Do you know the Bloody Mary? This cocktail made with tomato juice, vodka, and a spicy touch of tabasco, is the best choice for an aperitif or brunch. In addition, this cocktail is said to have anti-hangover properties. Whether it is true or not, what is certain is that it is a delicious cocktail, full of flavor, which also has a lot of history behind it. Will you join us to know the history and origin of the Bloody Mary?
But first, let’s see what the Bloody Mary is.
Although you probably all know it, the Bloody Mary is a cocktail made with tomato juice, vodka, a few drops of tabasco, salt and pepper. Although, as with all the recipes you can imagine, there are also a multitude of variants and versions of this cocktail. So you can find recipes in which many other ingredients are included. Although these are the basic ones.
This salty cocktail is perfect as an aperitif; and it is one of the most popular in the United States to accompany Brunch. Many claim that it is because it has a perfect ability to reduce or eliminate hangover symptoms.
And, now that we know what it is, let’s go with the history of the Bloody Mary. Or, rather, with the stories. Well, like most popular cocktails, there are many versions that revolve around its origin; and many who claim credit for its invention.
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Bloody Mary History
There are many different versions of the origin of this anti-hangover cocktail. As it happens with the most popular dishes and drinks, many are the ones who claim to be its auditory. Moreover, among stories and legends, it is difficult to find its exact origin. However, we are going to compile the most popular versions about the origin of the Bloody Mary.
Fernand Petiot History, 1921, in Paris
For the first story about this cocktail, and also the most popular and accepted, we have to go back to the 1920s in the United States. There, the first pubs and nightclubs were beginning to appear. Nightlife was becoming more and more fashionable. And with this, and the belief that alcohol impoverished people even more, and only brought misfortune and delinquency, the Prohibition Law was passed. A law that prohibited the consumption of all types of alcoholic beverages.
This drastic law left many businesses without a future. One of the most affected was undoubtedly the bars. A young jockey, also owner of one of these popular bars in Manhattan, decided to emigrate in order to continue his business. He settled in Paris, opening a bistro called New Harry York. But he soon changed the name to Harry’s Bar, the name he would later go down in history.
Harry’s Bar had already managed to carve a niche for itself among the best places in the area. Proof of this was its peculiar clientele. Regulars such as Ernest Hemingway did not miss this place. Fernand Petiot, the bartender in charge of the most exclusive drinks and cocktails, worked there. Petiot, in 1921, had already found the combination of vodka and tomato juice, a very popular drink at the bar.
The first Bloody Mary had just been born, even if it still lacked ingredients
Later, when Prohibition was abolished, Petiot went to work in New York, taking his brew with him. There he continued to serve his star drink in the King Cole Room of the St. Regis Hotel, although the drink did not succeed as he expected among New Yorkers, who considered it a somewhat bland drink.
In order for his drink to regain the same fame and popularity with which it arrived from Paris, he decided to add salt, pepper, lemon juice and Tabasco to the combination. With all its basic ingredients, the first Bloody Mary in history, as we know it today, was finally born.
In this place was baptized
At the bottom of this story about the Bloody Mary, it is said that the singer Roy Barton was a regular customer of Fernand Petiot. Barton met at Petiot’s place an exuberant woman, nicknamed Bloody Mary, who had him captivated. When the singer tasted Petiot’s cocktail, he immediately associated it with his beloved, as he said that the mixture of spicy flavors reminded him of her. So they decided to call this cocktail Bloody Mary.
Although, just as there is not only one story about its origin, there is not only one version about the origin of its name. So, this is just one of many legends.
A second, less accepted story
Around the 1940s, this drink was already very popular and had many followers. One of them was the comedian George Jessel, who drank it in all his shows, making it even more popular.
However, there are those who attribute its authorship to this comedian; or even those who claim that he himself claims its invention. Although, as we said, this story is much less accepted, and it seems clear that the inventor of the Bloody Mary was Fernand Petiot. Still, let’s get to know Jessel’s story.
According to this version of the Bloody Mary’s origin, Jessel was sampling drinks from the mini bar of the hotel where he was staying. Bored with the same drinks, he started mixing one with another until he combined tomato juice with vodka. Amazed by the tasty result, he ran to call his friend Mary who was in the next room to share with her the great discovery.
When she handed her friend a glass of the delicious concoction, she accidentally spilled it. To which Jessel exclaimed, “Bloody, Mary,” which means, “Damn it, Mary,” creating and christening this cocktail.
The Bloody Mary’s inseparable friend did not arrive until 1960
Once the cocktail was invented, its fame began to grow like foam. Many people drink it at any time of the day. But, undoubtedly, the favorite moment for the Bloody Mary is Brunch, or the aperitif. There are those who claim that, besides being a great anti-hangover remedy, it also whets the appetite.
Everything points to the fact that the cocktail, invented in 1920, gained much popularity thanks to the comedian Jessel, who in the 1940s used it in his shows.
Only 20 years later, in 1960, the fashion of serving the Bloody Mary with a celery stalk appeared.
And it was at the Ambassador Hotel, in Chicago, where it was served this way for the first time. An original detail that combines perfectly, as it has remained as an essential to serve the Bloody Mary.
Nowadays, there are many accompaniments that can be found with the Bloody Mary. Some of them even seem to be authentic works of art.
And with this we finish with the History and Origin of the Bloody Mary. What did you think? Did you know it? Do you like this drink?
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