As with many classic cocktails, the origins of the Bloody Mary are obscure. Some historians trace it to comedian George Jessel, who began drinking it in the 1920s as a simple combination of equal parts tomato juice and vodka. Others claim legendary bartender Fernand Petiot added the trademark horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco.
Regardless of who invented it, the Bloody Mary has become the soothing remedy to a night of revelry or a holiday season of indulgence. But in the midst of the current cocktail renaissance, bartenders are vying to outdo each other and take the drink to the next level. The days of the lone celery stick are long gone. Here are some of the most elaborate—and downright creative—versions around the county.
The Office, Delray Beach
At The Office (561-276-3600), be sure to expect the unexpected, like a Bloody Mary topped with an Angus beef slider and a mini hot dog or a meatloaf-filled grilled cheese sandwich. Chef Kelley Randall works closely with lead bartender Alain Camacho to create whimsical menu items. “We like to take familiar childhood ingredients and transform them into a fun, adult experience,” he says. “We want to break the mold and give you something you’ve never thought of before.”
Photo by Libby Vision
Blue Front, Lake Worth
Not surprising for a barbecue house, Blue Front (561-833-6651) tops its Bloody Mary with a St. Louis–style rib, which is “meatier and juicier than a baby back,” says general manager Rodney Briguglio. “We spice it up with our homemade wing sauce and use celery and blue cheese–stuffed olives as a garnish.” Originally served only at brunch, the cocktail is now one of the most popular items on the menu and is ordered several hundred times each week.
Rebel House, Boca Raton
“Our Dirty South Bloody Mary started about a year ago as a collaboration with the staff,” says Rebel House (561-353-5888) general manager Justin Dever. “It’s stacked with house-cured meats and peppers stuffed with homemade pimento cheese.” Feeling hungry? Order the premium version, which arrives on a wooden board that bears crusty bread, artisan cheeses, and an assortment of charcuterie.
O-Bo, West Palm Beach
“It all started with grilled cheese,” recalls O-Bo owner Jeffrey Thompson, but the Northwood restaurant (561-366-1185) and wine bar’s Bloody Mary quickly took on a life of its own. It can now be garnished with a grilled cheese, a pork belly BLT, a Creekstone Farms burger, seared shrimp and scallops, or the ultimate decadent combo of filet mignon and a five-ounce lobster tail.
Filthy’s, Vero Beach
“Bloody Marys were central to our transition from a smoky, punk dive bar to a smoke-craft cocktail bar,” says owner Angela Novak. Filthy’s (772-794-9512) serves Bloody Marys on Sundays from 11 a.m.-7.p.m., and the options are staggering: a dozen varieties of both vodka and hot sauce, and 25 garnishes including pickled asparagus, okra, kielbasa, and two White Castle sliders.
Photo by Libby Vision
In light of National Bloody Mary Day, we’re sharing some of our favorite Bloody Mary recipes. Enjoy!