The Bloody Mary has to be one of the most flexible alcoholic drinks there is. You can enjoy them with breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and anything in between. You really don’t see too many people drinking a bud light or a vodka martini with their waffles and eggs do you? I say “too many” because I have had a bud light with breakfast before when I have been camping. The Bloody Mary is also great for helping with hangovers after those long nights of partying hard. The tomato juice also gives your body the Vitamin A and C it needs. So how can you go wrong drinking them! They can do so much for you.
The King Cole Bar at 2 East 55th Street, near 5th avenue in New York City is the so called place where the Bloody Mary was first introduced to America. I have also heard that it was introduced at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. The year was around 1930 and the story is that a man by the name of Fernand “Pete” Petiot was the one to introduce it at the King Cole Bar. The origin of the true place where the drink was introduced has been disputed for a long time. I read somewhere else that George Jessel created it originally in 1939 with just tomato juice and vodka, and Petiot was the one who added the spices to it to make it spicier. But today the King Cole Bar has said that they serve anywhere from 100-150 Bloody Marys a day throughout the bar and the restaurants.
I have also heard the crazy urban legend about how the Bloody Mary was named. The legend is about a woman whose name was of course Mary. She got into a bad accident that tore up her face so bad that she bled to death in her car. The legend states that if you stand in front of the mirror and say the words Bloody Mary three times, she will appear behind you all mangled up. Then when you see her you better run!
The Bloody Mary is one of those drinks where there seems to be endless possibilities on how to make them. The original way of making them is 2 shots of vodka, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, a dash of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt, and tomato juice. Nowadays people use celery salt and Tabasco in them also. You can make the drink however you like it.
Someone along the line also spiced it up a little bit more by adding horseradish sauce to the Bloody Mary. They then called them a Bloody Caeser. I personally like the regular version a lot better. Adding horseradish sauce to it tastes too much like drinking shrimp cocktail sauce to me. But a lot of people drink them that way.
People also add a lot of different varieties of ingredients to flavor them up a little bit. Some of the ingredients are seasoned salt, pickle juice, olive juice, dry sherry, wasabi and many other different things. I have bartended for ten years now and I have made a lot of different varieties of Bloody Marys. Some people even drink them with tequila or gin instead of the vodka. I had a friend who used to like theirs’ with whiskey. I tried it and I thought it tasted really bad. The tequila and gin ones were good. But to me whiskey just does not mix well with tomato juice.
The basic garnishes are usually celery, mushrooms, olives, and a pickle. I have seen places that garnished them with things like shrimp, asparagus spears, green beans, okra, radishes and brussel sprouts. There are a few bars in Wisconsin that serve their Bloody Marys with a beef stick and a cube of cheese or a piece of string cheese! I think that is my favorite. I always try to have a Bloody Mary whenever I am in a new place or on vacation, because it is interesting to see how they make it and garnish it.
In Wisconsin we also serve our Bloody Marys with a small beer chaser. I just assumed every state did it that way, until we went to a bar in Illinois. I ordered one and then I asked for a beer chaser and the bartender looked at me and said you must be from Wisconsin. I said yes I am. You know people from Wisconsin like beer with everything! And for some reason beer and tomato juice go great together.
But no matter where you go, the Bloody Mary is unique to each bar, state and bartender that makes it. You can always tell them if you like them mild or spicier too. They don’t get offended cause everyone likes theirs different. And remember if you try one in Wisconsin ask them if you can have a beef stick and cheese garnish, and don’t forget the beer chaser!