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The Bloody Mary, a popular cocktail known for its bold and savory flavors, has a mysterious origin intertwined with the glamour of Hollywood and the creativity of bartenders. While Fernand Petiot is often credited with its creation in the 1920s at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, a deeper exploration reveals that the roots of this iconic cocktail may extend further back to George Jessel, a Hollywood star of the 1920s-1950s. As the narrative unfolds, it becomes evident that the true genesis of the Bloody Mary is a fascinating blend of history, creativity, and a dash of Hollywood glamour.
The creation of the Bloody Mary has long been shrouded in ambiguity, with multiple claimants vying for the title of its inventor. Fernand Petiot’s name frequently emerges as the frontrunner, as he was a young bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris during the 1920s. However, a closer examination suggests that Petiot’s contribution might have been more of a refinement rather than an original creation. It was during his tenure at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City in the 1940s that he is said to have added the essential ingredients that define the Bloody Mary today.
On the other hand, George Jessel, a prominent Hollywood figure of the time, presents a compelling case as the true originator of the cocktail. Jessel was known for his extravagant lifestyle and was a frequent patron of bars and clubs. Legend has it that he concocted the first-ever Bloody Mary and even bestowed the name upon his favorite drink. The exact details of Jessel’s recipe may be lost to time, but his influence on the cocktail’s development is undeniable.
Regardless of its disputed origins, the Bloody Mary has stood the test of time as a beloved and enduring cocktail. Its distinctive flavor profile is crafted through a meticulous combination of ingredients that create a savory and satisfying drink. The classic recipe comprises vodka, tomato juice, fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper.
The use of vodka provides a neutral base that allows the other flavors to shine. Tomato juice, with its rich and robust taste, forms the backbone of the cocktail, contributing to its signature red hue. Fresh lemon juice adds a touch of acidity, balancing the flavors and enhancing the overall brightness of the drink. Worcestershire sauce injects a layer of umami, while tabasco sauce introduces a subtle heat. A pinch of salt and black pepper completes the ensemble, elevating the cocktail with a hint of seasoning.
Over the years, the Bloody Mary has undergone various interpretations and adaptations, with mixologists around the world putting their unique spins on the classic recipe. The versatility of the cocktail allows for endless experimentation, leading to the creation of regional variations and specialty renditions.
Some variations include the use of flavored vodkas, infusions of herbs and spices, or the incorporation of unconventional garnishes. The Bloody Mary has become a canvas for creativity, a testament to its enduring popularity and adaptability in the ever-evolving world of mixology.
120 ml tomato juice
15 ml fresh lemon juice
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch black pepper
Garnish: celery stick
Add the vodka, tomato juice, fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper into a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and shake for 10-15 seconds, until chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass, over ice.
Garnish with a celery stick.