A Bloody Mary is a cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and other spices and flavorings including Worcestershire sauce, hot sauces, garlic, herbs, horseradish, celery, olives, pickled vegetables, salt, black pepper, lemon juice, lime juice and celery salt. Some versions of the drink, such as the “surf ‘n turf” Bloody Mary, include shrimp and bacon as garnishes. In the United States, it is usually consumed in the morning or early afternoon, and is popular as a hangover cure.
The Bloody Mary was invented in the 1920s or 1930s. There are various theories as to the origin of the drink and its name. It has many variants, most notably the red snapper (also called Bloody Margaret), the Virgin Mary, the Caesar, and the Michelada.
The French bartender Fernand Petiot claimed to have invented the Bloody Mary in 1921, well before any of the later claims. He was working at the New York Bar in Paris at the time, which later became Harry’s New York Bar, a frequent Paris hangout for Ernest Hemingway and other American migrants. The original cocktail is said to have been created on the spur of the moment, according to the bar’s own traditions, consisting only of vodka and tomato juice. This cocktail was originally referred to as a “Bucket of Blood”. Harry’s Bar also claims to have created numerous other classic cocktails, including the White Lady and the Side Car.
In the United States, the Bloody Mary is a common “hair of the dog” drink, reputed to cure hangovers with its combination of a heavy vegetable base (to settle the stomach), salt (to replenish lost electrolytes), and alcohol (to relieve head and body aches). Bloody Mary enthusiasts enjoy some relief from the numbing effects of the alcohol, as well as the placebo effect. Its reputation as a restorative beverage contributes to the popularity of the Bloody Mary in the morning and early afternoon, especially at brunches.
The Bloody Mary is traditionally served over ice in a tall glass, such as a highball, flared pint or hurricane glass. The two critical ingredients, vodka and tomato juice, are relatively simple; however, the drink almost never consists of these two ingredients alone. Among the more common additions to the juice base are salt or celery salt (either mixed in or as a salted rim), cracked pepper, hot sauce (such as Tabasco), citrus juices (especially lemon or lime), Worcestershire sauce, celery seed, horseradish, clam juice or olive brine, brown sugar or molasses, or bitters. Some or all of these ingredients can come pre-mixed with the tomato juice as a single “Bloody Mary mix” to which the vodka is added, or the drink may be hand-constructed by the bartender from raw ingredients according to the patron’s preference. A common garnish is a celery stalk when served in a tall glass; other common garnishes include olives, cheese cubes, a dill pickle spear, lemon wedges, dried sausage, bacon, and shrimp (as the taste of the drink is often reminiscent of shrimp cocktail sauce).
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