The Bloody Mary
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces tomato juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2-4 dashes Tabasco sauce
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
Pinch fresh cracked pepper
Pinch of kosher salt
Add ingredients to an ice-filled mixing glass and roll between the tin and glass. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with a wedge of lemon.
George was sitting in a comfortable club chair at the King Cole Bar inside the St. Regis Hotel in New York, reading the Times and enjoying a Bloody Mary. A classically-attired waiter approached his table to inquire if he cared for another cocktail. He did indeed. “The Bloody Mary was introduced to America right here at the King Cole Bar, you know,” the waiter informed George. “It was called a Red Snapper back in those days and we still call them that today.”
It turns out the man who first mixed the Bloody Mary was an American barman by the name of Fernand “Pete” Petiot, who concocted the fabulous drink while working at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris during the 1920s. When prohibition was repealed, the Astor family invited Mr. Petiot to come to New York as the head bartender of the King Cole Bar. Pete brought his Bloody Mary with him, but the name was deemed just too vulgar for the elegant bar so it became known as the Red Snapper. George also learned that vodka was relatively new to the United States so the drink was often made with gin.
“Guess I just assumed vodka was always around,” said George. “Apparently not!” said the waiter. “If you want to learn about vodka, you should swing by the Russian Tea Room.”
“Thanks; I believe I will. By the way, what’s the story behind the Maxfield Parrish mural?” George asked. “That’s a secret I can’t share with you!” the waiter replied as he served another Red Snapper to a thirsty patron.
A quick walk and George was seated at the bar in the Russian Tea Room. He ordered a flight of three vodkas and, being a man of taste, a serving of Osetra caviar with all the fixings. The bartender explained that the flight, served from the freezer in beautiful frozen crystal glasses, consisted of two Russian vodkas and one potato vodka from Sweden. George found them all delicious and great complements to the caviar, yet he was surprised at their vast differences. The bartender explained that each vodka was defined by its unique raw materials, such as grain, potatoes, or even fruit.
“So what about vodka and the United States?” George inquired while enjoying a Bellini topped with caviar and a small dollop of crème fraîche.
“Well, vodka dates back hundreds of years but really only started to show up in this country after the repeal of prohibition.” This guy knew his stuff. “In 1934 a Russian immigrant by the name of Rudolf Kunett bought the U.S. rights to the Smirnoff brand and started making vodka in America.”
The bartender went on to explain that vodka originally struggled here, but through the success of drinks like the Bloody Mary, the Moscow Mule, and the Harvey Wallbanger, vodka quickly gained popularity and today is the single most consumed spirit in America. He gave George a small taste of one of the house infused vodkas–apparently some kind of a secret recipe that tasted of honey and spice. George thanked him for his time, finished his vodka, and headed back to the King Cole Bar to find out what the King was smirking about anyway.
Interested in obtaining Tony’s services or products for your brand company, hotel or restaurant?Contact Andrea Day:
Tony Abou-Ganim’s long-awaited coffee table cocktail book, The Modern Mixologist, Classic Contemporary Cocktails, featuring 60 original recipes, personal stories and stunning color photography by Tim Turner is available on his website: themodernmixologist.com
Tony’s new line of bar tools coming out this spring!