The Perfect Bloody Mary

Who doesn’t love a Bloody Mary. Perfect for morning tailgating, prepping food for a party, or to enjoy with brunch. 

The history of the Bloody Mary is pretty incomplete. A man by the name of Fernand Petiot claimed that he invented the cocktail in the 1920s while working at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France, a frequent hangout for Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriates. According to the Frenchman, the first two customers for whom he made the drink “were from Chicago, and they say there is a bar there named the Bucket of Blood. And there is a waitress there everybody calls Bloody Mary. One of the boys said that the drink reminds him of Bloody Mary, and the name stuck.” Post a move to the States, legend states Petiot first added salt, lemon, and hot sauce sauce — now considered essential ingredients — to the Bloody Mary in order to satisfy requests from American customers for a spicier drink.

A second claim states comedian George Jessel, who frequented the 21 Club invented the drink. In 1939, Lucius Beebe printed in his gossip column This New York one of the earliest U.S. references to this drink, along with the original recipe: “George Jessel’s newest pick-me-up which is receiving attention from the town’s paragraphers is called a Bloody Mary: half tomato juice, half vodka.”

Apologies to those on “Team George,” but tomato juice and vodka is hardly a Bloody Mary.

When crafting your drink, regardless of who invented it, it is important to note that one should never use store bought Bloody Mary mix. “But why? I love Uncle Jimmy’s Backyard Salty Tomato Juice and it’s only three cents and a piece of string!” is the typical response. Even if your body is not currently in a state of hangover, you deserve better, and you can do better with minimal effort.

the perfect bloody mary

And here’s what you’ll need to make our perfect Bloody Mary:

  • Clamato Juice (tomato juice with clam juice – trust me on this one)
  • Vodka (I prefer Kettle One for my bloodies)
  • Horseradish
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco
  • Celery Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Old Bay
  • Lemon juice (fresh, please)
  • Garnishes: olive, shrimp, celery stalk (or pickled green beans)

To prepare, start with one 12oz glass, wet the edge, and coat with Old Bay.

Next, add 8oz of Clamato Juice, a heaping teaspoon of Horseradish, 3-4 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, 5 dashes of Tabasco, a shake of celery salt, and a few rotations of the black pepper grinder. Stir until the horseradish is dissolved.

Then add 2-4 ounces of Vodka, stir or shake well with ice. No one likes a warm Bloody Mary.

Finish by tossing in a green olive, jam a celery stick/pickled green bean to the bottom of the glass, and garnish with a cooked, cold shrimp (pealed, tail-on).

Now you can sit back and enjoy.



  1. I also like a good crisp pickle spear as a garnish. You should add that!

  2. This is fantastic and this recipe is spot on. One possible variation- sometimes I use 50% Old Bay and 50% Cajun Dirt seasoning. Also, infusing the vodka with a little fresh rosemary also imparts a nice herbal character.

  3. “never use store bought Bloody Mary.” Bullshit. Zing Zang is some of the best mix one can find for a bloody, often better than many homemade concoctions, and it can be purchased at Harris Teeter. Zing Zang w/ Tito’s, a dash of A-1 sauce, and a pickle spear instead of celerly…mmmmm.

  4. Hi there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I’ll send this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

  5. May I just say what a comfort to discover someone that truly understands what they are talking about on the internet. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

  6. So, I see lemon juice in the ingredient list, but not in the instructions. Where does it come in?

Leave a Reply