The History of the Bloody Mary Cocktail

One extremely popular cocktail (that we just so happen to be serving for only $3 on St. Patrick's Day this year at JB Hook's) is the Bloody Mary. In addition to vodka, it's full of veggies and tastes great with any meal, especially brunch. Our Lake of the Ozarks fine dining restaurant got a bit curious about the origin of this classic cocktail, and here is what we discovered. 


Bloody Mary History
As with most popular food and beverage creations, more than one person has tried to lay claim to inventing the Bloody Mary. One of these tales may be true, or quite possibly a mixture of all of them tells the real tale. 

The first story says that Fernand Petiot came up with the recipe in 1921. He was working at a bar in Paris called the New York Bar, later to become Harry's New York Bar, which was frequently visited by American expatriates, including Ernest Hemingway. It was also a popular spot for Russians that had escaped the Russian Revolution. This bar was known for creating drinks on the spot, and Petiot claims that the mixture of vodka and tomato juice was his original idea after trying to incorporate more Russian vodka into new cocktails to serve.  

Another story would have us believe that the Bloody Mary was invented at New York's 21 Club, but there are two tales connected to that bar being involved. The first gives credit to one of their bartenders from the 1930s, Henry Zbikiewicz. Others say that it was thought up by comedian George Jessel, a regular customer at the 21 Club. He was credited in one of the earliest mentions of the drink in print in a local gossip column. 

In his autobiography, "The World I Lived In," Jessel states that while looking for a hangover cure after a long night of drinking, a bartender named Charlie pulled out a bottle of liquor that he'd had for 6 years and nobody ever asked for. (It was vodka, which was not very popular in the United States yet.) Jessel had a friend that used to drink something with tomatoes in it to cure hangovers, so he requested some tomato juice and lemon to add to the liquid in the bottle.   

In 1934, Petiot was offered a job at the St. Regis Hotel in New York after some Americans had brought his Bloody Mary back to the United States. He wasn't calling it a Bloody Mary though, but rather a Red Snapper. He claims that he came up with the Bloody Mary of today by improving the original drink, adding spices and Worcestershire sauce to the recipe and mixing it all in a shaker.   


Try One at JB Hook's
Regardless of who actually gets the credit for inventing the Bloody Mary, we're all just glad that someone decided to mix vodka and tomato juice in the first place. That gave bartenders everywhere, including right here at the best bar at the Lake of the Ozarks, the base to create their own versions of this classic cocktail. 

As we mentioned above, JB Hook's will be featuring Bloody Marys as one of the drink specials for our St. Patrick's Day party on Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 1:30-6:30 pm. We will also have $2 green beer (Bud Light or Miller Lite draft,) Dublin Mules (made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, lime juice, and ginger beer.) 

We will also be hosting a free corned beef and cabbage buffet, but it's first come, first served, and once it's gone, it's gone! Joe Farrell & the Continentals will be performing in the bar area during our party. Enjoy the Lake of the Ozarks St. Patrick's Day parade, then head on over to JB Hook's for our annual holiday celebration. We'll save a Bloody Mary for you!


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2260 Bagnell Dam Blvd.
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 365-3255 

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