The name “Bloody Mary” is associated with a number of historical figures, particularly Queen Mary I of England.  Some drink aficionados believe the inspiration for the name was Hollywood star Mary Pickford. Others trace the name to a waitress named Mary who worked at a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood

One popular story is in the 1920’s, an American bartender, Fernand Petiot, mixed up equal parts of tomato juice and vodka at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. He had no idea that his concoction would become world famous when he agreed with a gentlemen at the bar who suggested he call the drink “Bloody Mary

In 1934, Petiot moved to the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, and brought the recipe with him. The hotel managers tried to change the name to Red Snapper, but it didn’t stick.

Sophisticated New Yorkers weren’t too impressed at first. They said the drink tasted a bit bland, and they asked Petiot to spice it up. He added black pepper, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and–for those who wanted more spirit–a generous splash of TABASCO pepper sauce. And that’s how an American classic was born.

In the United States, Bloody Mary’s are usually consumed in the morning or early afternoon, and can be very popular as a hangover cure.

Bloody Mary’s have continue to evolve since its early history, and making the perfect Bloody Mary, like most things, involves personal taste.   

At The Gold Dust Saloon, we feature a Build your own Mary Bar every Saturday from 9am-noon, and Sunday from 11am-2pm.  We feature as many choices as possible to make yourself the perfect Bloody Mary.

We start with the glass.  We serve our Bloody Mary’s in pint glasses and offer a plain glass, salted or spicy salted rimmed glass.  Next, you “pick your poison”

With the strong selection of flavored vodkas produced today, we offer Absolut Lime, Cilantro or Peppar, along with Breckenridge Chile Vodka, or St. George Chile Vodka (a little sweeter).  Don’t want a flavor, we offer regular Absolut or Breckenridge. Want to make a Bloody Maria?  Great!  We offer either Hornitos Reposado or Luna Azul Blanco Tequila.

Next is your choice of juices.  We offer a regular vegetable juice, which is perfect if you wish to “doctor” up the drink yourself with our choice of sauces.  We also offer a spicy juice, a secret recipe that was created by one of our owners. This has enough horseradish and Tabasco in it to satisfy your need for some spice.  Currently we also offer an Italian juice, another secret recipe, which has a more modest spice profile. We have offered a smoked tomato juice which will return in late spring.  Some recipes with this result in a more “meaty” and citrus flavor, which is delicious.

Next month, we will discuss sauces and seasonings along with garnishes for the drink.