybe light a candle — that’s always a good start. Look at yourself in the mirror and say “Bloody Mary” thirteen times — you may just see a bloody specter appear over your shoulder in the dark.
(Note to the skeptic: The only explanation for anything you see is that the dismembered spirit of a medieval queen, roaming the various continents on earth for centuries, has nothing better to do than appear in various bathrooms at the repeated mention of her nickname. It has nothing to do with you imagining anything, nor does it have to do with the human eye focusing on a candle flame and then projecting its negative image onto the darkness when the moment arises. Don’t be silly.)
The “Bloody Mary” is likely named because the swirling, thick tomato juice and fiery vodka conjured some image of gore.
How to make a killer Bloody Mary Cocktail
This is one of our most important recipes. If you know how to make a good Bloody Mary, you are all set. You can’t go small on this one, folks — it’s go big or go home. We’re talking veggies, spices, garnishes, the whole works.
- Prep Time 10 Minutes
- Cook Time 5 Minutes
- Total Time 15 Minutes
- Serves 1 People
- Calories 200-400 kcal
- 2 fl. oz. vodka
- 4 fl. oz. tomato juice
- ¼ fl. oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon horseradish
- 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dashes of Tabasco Sauce (smokey flavor is fantastic here)
- 2 dashes of celery salt or celery bitters
- Lemon wedge, green olives or celery stick (for garnish)
- Start with the vodka and tomato juice, pouring them into a cocktail shaker.
- The rest of the ingredients should go in according to the order above.
- Shake gently.
- In a cocktail glass, add only a few ice cubes.
- Strain the mix into the cocktail glass.
- Garnish with lemon, celery or olives.