The Bloody Mary has been around for as long as we know. According to history there are three people who claim the fame to the creation of this infamous cocktail. Dating back to the 30’s, a New York club called 21 Club became known for its claims to the Bloody Mary. Not one, but two people from 21 Club are said to have attributed to the invention of the Bloody Mary. Bartender, Henry Zbikiewicz and comedian, George Jessel were cited in a 1939 gossip column as both attributing to the “half tomato juice, half vodka drink”.
The mixture dates back even further to 1921 when Fernand Petiot claimed to have invented the Bloody Mary while working in a Paris bar called the New York Bar which was later renamed, Harry’s New York Bar. Petiot spoke to The New Yorker in 1964 regarding the 1939 gossip column. He stated “I initiated the Bloody Mary of today. 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.”
Where did the name “Bloody Mary” come from? Certainly the color and thickness of the drink could’ve given some ideas, I suppose. However; according to its history, “Bloody Mary” was derived from a number of historical figures such as Queen Mary I of England. It is also believed that inspiration came from Hollywood star Mary Pickford and a waitress named Mary who worked at a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood.
History has so many variables, just like this cocktail. The Bloody Mary has evolved into many different variations over the years. So many so that most bars use a pre-made Bloody Mary mix and all the bartender has to do is just add the vodka. But, if you’d like to stand out and make a Bloody Mary from scratch for your customers, here’ a recipe to try. Just remember that when using spices to always start with less then add more to taste. There’s no turning back if you add too much from the start!