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In Bartending, what is a Bloody Mary?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
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  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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The Bloody Mary is a cocktail credited to more than one creator. Some accounts suggest George Jessel created the drink in 1939, while Fernand Petiot is thought to have improvised on the Bloody Mary Jessel by adding extra spices. The original Bloody Mary was a very simple mixture of tomato juice and vodka in equal proportions.

Today, the Bloody Mary may contain additional spices, and variations of the the base ingredients. Some versions add consommé or bouillon to the tomato juice to give the drink a more substantial amount of protein, while others substitute vegetable juices like V-8 or Snappy Tom for the more traditional plain tomato juice.

To spice up the Bloody Mary, a variety of spices or flavorings may be added. These include salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion or celery salt, and lemon juice. There are numerous versions of the Bloody Mary, including those that substitute a different alcohol for vodka. This has led to numerous variants of the original drink, including the Bloody Maria, made with tequila, and the Bloody Geisha, which substitutes sake for vodka.

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Since so many recipes exist for making the Bloody Mary, you may have to try a few to decide on your personal preference. A typical recipe is two parts vodka to three parts tomato juice, a few dashes of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, a dash of lemon juice, and a teaspoon of celery salt. The drink should be shaken vigorously so all ingredients are mixed, then poured into a tall glass, and garnished with a celery stalk. You can get creative and add other garnishes like lemon slices, or cubed vegetables for a little more flair.

One disadvantage of the Bloody Mary is that most commercial versions of tomato juice have a high salt content. This salt mixed with alcohol can create problems with water retention. You can look for low salt tomato or vegetable juice at stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods, but they may require a bit of additional spicing so they don’t taste sour.

Like many mixed drinks, the Bloody Mary has non-alcoholic versions, sometimes called Virgin Marys or Bloody Shames. These recipes simply omit the vodka and add a bit more tomato juice. A low salt version of a Virgin Mary can actually be a healthy drink.

Although the Bloody Mary is often served as a morning drink, with either breakfast or brunch, this doesn’t mean you need to serve it exclusively in the morning. They can make an excellent accompaniment to Mexican food, or to any egg based dishes like quiche, which can be served at any time of the day.

What intrigues most people about the Bloody Mary is how the drink got such a violent name. Most connect the name to Queen Mary I of England, whose reign was short and somewhat vicious, as she relentlessly put to death over 500 Protestants. Others suggest Mary, Queen of Scots more aptly inspires the name because she was beheaded. In any case, the sanguine appearance of the drink does evoke the idea of blood.

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snappy
Post 1

No mention of the clam juice! I thought one of the essential ingredients to a Bloody Mary was the clam juice.

Never thought of it as a breakfast drink, but I have been told that drinking a Bloody Mary the next morning is supposed to help a hangover.

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