There are a number of classic cocktails that can be found in different bars and pubs today, but one stands out amongst the rest. The Bloody Mary is a lively drink like no other—one that sees people bickering over its origins on a daily basis. This hangover-cure is a mix of vodka, tomato juice, and a few extra spices, and was only brought to life thanks to prohibition and the Russian Revolution. Redmond’s favorite bar, Sam’s Tavern, has a nationally-recognized Bloody Mary that’s worth giving a try.
The earliest claims to the invention of the Bloody Mary come from Ferdinand “Pete” Petiot—a man who worked at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris around the time of the American prohibition. This French bartender was born into hospitality, as his parents had a pension, which is a type of boarding or guest house. In the 1920s when Pete was introduced to both vodka (by the escaping Russians) and tomato juice (or tomato cocktail juice on American prohibition menus), and after some experiments, he discovered a delicious combination could be made by combining these two ingredients.
One of the original names for the drink was the Bucket of Blood, named after a nightclub in Chicago that an American visitor told Pete about. It’s also claimed the American spoke of a waitress at the club who held the nickname of Bloody Mary, though this is one of several origin stories for the drink’s current name. Other stories include naming it after a friend named Mary, naming it after Queen Mary I of England, and naming it after a number of fictional characters.
Harry’s New York Bar was a famous spot in Paris—one which could boast of popular and famous American visitors on a regular basis, including Ernest Hemingway, who has laid some unproven claims of introducing the drink to Hong Kong. Eventually, Pete moved to America, and so followed the Bloody Mary. Its popularity grew, though commonly under the name Red Snapper, and the variation in the drink’s added spices began to grow.
There are a number of possible extra ingredients for the Bloody Mary, including celery salt, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, celery, lemon juice, lemon wedges, and worcestershire sauce, though there are likely others out there as well. Without the vodka and tomato juice, though, it really wouldn’t be a Bloody Mary.
There are plenty of other claims to the drink, however. Henry Zbikiewicz, a bartender at New York’s 21 Club around the time of prohibition, claims to have invented it. He has even gone so far as to say that he was arrested during prohibition and charged with making the cocktail. George Jessel, a comedian at Club 21, also has laid claims to the origins of the drink. Jessel and Petiot in particular have had their back and forths regarding the origin of the drink, with both seeing their names in newspapers connected with the beginning of the Bloody Mary. Jessel was featured by a gossip columnist, along with the simple half and half recipe, in the New York Herald Tribune. Petiot was later interviewed and quoted in The New Yorker magazine in 1964.
“I initiated the Bloody Mary of today,” he told us. “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. We serve a hundred to a hundred and fifty Bloody Marys a day here in the King Cole Room and in the other restaurants and the banquet rooms.”
Though Petiot’s story is often regarded as the true origin of the drink, there are so many variations of the drink and where it came from, with a number of claims being made by newspapers and magazines through the 1940s and beyond, that it can seem near impossible to decide which is truly accurate. The origins, though, don’t detract from the delicious and flavorful impact of the cocktail itself. The Bloody Mary, to this day, remains a fan favorite, both as a regular drink and as a hangover-cure. Though it’s been shown that the cure part is less effective than first thought, people still feel better after drinking it—so the exact science behind it isn’t a big deal.
The origins of the Bloody Mary, that salty hangover-cure godsend of vodka and tomato juice, are as murky as its contents. If you’re looking to crank your morning up a notch with an unforgettably-delicious Bloody Mary, you shouldn’t miss the modern-day iteration found at Sam’s Tavern pub in Redmond, Washington. Our Bloody Mary was named one of the best in the country by a popular vote in USA Today.
Enjoy the best beer selection and menu, and don’t forget to try our award-winning Bloody Marys at Sam’s Tavern in Redmond, Washington!
Rose M. on Yelp had some sweet 5-star words to say about our Bloody Mary and our pub overall.
The Spicy Mango Margarita and Bloody Mary with the slider are THE BEST. The slider on the Bloody Mary can be chicken, beef, or veggie, if you don’t eat meat! From the menu, I would recommend: the Eggs Broadway Burger, the Hazelnut Burger with avocado, the Southwest Salad with chicken, and the BLT with avocado. All burgers and sandwiches come with thick-cut fries (so good) which you can substitute for salad 🙂
Lindsay M. also enjoys our Bloody Mary, as she explains on Yelp with a 5-star review.
Sam’s tavern is the best! Their burgers are amazing—their fries are those yummy, thick steak fries. I always get their special Bloody Mary and my husband likes their $1 Rainer! It is the best place!