Bloody Mary´s origins

Such a weird name

No matter how they are ordered, everyone loves a good cocktail. They have inspired world leaders, famous artists, poets, high society parties and the creativity of professional bartenders. The cocktail has merged with our popular, historical and literary culture, becoming as iconic as the men and women who immortalized them. After all, can you imagine Churchill or Hemingway without their favorites cocktails in hand? Do you wonder where your preferred drink comes from? Was the Manhattan invented there? Where is the Mojito from? Who was Tom Collins? Is Mai Thai really Hawaiian? From the classic Martini to the less known Singapore Sling, I invite you to know things that you didn´t know and that may surprise you.

Today we discover one that hides a sinister story that will not leave you indifferent: the Bloody Mary. Beyond urban legends about a ghost girl in the mirror or vampires stories, the true behind the Bloody Mary is also dark and unfortunate. Popular wisdom says that the original drink, which even then was more than just equal parts of tomato juice and vodka, was used as a cure for the hangover. It was invented by composer and producer George Jessel. He said he invented the cocktail one morning in Palm Beach, in the fifties, when he happened to mix tomato juice, lemon, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper; to recover after spending a whole night drinking. And he decided to baptize him with the peculiar name of “Bloody Mary” since the resulting color and its explosive flavor, reminded him of Queen Maria Tudor, known by the nickname of “Maria the bloodthirsty”. Due to the promotion that Jessel used to make of himself, many skeptics sought in another figure the origin of the Bloody Mary, and ended up releasing a legend that involved a barman of the St. Regis Hotel in New York, called Ferdinand “Peter” Petriot.

But what was wrong with this Mary? Queen Mary I of England had always rejected and resented the enmity with Rome and the Pope that her father King Henry VIII had instituted, with its subsequent establishment of the Anglican church born of Protestantism. Now she, as possessed by an obsession, was trying to return England to Roman Catholicism. This enterprise was achieved by force, and hundreds of Protestant leaders were executed, among them John Rogers, and the archbishop of Canterbury: Thomas Cranmer, who was responsible for the printing of the Bible. It was the year 1555 when both were burned at the stake along with copies of the Bible that had managed to print. Hundreds more would follow them, condemned under the “crime” of being Protestants, and hundreds of others would flee in what was called Marian exile; during Mary’s bloody reign of terror. This earned the queen the title of “Bloody Mary”. Impress a bit, doesn’t it? Do not miss the next post about cocktails on the Blog, and get in touch if you would like to add something and participate!


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