Bloody Mary cocktail: an oldie but a goodie


Known for its perfect flavour balance of savoury and spicy, with a little bit of sweetness, the Bloody Mary is a cocktail that was designed with 11h00 on Sunday in mind.

The epitome of an oldie but a goodie The Bloody Mary was created almost a century ago although the precise facts of its origins are fiercely argued.

As the saying goes, “victory has many fathers but defeat is an orphan”, and in this case, it is no different – claims to this successful creation are staked by many on both sides of the Atlantic ocean.

Fernand Petiot claimed that he invented the drink in 1920 at Harry’s New York bar in Paris. This was a time when Americans and Russians flocked to Europe to respectively escape the prohibition laws and the rise of communism.

Both parties are credited for the main ingredients – the Americans brought tinned tomato juice to the continent and the Russians of course vodka.

Others taking credit for the invention include both the bartender and the patron of New York’s 21 Club.

Whilst the delicious concoction has merits in its own right we think what probably helped secure the Bloody Mary’s place on bar menus to this day is the 1950’s Smirnoff vodka advert featuring the patron of the 21 Club, legendary entertainer George Jessel.

The ad noted that the juice in the Bloody Mary is “for the body” and the vodka “for the spirit”. Could be that this is where we get the notion of the drink as a hangover cure – the Sunday morning ritual to reinvigorate and nurse us back to life.

Nevertheless, the ingredients in your Bloody Mary are indeed loaded with detoxifying properties. You get a rejuvenating dose of antioxidants and a lycopene injection from the tomato juice and a healthy boost of vitamin C from the citrus juice.

Add horseradish packed with glucosinolates, compounds that increase your liver’s digestion of carcinogens, and a fibre-and-electrolyte-packed stalk of celery and your Sunday morning Bloody Mary is as good as a day at the spa.

Bloody Mary Recipe

Serves 1

50 ml Hope Vodka

100 ml tomato juice

25 ml lemon juice

a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)

a few dashes of Tabasco (to taste)

pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

Olives and peppadews (to serve)

Add plenty of ice and all of your ingredients to a shaker or stirring glass. If you’re using a shaker, tilt it backwards and forwards a few times to mix the ingredients without making the drink frothy. If you’re stirring, you can do so vigorously.

Pour the mix into a glass. Top up with fresh ice if it’s not quite full. Add your garnishes. Any fresh herbs, olives and a celery stick work well. Tip: if you’re making Bloody Marys for a group of people, make a jug without spice and let people add their own Tabasco. Some like it hot, others not so much!

Thanks to Hope Distillery for sharing their recipe for this cocktail classic. 

Photography: Kleinjan Groenewald 

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