The Bloody Mary is probably THE classic cocktail – vying for the title with the fantastic Martini. It is a bloody mess, to be honest – as the drink has so many different recipes and variants as part of the legacy that the original drink has lost all meaning. Some re-named variants include the Bloody Bull (with beef consommé), Bloody Joseph (with Scotch), Bloody Maria (with Tequila) and the Bloody Shame (no alcohol!).
The original Bloody Mary is wonderful – bearing little resemblance to what is usually served up nowadays in bars all over the world. As is the case with many cocktails, the origins are unclear – but the most widely accepted story is that the Bloody Mary was created in 1921 by Fernand Petiot, bartender at The New York Bar, a favourite celebrity haunt at the time. The name likely derives not from the tyrannical Queen Mary I of England but from waitress known to one of Petiot’s regulars; the drink apparently reminded them of this waitress (called Mary, in case you were wondering).
The original recipe was very similar to the following; it packs a lot more punch than modern derivatives; it is not garnished with celery as it is likely a later addition, plucked from a bartender’s observation of a woman stirring a random drink with a stick of celery. Enjoy! (in moderation).
2 shots overproof (100 proof) vodka. The most readily available is the menacing Absolut 100 (black label).
2 shots tomato juice (thick)
0.25 shot lemon juice
5 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
4 pinches salt
2 pinches Cayenne pepper
1 pinch black pepper (ground)
Combine all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and gently stir or roll to mix. Strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass, rimmed with salt and pepper. No other garnish is needed.