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The RL Holiday Mary, handsomely served at the King Cole Bar and Salon inside the St. Regis New York

The iconic cocktail gets a refresh from the place where
it first flourished

he Bloody Mary implies a certain amount of virtue. People who wouldn’t dream of having a martini before 6 p.m. have no issues hoisting a Bloody Mary before noon. It even feels healthy—for some of us, it may be the only time we ever eat celery. And the holiday season (like any season, really) is the perfect time to have one. The colors are appropriately festive, and a month of holiday parties makes a go-to hair of the dog essential.

The modern Bloody Mary can be credited to Fernand Petiot, a bartender at the St. Regis New York hotel. Perfected in 1934, his recipe included a dash of lemon juice, celery salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce, along with vodka and tomato juice. After combining the ingredients, he shook them and then strained the mixture over ice, serving the cocktail with a slice of lemon. To borrow the words of Winston Churchill, rarely has so much been owed by so many to so few.

The holiday season (like any season, really) is the perfect time
to have a Bloody Mary.

For those who summon the fortitude to make one at home, “don’t be shy on the spices—except for the cayenne,” says Bill Dante, a bartender at the King Cole Bar and Salon in the St. Regis New York. “Too much of that and it’s the only thing you taste.”

Our advice? Just head to the King Cole Bar, where they’re serving the RL Holiday Mary (you’ll have to ask for it by name), which has a special holiday twist. Or just check out the how-to video and full recipe below.



RL Holiday Mary
2 scoops of ice cubes
1 oz. vodka
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 splash of lemon juice
1 dash cayenne pepper
2 dashes celery salt
2 dashes black pepper
2 oz. tomato juice
1 lemon wedge
1 sprig of holly

Combine all of the ingredients in a glass. Transfer them to a shaker, gently shake the contents and then pour the concoction back into the glass. Squeeze a bit of the juice from the lemon wedge into the glass, and then garnish the cocktail with the lemon wedge and the sprig of holly.


David Coggins is a writer and editor who has done his share of daytime drinking. He lives in New York and is working on his first book.

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