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Bloody Mary Cocktail Timeline

1926: Fernand Petiot, an American bartender at Harry's New York Bar in Paris mixes equal parts tomato juice and vodka. Petiot says: "One of the boys suggested we call the drink 'Bloody Mary' because it reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, and a girl there named Mary."

1927: This is the year that George Jessel claims to have invented the Bloody Mary in his Palm Beach home. He claims the name happened when his friend Mary spilled some of the concoction on her shirt and she said, "Now, you can call me Bloody Mary, George!"

1934: Petiot moves to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis in New York. His drink becomes popular with New Yorkers but something is missing. The hotel asks him to change the name to the Red Snapper, but it doesn't catch on and it is again called the Bloody Mary. His patrons encourage him to make the drink spicy, so he adds cayenne pepper, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, and a big dash of Tabasco® sauce. The recipe is a hit.

March 30, 1956: George Jessel takes out an ad in Collier's that reads: “I think I invented The Bloody Mary, Red Snapper, Tomato Pickup or Morning Glory. It happened on a Night before a Day and I felt I should take some good, nourishing tomato juice, but what I really wanted was some of your good Smirnoff Vodka. So I mixed them together, the juice for body and the vodka for spirit, and if I wasn't the first ever, I was the happiest ever.”

Aug. 15, 1956: The Bloody Mary is mentioned in Punch magazine: "Those two ... are eating raw steaks and drinking Bloody Marys.”

July 18, 1964: Petiot tells the New Yorker: "I initiated the Bloody Mary of today. George Jessel said he created it, but it was really nothing but vodka and tomato juice when I took it over. I cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, two dashes of black pepper, two dashes of cayenne pepper, and a layer of Worcestershire sauce; I then add a dash of lemon juice and some cracked ice, put in two ounces of vodka and two ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour. We serve a hundred to a hundred and fifty Bloody Marys a day here in the King Cole Room and in the other restaurants and the banquet rooms."

Jan. 8, 1975: Petiot dies in San Francisco.

1976: The McIlhenny Company introduces Tabasco® Bloody Mary Mix.


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