Cult Classics: The Bloody Mary


Someone once told a member of the Highball team that a Bloody Mary “had as much protein in it as a steak meal”. We’re fairly certain this was somewhat (read: factually) inaccurate.

However, Bloody Marys have been considered THE liquid power-remedy to put hairs on your chest for eons. Here are some actual facts about this savoury antidote in a glass:

  • The creator of the Bloody Mary was Parisian bartender, Fernand Petiot, who fashioned an early liquid format of the cocktail at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in the early 1920s. When prohibition kicked in, Petiot moved to Manhattan, and took the helm at King Cole Bar in 1934. There, he revived the recipe and added a bit of flavor in the form of Tabasco sauce, horseradish, lemon juice and celery salt. Thus, the Bloody Mary was born.

  • The name Bloody Mary is largely thought to take its name from Queen Mary I of England, nicknamed as such for her particularly brutal attempts to re-establish the Catholic Church within her realm. When Bloody Mary creator, Fernand Petiot, revealed the name of his crimson concoction, he was quickly prompted to change it to the “Red Snapper” after the bar owner’s wife, Mary, objected to the title. But, as history has proven, Red Snapper didn’t really have the right ring to it.

  • The Bloody Mary is a common hangover remedy, due to its combination of a heavy vegetable base (settles the tum), salt (replenishes lost electrolytes), and alcohol (hair of the dog to relieve head and body aches).

  • As a result, January 1st is National Bloody Mary Day in the US.

  • Variations of the Bloody Mary include (but are not limited to) the Bloody Caesar, the Michelada, the Red Eye, and the very responsible Virgin Caesar. There is even a Red Snapper. (Made with gin!)

  • Using celery sticks as a Bloody Mary garnish originated in the 1960s at Chicago’s Ambassador East Hotel. A customer received his Bloody Mary without a swizzle stick. He grabbed a stalk of celery from the relish tray to stir his Bloody Mary and it’s now a mainstay. Nowadays, you see garnishes from the more low-key green olives, peppercinis and slices of lemon to the ostentatious - think bacon-wrapped scallops, wedges of cheese and even a whole roast chicken. Sometimes all at the same time.

Craving a liquid elixir in the form of a Bloody Mary? Here’s a recipe, care of our very own Highball Manager and legendary Wellington cocktail alchemist, Riki Carter.

Bloody Mary Recipe

50ml Vodka

10ml Lemon juice

20ml Worcestershire sauce

4 dashes of Tabasco sauce

120ml Tomato juice

Salt flakes to rim the glass

Extra lemon juice to rim the glass


Ice cubes

Optional Old School: An old school recipe calls for 10mls of Fino Sherry

  • Rim the glass with lemon juice, then stand the glass upside down on a plate of flaked salt to coat the edge.

  • Add ice cubes to glass.

  • Add vodka, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces and lemon juice to glass. Add tomato juice and stir. (Add your Fino Sherry on top if you’re going old school. Riki says it’s delicious.)

  • Season with pepper to taste (we like it spicy!).

  • Garnish with a stick of celery - or your garnish of choice: a skewer of green olives, a spear of dill pickle or rasher of crispy bacon. If you’re game, try the roast chicken? Maybe leave that to the professionals…

To discover more variations on the Bloody Mary, visit Liquorland Toast.

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Andrew Stantiall