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ODE TO THE PERFECT BRUNCH DRINK!
With as many variations as there are tastes,
its no wonder that the Bloody Mary is one of the most popular
cocktails in the US today. It’s known as a hangover cure, an excuse
to eat vegetables and of course the ideal brunch drink. Some bars
take their dedication to the ultimate level, providing over 100
ingredients for your selection. Make sure you order it early in the
day however, as it’s considered highly unsophisticated to serve a
Bloody Mary after 6pm. I must admit, I’m guilty of that particular
There are really two founders of today’s Bloody
Mary. George Jessel, a comedian, songwriter and movie producer, was
credited in 1939 by a column in the New York Herald Tribune with the
foundation of the drink: “George Jessel’s newest pick-me-up which is
receiving attention from the town’s paragraphers is called a Bloody
Mary: half tomato juice, half vodka.”
Apparently Jessel was a famous self-promoter,
so many doubted his claim. The story of American bartender Fernand
“Pete” Petiot was favored instead. In 1934 Petiot took a job at the
King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City (ultimately
becoming head barman). He served the cocktail there as an equal mix
of tomato juice and vodka. The cliental found the cocktail a bit
bland and encouraged Fernand to add some seasoning. After a lot of
trial and error, he settled on black pepper, cayenne pepper,
Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and Tabasco sauce, largely formulating
the Bloody Mary we know and love today. When the drink became a
national sensation in the 1950s, Petiot claimed he had invented it
while working in Paris at Harry’s New York Bar during the Roaring
20s. However, he later qualified his claim to the drink’s origin. In
a 1964 interview in The New Yorker, he stated “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.” He
added that he would “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.” He would then add lemon
juice, two ounces each of vodka and tomato juice and some cracked
ice before he would “shake, strain and pour.” The oh-so-important
celery stick was added to the concoction in the 1960s, after a guest
recommended it in the “Pump Room” at Chicago’s Ambassador East
There are several myths relating to how the
drink got its name. These include being named after Queen Mary I of
England who was known as Bloody Mary for her brutal prosecution of
Protestants, as well as being named for the Hollywood star Mary
Pickford, who earlier had a cocktail consisting of rum, grenadine
and maraschino named after her. In reality, it was nothing so
glamorous. Petiot relates that the drink was originally called a
“Red Snapper,” but this never really caught on. “One of the boys”
at the bar suggested the name Bloody Mary instead, because the drink
reminded him of a girl named Mary at the “Bucket of Blood Club” in
Chicago. Exactly how a spicy red alcoholic drink reminded him of a
girl is not certain, and let’s face it, we’re probably better off
Here is the ‘original’ recipe, served in a long
drink (highball) glass:
1 1/2 ounces (1 jigger) vodka
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ tablespoon / 4-6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3-5 drops Tabasco to taste (if you want it spicier)
1 celery stick for garnish
1 lemon wedge for garnish
Combine the vodka, the tomato juice, the lemon
juice, the Worcestershire sauce, the Tabasco, 1 cup ice cubes, and
salt and pepper to taste, shake the mixture well, and strain it into
a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish the Bloody Mary with the
celery stick and the lemon wedge.
When you’ve enjoyed the standard recipe and are
ready to get adventurous, here are a plethora of variations to
appeal to whichever direction your tastebuds want to take you!
Additions to the Original Recipe
Olives, pickles, carrots, mushrooms, capers, or other
vegetables; or even meat (salami, shrimp, etc.)
For a sweeter drink, add a few more drops of
Try a small amount of white horse radish for a big
spice and flavor kick
Add celery-salt or lemon-salt in the drink or around
Add a dash of dry sherry
Add a splash of pickle juice
Add a sliced jalapeno green pepper
Tobasco Variations (from Tobasco’s web site)
TABASCO® Bloody Mary Mix (red and white label)
contains only fresh frozen lime juice, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire
sauce, extra thick concentrated tomato juice and TABASCO® sauce. For
a great drink, add 1 part vodka to 3 or 4 parts Bloody Mary Mix,
pour over ice, and stir well with a McIlhenny Farms Spicy Green
TABASCO® Extra Spicy Bloody Mary Mix (green and white
label) adds fresh horseradish, lemon juice and more TABASCO® sauce
for a stronger kick.
TABASCO® Bloody Mary Mix is terrific served "as is"
for breakfast, or over ice as a non-alcoholic pick-me-up. Bloody
Mary variations are almost limitless: add a little garlic and chili
powder for a Mexican Mary, splash in soy sauce and a touch of ginger
for an Asian Mary, or lace a Smoky Mary with barbecue sauce.
Variations In Alcohol
Bloody Bishop: Sherry in equal measure to vodka
Bloody Fairy, Red Fairy: Absinthe replacing the
Bloody Geisha: Sake replacing vodka.
Bloody Maria: Tequila replacing vodka, replace lime
juice for the lemon juice.
Bloody Beach, substitute one part Malibu rum and one
part vodka for the vodka.
Brown Mary or Whiskey Mary: Whiskey replacing the
Michelada: Mexican beer replacing vodka, usually
flavored with a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco
Ruddy Mary: Gin replacing vodka.
Bloody Beer: 1/3 tomato juice and 2/3 beer - none of
the other stuff.
Red Hammer: In the Northeastern U.S. through the
1950s while vodka was scarce, gin instead of vodka was known as a
Bloody Mary ; once vodka became readily available in those regions,
the traditional vodka-based Bloody Mary was known as a Red Hammer
for a time
Virgin Mary, Bloody Shame, or Bloody Virgin: Without
alcohol; the second term is commonly used in Australia.
Variations In Mixers
Bloody Bull or Bull Shot: Beef bouillon and tomato
juice. The drink originated at Brennan's restaurant in New Orleans
and is served at Commander's Palace as well as other Brennan Family
Caesar, Bloody Caesar, or Clammy Mary: Clamato
replacing tomato juice, much more popular in Canada than the
traditional Bloody Mary.
Bloody Eight or Eight Ball: V8 replacing tomato
juice, or a mixture, usually equal parts
Variation In Drink Format
Frozen Bloody Mary: Placed in a blender with ice.
Flaming Bloody Mary: A small amount of 151 rum is
floated on top and a string hangs outside the glass and is ignited
for a cold weather drink.
Flaming, Frozen Bloody Mary: A frozen Bloody Mary is
topped with 151 rum and ignited. Also called "Bloody Fire and Ice".
(Note: be sure to use a ceramic mug to avoid shattered glass)
Upside Down Bloody Mary: The drinker lies face up on
the bar with head hanging backwards. The drink is poured into the
mouth and the drinker stands mixing the drink in her mouth. This is
a popular morning-after hangover cure as it also forces blood to the
NOW DO IT YOURSELF!
Now you have the background and can cover the
basics! You may not want to match the 100 ingredients at those
truly dedicated bars, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a
fully stocked Bloody Mary bar at your next brunch! Enjoy your