A Bloody Mary is a popular cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and usually other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, beef consomme or bouillon, horseradish, celery, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and celery salt.
The origin of the Bloody Mary is disputed. Fernand Petiot is said to have invented the drink in 1920 while working at Harry's Bar in Paris, France, a frequent hangout for Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriots. This is still the story at Harry's in Paris today. Another story is that it was originally created by George Jessel around 1939. Lucius Beebe, in his gossip column "This New York" (New York Herald Tribune, December 2, 1939, page 9), printed one of the earliest US references to this drink, along with the original recipe: "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."
Some claim Fernand Petiot corroborates that George Jessel first created the drink and name, and that he (Petiot) merely added the spices to the plain vodka and tomato juice drink, based on a quote from the New Yorker Magazine, July 1964:
“I initiated the Bloody Mary of today,” he told us. “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.”
Origin of the term
"Bloody Mary" is associated with a number of historical (particularly Queen Mary I of England
) and fictional women, especially from folklore
. It is believed that inspiration for the cocktail was the Hollywood star Mary Pickford
who earlier had a similar cocktail consisting of rum, Grenadine and Maraschino named after her.
In 1934, the cocktail was called "Red Snapper" at the St. Regis Hotel, where Petriot was hired at the time. It was here that tabasco sauce was added to the drink, and the name "Bloody Mary" eventually won popularity. In the 1960s it became popular to serve the cocktail with celery due to a guest at The Pump Room at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago.
The name likely refers to the blood-like color of the cocktail.
Preparation and serving
Bloody Marys, as well as the non-alcoholic Virgin Mary, are frequently served in the morning (as are mimosas and Screwdrivers).
While there is not much complexity in mixing vodka and tomato juice, more elaborate versions of the drink have become trademarks of the bartenders who make them. A common garnish is a celery stalk when served in a tall glass, often over ice. A beer chaser may also be served with the Bloody Mary, although this varies from region to region.
Bloody Mary recipe courtesy of the New York School of Bartending:
Garnish with celery stalk.
May be shaken vigorously or stirred lazily, as desired. Garnish with a celery stalk; a skewer of olives, pickles, carrots, mushrooms, or other vegetables; or even meat or fish (salami, shrimp, etc.) and cheese (see photos). Occasionally, pickled asparagus spears or pickled beans are also used.
Prepackaged Bloody Mary mixes that combine the spicy, non-alcoholic components of a Bloody Mary are commercially available.
Variations in alcohol
Bloody Philip : Thailand Lao Khao (literally white liquor) 80 proof, rice distilled, replacing vodka in equal measure Bloody Bishop : Sherry
in equal measure to vodka Bloody Fairy, Red Fairy : Absinthe
replacing the vodka. Bloody Geisha : Sake
replacing vodka. Bloody Maria : Tequila
replacing vodka. Brown Mary or Whiskey Mary : Whiskey
replacing the vodka. Bloody Pirate : Dark rum
replacing vodka. Bloody Scotsman : Scotch
replacing vodka. Bloody Stick: Slim Jim replaces traditional celery stick. Extra hot sauce. Bloody Molly : Irish whiskey
replacing vodka. Bloody Maureen : Guinness
replacing vodka. Michelada Clementina (or simply "Chelada") : Mexican beer
replacing vodka, usually flavored with a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce
and Maggi Sauce
and Tabasco sauce
. Usually the proportion of beer equals the tomato juice. Ruddy Mary : Gin
replacing vodka. Red Eye, Calgary Red Eye, or Saskatchewan Red Eye : Beer replacing vodka, usually in a 50/50 mixture with Clamato
in place of the tomato juice. Red Hammer : Through the 1950s in the Northeastern U.S.
, 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 Snowball, Bloodball, Bloody Snowball : Bourbon
replacing the vodka, not to be confused with the Advocaat
Snowball. Named for the novel, Snowball's Chance
. Virgin Mary
, Bloody Shame, or Bloody Virgin : Without alcohol; the second term is commonly used in Australia.
Variations in mixers
Bloody Bull : 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 Restaurants
. Bull Shot : Beef bouillon
or beef consomme
in place of tomato juice
. It may also contain salt, pepper, lemon juice
, Tabasco sauce
and Worcestershire sauce
, Bloody Caesar, Bloody Clam, Red Wings 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 Bloody LeRoy : Barbecue sauce
replacing tomato juice. Invented by the Reverend Horton Heat
and Gibby Haynes
during the recording of The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat
, which Haynes was producing.
Variation in drink format
Frozen Bloody Mary : Placed in a blender with ice. Bloody Margaret : Similar to a Frozen Bloody Mary, but including milk or cream and served like a margarita, with a celery stick and/or a shrimp. A Virgin Margaret is a summertime drink inspired by the Orange Julius
. 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". (Be sure to use a ceramic mug to avoid shattered glass)
Variations in garnishes
, and especially Green Bay
, Bloody Mary drinks are often garnished with pickles, mushrooms, olives, and brussel sprouts
Bloodless Mary : Without tomato juice Bleeding Mary : Without tomato juice, 1:1 tabasco to vodka. Screaming Emo : Traditional Bloody Mary, but with a habanero pepper
added to it for more heat. Screw Mary : Equal parts vodka, orange juice, and tomato juice or V8, spiced to taste.
In Popular Culture
- News anchor Tom Tucker of the series Family Guy makes a slip up on TV and claims "I guess I've had one too many Bloody Marys this morning."
- In the movie Clifford Uncle Martin drinks a Bloody Mary, not knowing that his nephew has added a large amount of Tabasco Sauce to it.
- In the first episode of Cowboy Bebop, Asteroid Blues, a woman orders a Bloody Mary at the bar.
- Bloody Mary is the name of the Tonkinese grass-skirt seller from the Broadway musical South Pacific.
- In the series Frasier the main characters of the show are seen drinking Bloody Marys during a lunch.