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Posted on July 18, 2019

A Brunch Staple: Where Did the Bloody Mary Come From?

The Bloody Mary, known for its savory and spicy hangover-curing properties (or so they say), is one of the most common cocktails consumed during the morning hours. But did you know that its roots take it back to the 1920s in Paris, France?

An American Bartender in a Paris Bar

Although there are many theories as to the origin of the famous cocktail, it is claimed to have been invented in Paris, France in 1920 by an American bartender named Fernand ‘Pete’ Petiot who worked at Harry’s New York Bar. Petiot started working at the bar at a young age as a kitchen hand and made his way up to becoming a bartender. It was here that Petioit claimed the Bloody Mary was created.

The Russian Revolution and Prohibition in the U.S. ⎼ A match made in heaven for Paris?

If it wasn’t for the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Russian Revolution, there would be no Bloody Mary. In the 1920s, Russians were fleeing the Revolution and Americans were fleeing the Prohibition. Russian émigrés began arriving in Paris and brought with them vodka and caviar. Petiot began experimenting with the new spirit, which he found to be very bland. During this time, Petiot was also introduced to American canned tomato juice. After some time, he decided to combine the two with some seasonings and the rest was history.

In 1933, Vincent Astor brought Petiot to the King Cole Bar at the St. Régis Hotel in New York where they served the cocktail using gin under a different name called ‘The Red Snapper’. The King Cole Bar still stands today and serves about 850 Red Snappers each month.

Bucket of Blood? The Red Snapper? Where Did Bloody Mary Get Its Name?

The origin of the Bloody Mary name remains as much of a mystery as the drink’s origins. The most common theory is the cocktail was named after Queen Mary I of England, known for her attempt to re-establish the Catholic Church in the country. In 1939, an ad campaign for the American-made vodka brand Smirnoff claimed entertainer George Jessel named the drink after his friend Mary Geraghty. It was also said to be named after a sad bar regular named Mary Brown Warburton, and a waitress named Mary from a Chicago bar called Bucket of Blood. Recipes with the name ‘Bloody Mary’ were traced back to 1946.

Whether this cocktail was named after a sad bar regular, a friend, a waitress, or a queen, we are all grateful for this now-famous brunch staple.

Try our Bistro Bloody Mary!

Featured in our new cocktail menu, our Bistro Bloody Mary is made with refreshing cucumber vodka and topped with a prosciutto-wrapped grilled shrimp. It is sure to help any hangover you might have from the night before! To try this delicious concoction, why don’t you reserve a table today? Reserve online or call 570-901-4040.