The origin myths of the Bloody Marys are as unclear as that of the tomato juice used to make it. However, there is a general consensus among cocktail historians that one story is closest to the truth. The story involves Fernand Petiot, a bartender who created a basic version of the product while working in Paris at Harry’s New York Bar in the 1920s. Following Prohibition, Fernand, or “Pete” as he was commonly known, introduced the drink at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan, while working at the establishment’s King Cole Bar. For some time, the drink was known as the Red Snapper as it represented more delicate American sensibilities. Soon, Pete started combining the cocktail with various seasonings including celery salt, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, and horseradish. The trend caught on, giving birth to a classic.
Other theories have been put forward explaining the Bloody Mary’s origin. One of the most fanciful storylines is that the cocktail dates back to the mid-1550s during the reign of Queen Mary 1 of England. According to the Weekly World News, the tomato juice symbolizes the blood spilled, while vodka represents the brutal ways that the Queen used to execute martyrs. In 1939, George Jessel, a comedian, also claimed to be the inventor of the drink.
Part of what appeals to Blood Mary’s enthusiasts, especially weekend home bartenders is that it is not a spirits-inspired drink. The vodka and tomato juice create a black canvas where someone has the opportunity to exercise freehand artistry using spices — a touch of clam juice and horseradish for some, and more black pepper for others. Bloody Mary is a concoction that does not need a jigger, instead just a touch of culinary finesse. It is to exquisite mixology what Chicken Supreme is to Le Cordon Bleu.
One important thing to always keep in mind is that this drink is not meant to be consumed during the evening. Folks who drink Bloody Marys after the sun has set have a personality defect and should be avoided by all means. It is however a great hangover antidote, and those who consume it during the morning hours should be regarded as people of unerring discernment and great knowledge.
The ingredients include vodka (2 oz), tomato juice (4 oz), fresh lemon juice (0.25 oz), two dashes of Tabasco sauce, three dashes of Worcestershire sauce, a quarter tablespoon of horseradish, two to three dashes of celery salt, two dashes of celery bitters, pepper, salt, pint glass, and garnish.
The preparation will vary depending on your preferences. The tomato juice and the vodka are the black canvas. Start by adding these two ingredients to the pint glass. The next step is to add the other ingredients to the mix based on your preferences. Add ice and stir the drink to combine. Garnish with pickled green bean, celery rib, a lemon wedge, or anything else that you prefer. Although, the taste may vary depending on how you mix up your ingredients, the basic roots (tomato juice and vodka) shine throughout.