While most people think of cocktails as beverages to be enjoyed strictly in the evening, the Bloody Mary is a rare exception to the rule.
Rather than waiting until it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, most people prefer to enjoy the bloody Mary first thing in the morning — or perhaps early afternoon, depending upon the bedtime of the previous night.
Some love the drink because of its restorative qualities, while others like its meal-in-a-glass heartiness. Whether you’re drinking it to cure a hangover or just because you love its rich and zesty flavor, you’re partaking in a drink that has become a staple in every good cocktail book.
Bartender Ferdinand “Pete” Patiot created the classic Bloody Mary in 1921 at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. He was experimenting with ways to use vodka (which was rather unpopular at the time) and newfangled American canned tomato juice.
He and a bar patron chose the name “Bloody Mary” for the red beverage, in reference to Queen Mary I of England and her violent reign. Little did they know that their gorily named creation would go on to become a brunch staple around the world.
Our old-fashioned Bloody Mary uses the absolute classic ingredients to create a zesty, savory drink that pairs perfectly with breakfast and dinner menus. The real beauty of the Bloody Mary, however, is in its adaptability. You can add a wide variety of flavors to create a cocktail that pleases your palate perfectly.
Variations on the drink are as wide-ranging as those who enjoy drinking it. The list of optional additions includes soy sauce, balsamic syrup, sriracha, steak sauce, beer, barbecue sauce, pickles, fennel, cilantro, orange juice, molasses, fennel and bitters. Your only limit is pretty much just your imagination.
The Bloody Mary also has a few sister cocktails around the world. In Canada, she is often known as the bloody Caesar and is made by adding clam juice. In Mexico, tequila spikes the Bloody Maria, which may contain orange or pineapple juice, too. Some people enjoy a variation called the bloody bull, which contains beef broth.
Traditionally, a Bloody Mary is served in a highball glass with a lemon wedge, olives or a celery stalk. In recent years, the range and size of garnishes have grown exponentially, to create a miniature meal on the side of the glass. You can find the drink served with everything from mini-hamburgers to nachos to sausages to popcorn.
Some restaurants serve the drink with a small steak and some potatoes on top of the glass; others go with seafood, such as softshell crabs. And for the kid inside, grilled cheese sandwich garnishes pair with the tomatoey drink in some places.
Our Bloody Mary recipe features bold flavors, both in the glass and along the rim.
So enjoy the classic form, or make your own masterpiece! No matter how you choose to build your perfect Bloody Mary, you’ll find it a nice way to savor your Sunday morning.
Classic bloody Mary
Serves 1 cocktail
- 1 lime wedge
- 2 ounces good-quality vodka
- 4 ounces tomato juice
- 2 dashes hot sauce
- 1-1/2 teaspoons horseradish
- 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon celery salt
- 1 dash ground black pepper
- 1 dash smokey paprika
- 1 celery stalk
- Sprig of parsley (for garnish)
- 1 lime wedge (for garnish)
- 2 large green olives (for garnish)
- Pour celery salt onto small plate.
- Rub juicy side of lime wedge around lip of tall glass.
- Roll outer edge of glass in celery salt until fully coated.
- Fill glass with ice. Set aside.
- Squeeze lime wedges into shaker and drop them in.
- Add vodka, tomato juice, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and smoky paprika to shaker. Fill with ice.
- Shake gently and strain into prepared glass.
- Garnish with celery stalk and large sprig of parsley.
- Finish with spear containing lime wedge sandwiched between two large green olives.
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