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The Origin Of The Bloody Mary Is As Diverse As What You Can Add To It

For all those who celebrated more than they should have, National Bloody Mary Day serves up one of the world’s most popular hangover cures on January 1.

  • According to Food and Drink in American History: “Full Course” Encyclopedia by Andrew F. Smith, the Bloody Mary made its debut in Paris at The Ritz Hotel in 1921. Originally named the Bucket of Blood, it also went by the name Red Snapper. Petiot later left Paris and introduced the vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire, cayenne and salt cocktail to the New York King Cole Bar scene when prohibition ended.
  • Some attribute the name to notorious Queen Mary Tudor who executed hundreds of Protestants in the name of Catholicism during her short five-year reign from 1553 to 1558. Others claim Petiot’s girlfriend of the same name receives the credit.
  • Some drink aficionados believe the inspiration for the name was Hollywood star Mary Pickford.
  • The Bloody Mary is sometimes mistakenly believed to alleviate hangovers when it is served in the morning.  While it will temporarily alleviate some of the symptoms, it will also further dehydrate the drinker, causing the symptoms to worsen later.
  • The Bloody Mary is the US’s most popular alcoholic drink for brunch.
  • This drink has been called “The world’s most complex cocktail.”
  • The name Bloody Mary is associated with a number of historical figures; particularly Queen Mary I of England. She was nicknamed as such in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs for her methods of attempting to re-establish the Catholic Church in England.
  • Using a celery stick to garnish a Bloody Mary originated in the 1960s at Chicago’s Ambassador East Hotel. A customer received their Bloody Mary without a swizzle stick. They grabbed a stalk of celery from the relish tray to stir his Bloody Mary and history was made.
  • 1892: The Bloody Mary begins life as the Oyster Cocktail, a recipe for a warm nonalcoholic drink containing tomato juice, Tabasco, lemon juice, and oysters.
  • 1920s: The tomato juice cocktail gains popularity in the United States. It still contains no alcohol, but is often seasoned with Tabasco, lemon, or Worcestershire.
  • 1927: Actor and comedian George Jessel orders the first Bloody Mary—a half-vodka, half-tomato juice recipe supposedly concocted to help with a tough hangover from the night before.
  • 1934: Fernand Petiot takes up his role as head bartender at the St. Regis in Manhattan. Whether he creates the drink on of his own accord or based off of Jessel’s influence is unclear, but Petiot perfects the formula and propels the Bloody Mary to classic status.
  • 1950s and 60s: By this time, the Bloody Mary is a worldwide phenomenon and well-accepted brunch/hangover drink. It was also around this time that an unknown customer asked for a celery stick to help stir the drink and the celery stick garnish rose in popularity.
  • 1960s: Herb and June Taylor release Mr. and Mrs. T Bloody Mary mix and the ingredients used in a Bloody Mary are cemented in the collective consciousness.


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