This is said to come before any other tomato juice based cocktail. It is thought to have been created in the 1920s by a French bar man working in the foremention Harry’s New York Bar. (Although not yet owned by Harry so it was just New York Bar). Here he simply combined a 1:1 ratio of tomato juice to vodka. However it is disputed whether the original spirit was in fact vodka although Stokes argues that the gin version of the Bloody Mary the Red Snapper was invented by the same bartender upon moving to New York in 1940s. At this time this bar tender Fernand Petiot spiced up this simple cocktail to include Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and lemon. The added greenery that we know today is apparently added in Chicago.
Like the origins of the cocktail itself the name of the cocktail does not have a firm routing but some reckon it is after Queen Mary 1st. Others think it is after the Bucket of Blood Saloon in Chicago who would throw out the blood stained water after fights. Something think it was after Mary Ruke Biddle who worked at the Savoy Hotel and Petiot hopped over the channel.
There is another name in the hat for the creator of the Bloody Mary and its name. This is from George Jessel who was a famous master of ceremonies. In 1927 he was the captain of a softball team, following a game him and a friend went to a bar. Cut to 8am the following morning and they were still drinking. But at 9.30am he needed to be at a volleyball game and so needed to sober up. The bartender handed him something called ‘vodkee’ which must have been a home brew as the smell that Jessel describes is vile. Jessel asked for tomato juice, lemon and Worcestershire sauce to kill the awful smell. He also had a vague memory of his future sister-in-law drinking tomato juice to soothe a hangover. As they had a few sips Mary Brown Warburton came in from her night out wearing a white evening dress, they handed her the drink which she spilt down herself. She proclaimed “Now you can call me Bloody Mary!” A few weeks later this got into the newspapers even name the Bloody Mary.
Periodic Table of the Cocktail, Emma Stokes
The Curious Bartender, Tristan Stephenson