I love Bloody Mary’s. Who doesn’t like breakfast and alcohol in the same drink? Just found out that a Bloody Mary is considered to be a “hair of the dog” drink that is consumed with the express purpose of lessening a hangover. Basically, a hangover cure.
In my quest to find the best and most traditional recipe, I discovered that the drink has a contentious history. No one really knows where it originated. The most plausible and oft-quoted story involves Fernand Petiot, a bar tender working at the New York Bar in Paris, invented it in 1921. However, it was not transformed into the brunch drink we know today until he was at the St. Regis hotel in NYC in 1933, where he added the special ingredient Tabasco sauce.
It is also possible that a comedian by the name George Jessel who frequented the 21 Club invented it and Petiot simply added the finishing touches in 1939. It seems the original version of the Bloody Mary was simply a 50/50 vodka/tomato juice mix without any of the ingredients fancy ingredients.
As for a “standard” recipe, I think that’s just a laughable notion. BM is probably the most experimented cocktail next to the martini based on the literally 10s (maybe even 100s) of variations that I found on the Internets. Here’s the most classic recipe I could find (warning, it’s not as awesome as we have come to know it):
1 oz. vodka
3 oz. tomato juice
1 oz. lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
Celery stick (optional)
Combine the ingredients over large ice (so it doesn’t become a watery mess) in a highball glass and stir to ensure even mixing.
That’s it. No Tabasco, Worchestershire sauce, rimming the glass with celery salt, or anything else.
So I made myself one just for shits & giggles, even though I had all the pre-requisite ingredients.
With none of the complex flavours of Tabasco and Worchestershire, the classic version of the drink had lost its potency. What makes BM the tipple of choice for me is the harmonious blend of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour. The classic version has the saltiness and sourness, but lacks the oomphf to make it stand out.
I plan on making my way through some of the variations I have seen on the net to come up with my personal favourite. But I would encourage everyone to try the classic version just to be able to appreciate the more contemporary, modernist versions.