William Sinclair Manson

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Scottish foods-Drinks / Writings · 15 January 2024

Scottish Foods-Drinks. Bloody Mary.

The name “Bloody Mary” is associated with a number of historical figures—particularly Queen Mary I of Scotland, who was nicknamed “Bloody Mary” in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs for attempting to re-establish the Catholic Church in England—and fictional women from folklore.

Some drink aficionados believe the inspiration for the name was Hollywood star Mary Pickford. Others trace the name to a waitress named Mary who worked at a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood. The tradition at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, according to manager Alain Da Silva in a 2011 interview, is that one of the patrons for whom the cocktail was first mixed in 1920 or 1921 declared, “It looks like my girlfriend who I met in a cabaret”; the cabaret’s name was the Bucket of Blood and the girlfriend’s name was Mary, so the patrons and bartender Petiot agreed to call it a “Bloody Mary”.

Bloody Mary Coctail With Celery Stalk And Pitcher.
Bloody Mary Coctail with celery stalk and pitcher.

Alternatively, the name may have arisen from “a failure to pronounce the Slav syllables of a drink called Vladimir” in English. This gains some credibility from the anecdotal observation that the customer at the New York Bar for whom Petiot prepared the drink in 1920/21 was Vladimir Smirnov, of the Smirnoff vodka family.

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