Liquor Cabinet
Classic Bloody Mary
Parisian-born Fernand Petiot was working at Harry's New York Bar in the French capital until 1933, when he was offered a job at the Old King Cole Bar in New York's St. Regis Hotel. It was there that he introduced Americans to the Bloody Mary, a curious sling of vodka, tomato juice, citrus, and spices that he had been serving in Paris. His savory and spicy blend was inspired by the crude but well known hangover cure of vodka and tomato juice that comedian George Jessel popularized in Florida in 1927. While Jessel doled out pitchers of the stuff, Petiot prepared each Bloody Mary with a great amount of ceremony, dashing just the right amount of Tabasco and hand cracking pepper directly into the glass. Petiot became head bartender of the Old King Cole Bar in 1934, around the time the Bloody Mary changed names to a Red Snapper, although whether the swap was due to bourgeois outrage or something more mundane, such as owner Vincent Astor's interest in fishing, historians aren't quite sure. Its appeal, however, went well beyond curing hangovers as it became something of a fixture in suburban entertaining. This paid off in droves for George Jessel, who often took credit for having invented the drink, and served as a key player in Smirnoff's mid-century marketing campaign for the Bloody Mary. By the 1960s, the Old King Cole Bar reversed the name of the Red Snapper back to Bloody Mary, a move that rightfully returned ownership and credit of the drink back to a soon-to-be-retired Fernand Petiot.
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