When you think of brunch cocktails, the first one to pop in your mind is the Bloody Mary.
This infamously named drink made extra spicy with Worcestershire sauce is everyone’s go to, late on a Sunday morning.
But stop and consider this; where did the tangy drink get its spooky name from? Or why did someone think it was a good idea to add hot sauce in a drink?
Now that your mind is swimming with these questions, let's give you the answers!
Mary’s Many Inventors
Concocted over a 100 years ago, the Bloody Mary has various theories as to its origin.
The most notable one though, belongs to Fernand Petiot who claimed to have invented it in 1921 at the New York bar in Paris. Later, re-christened as Harry’s New York Bar, the place was frequented by the likes of Earnest Hemingway (we’ll come back to him later) and others. Petiot or ‘Pete’ said it was more of a spur-of-the-moment decision where he mixed up a quick drink consisting of vodka and tomato juice.
However, New York’s 21 Club is also a strong contender for the invention of the Bloody Mary. The bar has not one but two claims which it uses to its credits. One of them claims it was invented in the 1930s by a bartender named Henry Zbikiewicz, who was charged with mixing Bloody Marys and the other gives credit to comedian George Jessel. Jessel who was a regular at 21 Club even appeared in an ad for Smirnoff in the 1950s that read “I, George Jessel, Invented the Bloody Mary.”
Pete, upon hearing this affirmed that while Jessel may have introduced the vodka and tomato juice, but that he had turned it into the popular drink of today. In order to switch things up, he went on to a layer of black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and ice to the original recipe. Whew!
Later, writer Ernest Hemingway helped popularise the Bloody Mary by adding his own twist to it. In a letter signed April 5, 1947, he penned down a recipe for a pitcher of the cocktail with Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, celery salt, and hot sauce!
What’s In A Name?
The history behind its name is just as puzzling as its origin. Some say that it’s a reference to Queen Mary Tudor, of England and Ireland. Queen Mary I, who ruled from 1553 until her death in 1558, is remembered for her for the ways in which she brutally executed the martyrs, which posthumously earned her the nickname Bloody Mary. Some believe the inspiration for the name was Hollywood star Mary Pickford while some say it was named after a waitress called Mary who worked at a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood.
A Galore Of Garnishes
Using a celery stick to garnish a Bloody Mary originated accidentally in the 1960s at Chicago’s Ambassador East Hotel when customer received his Bloody Mary without a stirrer. He grabbed a celery stalk from the relish tray to stir his drink and thus, history was created. Other common garnishes include olives, cheese, a dill pickle, lemon wedges, dried sausage, and even shrimp.
A Dedicated Day
National Bloody Mary Day is celebrated annually on January 1st in the USA.
And, if you wish to make this delicious, yet simple drink at home, we have just the right recipe for you!
Read on and remember to DRINK RESPONSIBLY.
45ml Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
150 ml tomato juice
Celery stalk, for garnish
1. Fill a highball glass with cubed ice.
2. Pour Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka and tomato juice along with the Worcestershire sauce into the glass.
3. Stir thoroughly and garnish with the celery stick.
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