Learn All About the Bloody Mary - Then Come In & Make One!

When it comes to classic cocktails, the Bloody Mary is well-known worldwide and extremely popular for a variety of reasons. Many simply love a drink they can really spice up, a few truly enjoy tomato juice while others are into it for the vodka, some see it as a good hangover cure, and there are some people that use it as the perfect excuse to have a cocktail before noon! (Come on, there's juice in it after all.) 

Wicked Willie's Sports Grill is a big advocate of the Bloody Mary, so much so that we serve the best Bloody Mary at the Lake of the Ozarks in more ways than one. You will find some signature versions on our drink menu, our talented bartenders each have a favorite recipe of their own, and every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-2 pm, you get to be your own Bloody Mary chef at our weekend Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar. (Learn more about that at the end of this blog.)   

Who Created the Bloody Mary?
The one and only true origin of the Bloody Mary cocktail is a little unclear, but that's not unusual. When something tastes this good, you're bound to find more than one person claiming it was all their idea. Here are a few of the stories that we came across in our research. 

The first one claims that Fernand Petiot came up with the basic recipe in 1921 at the New York Bar in Paris. This same bar also claims to be the creator of many other classic cocktails, including the White Lady and the Side Car, and their bartenders were known for mixing up new and unique cocktails at the spur of the moment. Petiot was doing that when he threw together vodka and tomato juice. 

New York's 21 Club also is said to be the original home of the Bloody Mary, but there are two different stories surrounding that claim. One states that it was invented by a bartender at the club named Henry Zbikiewicz in the 1930s. The other account claims that George Jessel, a comedian who frequented the 21 Club, was the genius behind the new drink. Jessel was the one named in a 1939 gossip column that proclaimed the Bloody Mary to be the "newest pick-me-up" receiving a lot of attention, made from half tomato juice and half vodka. 

Before that gossip column was printed, Petiot claimed in 1934 that he invented the modern Bloody Mary when he worked at the King Cole Room in New York's St. Regis Hotel as a better version of Jessel's drink. (It was actually Petiot's granddaughter that made the first claim above that he made the original drink in 1921.) According to Wikipedia, Petiot was quoted in The New Yorker magazine in July 1964 as saying, "I initiated the Bloody Mary of today. 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."

What's in a Name?
A variety of "Marys" have been associated with this cocktail over the years. That means that much like the creator of the drink, the true namesake is unclear. Some believe that is was named after the Hollywood starlet, Mary Pickford. A few say that it was named after a waitress at a Chicago bar called the "Bucket of Blood." 

A majority of people are under the impression that the drink is named after Queen Mary I of England. She was a ruthless ruler in the mid-1550's with the nickname "Bloody Mary." They say that the tomato juice represents the blood spilled during her reign and the vodka, or "firewater," is symbolic of the queen's brutal nautre and means of executing people. 

Our Weekend Bloody Mary Bar
The basics of a Bloody Mary are vodka, tomato juice (or a special tomato-based Bloody Mary mix,) and some combination of spices such as Worcestershire sauce, hot sauces, various salts, peppers, and other seasonings. When you come into our Lake of the Ozarks sports bar for Bloody Marys any Saturday or Sunday between 11 am-2 pm, we will add the vodka of your choice to our Bloody Mary mix and hand you the glass. 

After that, you are free to add as little or as much of the extras we have set out on our Bloody Mary Bar that you like. These include spices, olives, celery, pickles and all kinds of other goodies that will help you to mix up the best Bloody Mary ever! It's always fun to see what new and unique creation each person comes up with. 

Now that you've learned the many possible origins of this classic cocktail, it's time for you to head on over to Wicked Willie's Sports Grill over the weekend and see if you can improve on all of those other Bloody Marys you've had over the years. Of course, if you prefer to leave it to the experts, our bartenders will take good care of you. 

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5384 Osage Beach Pkwy
Osage Beach, MO 65065

(573) 693-1777 


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