Bloody Mary cocktail: recipe and origin

Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary

The popular “Bucket of Blood” recipe got a new name – Bloody Mary, in the 1930s. The true origins of the Bloody Mary cocktail are unclear, with various stories surrounding its invention. Some believe it was created by Fernand Petiot at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, while others credit Henry Zbikiewicz at the 21 Club in New York City. Another popular theory suggests that Ernest Hemingway requested a cocktail that could mask the scent of vodka on his breath from his wife. Regardless of its origins, the Bloody Mary remains a beloved cocktail around the world.

Bloody Mary origin version 1

The Bloody Mary cocktail may seem like an odd combination of vodka and tomato juice, but it was first mixed by Fernand Petiot at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. This bar is a time capsule from 1911, featuring a polished Mahogany bar that was carefully taken apart on 7th avenue in Manhattan and reconstructed in Paris on the Rue Daunou. It’s rumored that Petiot mixed the cocktail because Ernest Hemingway needed a morning drink that wouldn’t give him away to his wife with vodka breath.


Originally, the cocktail was called the “Bucket of Blood” but was later renamed the Bloody Mary, possibly after the English monarch Queen Mary Tudor, who tried to force Catholicism back into England, causing mass bloodshed. The name is a more palatable version of Petiot’s original name for the drink.

Bloody Mary origin version 2

According to some sources, the New York 21 Club has two claims to the origin of the Bloody Mary. Their bartender, Henry Zbikiewicz, began mixing tomato juice and vodka in the early 1930s, which would make the origin of the cocktail a bit earlier than at Harry’s New York Bar. However, Fernand Petiot, the bartender who created the Bloody Mary at Harry’s New York Bar, disagrees with the 21 Club’s claim and described his cocktail in an article with The New Yorker in 1964.

Bloody Mary origin version 3

George Jessel, a famous comedian from the 1920s and 1930s, also claimed to have invented the bloody mary. Although his claim is considered the weakest among the many bartenders who have claimed to invent the cocktail. According to an apocryphal story, in 1927, while nursing a hangover at 8 a.m., Jessel mixed potato vodka, tomato juice, and an assortment of spices behind the bar. Socialite Mary Brown Warburton walked in wearing a white gown from the night before and was handed a glass, which she spilled down the front of her dress. She then exclaimed, “Now you can call me Bloody Mary, George!”

Here’s a simple recipe of Bloody Mary cocktail.


  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ice cubes
  •  ¾ cup spicy tomato-vegetable juice
  •  1.5 oz vodka
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  •  1 dash hot pepper sauce
  •  salt and black pepper
  • 1 celery stalk
  • ¼ lemon (freshly squeezed)
  • 2 garlic-stuffed green olives on a toothpick Bloody Mary cocktail
Bloody Mary calories
Bloody Mary calories

How to make Bloody Mary cocktail

  1. Sprinkle salt onto a small plate. Dampen the glass rim and press it into the salt. Fill the glass with ice.
  2. Fill a shaker with ice, add tomato-vegetable juice, vodka, sauces, salt and pepper. Shake well for about 20 seconds.
  3. Strain the mix into the prepared glass. Garnish with celery and olives.

In conclusion, the origin of the Bloody Mary cocktail remains a mystery with several stories surrounding its invention. Whether it was Fernand Petiot at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, Henry Zbikiewicz at the 21 Club in New York City, or George Jessel, the beloved cocktail has remained a popular choice for many cocktail enthusiasts around the world. The recipe for the Bloody Mary cocktail is relatively simple, with spicy tomato-vegetable juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce among its key ingredients. Regardless of its origin, the Bloody Mary is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time and is sure to remain a favorite for years to come.

Bloody Mary cocktail