Who Was Bloody Mary?


The popular brunch cocktail often proffered as a hangover cure continues to delight—or relieve—after more than 100 years.


Bartender Fernand Petiot of the legendary Parisian landmark The New York Bar (later Harry’s New York Bar) is openly acknowledged as the drink’s creator. The bar, touted as the oldest cocktail bar in Europe, is famous for its historic glittering and avant-garde clientele, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, George Gershwin, Humphrey Bogart, Coco Chanel, Rita Hayworth, and the Duke of Windsor.


Like most cultural icons, there are things about the famous cocktail’s history that are a bit, well, blurry. Such as, who was Mary?


One theory is that the bartender named it for a woman Ernest Hemingway was involved with. Speculation also pointed to a Chicago waitress, as well as Queen Mary Tudor and her bloody reign over England. It’s been suggested that Fernand Petiot named it for his friend Vladimir Smirnoff (yeah, the vodka guy), whose name American’s pronunciations muddled into “vlady mere” or “bloody Mary.”

Like most cultural icons, there are things about the famous cocktail’s history that are a bit, well, blurry. Such as, who was Mary?

A Bloody Mary recipe was first published in 1921 in the book "Harry's ABC of Cocktails.”

While the original recipe has become iconic—tomato juice, vodka, salt and pepper, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauces, and lemon juice—there are as many ways to create a Bloody Mary as there are for a “salad in a glass.”


Because I like to add fun garnishes and customize the drink for the person I serve it to, I prefer to go super simple on the drink contents. Then the fun begins.


· 1 ounce of good quality vodka

· 4 ounces of plain Bloody Mary mixer


For this Bloody Mary, I chose these garnishes: shrimp, red and green bell pepper slivers, green olives, carrot, celery, Havarti cheese, cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon, topped with a dash of steak seasoning and a sprinkle of chopped green onions. To the liquid, I added a smidgeon of horseradish.


Bloody Mary bars at brunches or afternoon gatherings allow both hostesses and guests to be creative. By setting out a variety of garnishes, guests can select their embellishments, creating unique cocktails all will enjoy.