The untold truth of the Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is a brunch classic which has seen creative spinoffs, including garnishes that improve upon the classic celery stalk, such as burger sliders, foie gras, and even chicken wings (via Liquor).

As with many classic cocktails, the origins of the drink are muddled. However, one theory goes that around 1920, a French bartender named Ferdinand "Pete" Petiot invented the drink at a bar called Harry's New York Bar in Paris (via Travel and Leisure). At the time, many Russian immigrants were coming to Paris to escape the revolution in their native land, so vodka was becoming a more popular beverage of choice. Adding tomato sauce, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon to the newly-popular liquor, Petiot had a hit. Incidentally, author and then-journalist Ernest Hemingway used to frequent this very bar and was a fan of the concoction. 

Petiot then moved to New York, and began to work at the King Cole Bar inside the storied St. Regis Hotel, where he referred to the beverage as "The Red Snapper."

A historical reference in the Bloody Mary's name

Later, "The Red Snapper" was renamed the Bloody Mary, which some say was in homage to Mary Geraghty, a friend of American actor and singer George Jessel, though others believe that the reference is more historical. Queen Mary I of England was the first woman to hold the throne, from 1553-1558 (via History). She was given her unfortunate nickname of "Bloody Mary" due to her penchant for burning more than 300 Protestants at the stake. Some believe that the tomato juice in the drink represents the blood spilled by Queen Mary and the vodka, or firewater, represents the grisly way she put religious dissenters to death (via Liquor).

At the King Cole Bar however, the beverage is still called "The Red Snapper," and they go through some 850 servings every month. The bar uses Stolichnaya vodka, and their version of the drink is garnished with a lemon wedge and a celery stalk. Bottoms up!