The Bloody Mary

by: Kevin Stanton

A Bloody Mary is one of those drinks that everyone has their own take on. Some recipes are straight-forward, while others lean toward the extreme. Let me start by saying that the only garnish you should have on a Bloody Mary is a lemon wedge, an olive and a celery stalk. A sprinkle of Old Bay over the top is encouraged, but not necessary.

Strips of thick-cut bacon, cocktail shrimp and lobster claws are all delicious in their own right, but in my opinion none of these things belong in your glass. The purpose of a garnish is to reinforce the ingredients in the cocktail.

If you are using a garnish that has nothing to do with your drink, you are doing it wrong.

There is some debate over the first person to come up with this classic cocktail. The consensus is that it was created at the St. Regis Hotel bar, in New York City, by Fernand Petiot in 1934. The first iteration of this drink was with gin and wasn’t called a Bloody Mary, but rather a Red Snapper. It is still a staple in New York.

There are multiple versions of the Bloody Mary that use different spirits. A Bloody Maria subs out vodka for tequila or mezcal. Another version, by way of Canada, the Bloody Caesar, uses clamato juice instead of tomato juice.

The Bloody Mary is most often associated with brunch. I’m not sure if that is because it is touted as the ultimate hangover cure or because it is the only cocktail you can have at 11 a.m. without having someone look at you sideways. After all, a Bloody Mary next to your stack of pancakes is much more acceptable than a Manhattan.

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