Compared to the past, sophisticated cocktail bars are increasingly frequent, those where home-made fruit-based and, not infrequently, also vegetable-based products are used. However, there is a cocktail which, already at the beginning of the last century, was a precursor of these tastes and of which today we celebrate national day, the Bloody Mary. Born in the 1920s thanks to French barman of the New York Bar Fernand Petiot or in 1939 thanks to the creativity of actor George Jessel on holiday in Palm Beach – these are the two most accredited legends – the cocktail was initially composed of only two key ingredients – vodka and tomato juice – as stated in Lucius' “This New York” column Beebe published on December 2, 1939 in the US newspaper New York Herald Tribune.
Only with time did the Bloody Mary become what we know today. In the July 1964 issue of the New Yorker Magazine, the Frenchman Fernand Petiot claimed to have played a fundamental role in the evolution of the same, adding "four large pinches of salt, two of black pepper, two of cayenne pepper" at the bottom of the glass." and a layer of Worcestershire sauce,” as well as a “splash of lemon juice and some crushed ice, […] two ounces of vodka and two of thick tomato juice.” In those days, he worked in the King Cole Room, where he served 100-150 Bloody Marys a day.
When we talk about Bloody Mary, it becomes obligatory to talk about the origin of the name, on which four more accepted hypotheses than the others have arisen. There are those who associate it with the 'bloody' Queen of England Mary Tudor I, so called for the death sentences of Protestant opponents of the re-establishment of Catholicism, those with the Hollywood star Mary Pickford, those with a bar in Chicago, the Bloody Bucket, where a waitress named Mary worked and from whom came the first two possible customers who tasted it and who, finally, to a girl named Mary buried alive by mistake, who cast a curse – the appearance of a murderous witch – to anyone who tried to pronounce 'Bloody Mary' 3 times in front of a mirror.
What is undoubted, however, is that the Bloody Mary has been the subject of numerous interpretations over the years. The most common are probably the variant with the addition of a stalk of celery - in vogue in the 1960s thanks to a guest in the "Pump Room" of the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago - the non-alcoholic Virgin Mary, the Ruddy Mary , with gin replacing vodka, and Bloody Geisha, with sake instead of the Eastern European spirit. Over time, the IBA recipe has been accompanied by numerous local interpretations and in Italy a bartender who, more than others, has shown interest in the topic is Agostino Galli of Lacerba Milano.
In his restaurant there are 11 versions on the menu: from the iconic Maria Lacerba with green Tabasco and chilli vodka to the Smockey Mary enriched with peated whiskey and salt smoked with Italian beech wood, up to the Yellow Sub – Maria, with tequila infused with yellow pepper and turmeric. The trick to preparing a good Bloody Mary is to carry out a poor dilution of the tomato juice and at the same time a great cooling and correct mixing of the ingredients in the cocktail. The best technique is therefore that of throwing which in the case of the twists proposed at Lacerba is not too intense, to avoid a result that is too liquid.
Here are the ingredients of the IBA recipe compared with those of Agostino Galli's two twists with yellow cherry tomato cream: the first alcoholic and the second non-alcoholic.
Agostino Galli – Malavoglia recipe:
Agostino Galli Recipe – There's Something About Mary: