National Bloody Mary Day may be January 1, but Saturday night revelers know that a sure way to pep up on Sunday – any Sunday – is with a bit of “the hair of the dog,” most often a Bloody Mary. So, come Sunday, it's Bloody Mary Day all over again. At Cecconi's, you have the option of customizing your Mary table-side with their cart service, implemented this last December.
The drink became a classic shortly after it was invented by Fernand “Pete” Petiot in the 1920s at Harry's New York Bar in Paris. The original version was basically vodka and tomato juice; a customer suggested Petiot name it a Bloody Mary as it reminded him of a girl named Mary who worked at the Bucket of Bloody Club in Chicago.
Post-Prohibition, Petiot set up shop at the St. Regis Hotel in New York and perfected his recipe, briefly re-titling it a Red Snapper (later the name for the drink with gin) to appease the more “delicate” American sensibility. Comedian George Jessel also claimed he invented the drink and, in the 1960s, Petiot amended his own claim, saying that he was the one who spiced up Gessel's version. As always when it comes to cocktails, there seems to be an apocryphal element in every history.
While a table side cart might seem obvious, Bloody Mary devotees can see the point because every Bloody Mary drinker has her own unique way of consuming the drink. One thing everyone can agree on is that part of the Bloody Mary's appeal is that it is essentially a blank canvas on which to create your own tipple.
Thus, Cecconi's trolley cart was born, bringing this philosophy to the guests and letting them customize the drink to their exact specifications. Cecconi's starts with bar birector Chris Ojeda's tomato juice flavoring base, which is aged for two to three days. In his own distinct tweak, Ojeda switches out the celery salt in the classic recipe for celery bitters. Then, it's up to the guest. Spicy or not? Salted rim? Even a switch out from the usual vodka to gin, tequila (a Bloody Maria) or no booze at all – the Virgin Mary is perfectly acceptable.
“Our Bloody Marys are all about options,” says Ojeda. “Our house mix is aged to perfection and is a classic example of what the Bloody Mary is. The rule for Bloody Marys are that garnishes are king so the more the merrier. We have pickles flavored with dill, coriander, and mustard seed that we've sourced; house-pickled cauliflower, green beans, carrots, & okra. We also have different salts to accent with like ghost pepper salt, sea salt, and horseradish root. If something a little less spicier is your preference we add a little port to the Bloody Mary. ”
If you find you simply can't drag yourself out of the house on Sunday morning, Ojeda has supplied his recipe for you to prepare as your own spirited reviver.
Cecconi's Classic Bloody Mary
From: Chris Ojeda of Cecconi's
Makes: 1 drink
4 ounces tomato juice (Sacramento brand suggested)
½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 dashes Tabasco
1?2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch freshly ground pepper
2-3 dashes celery bitters
Fresh grated horseradish, to taste
2 ounces Grey Goose vodka
Garnishes (olives, lemon wedge, pickled vegetables, etc.)
1. Combine the tomato juice, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, sea salt, ground pepper, celery bitters, and horseradish. Stir to combine, then refrigerate for 2-3 days to allow the flavors to blend.
2. Once ready to serve, combine with 2 ounces of vodka. Serve over ice in a 12-ounce Collins glass. Garnish with a celery stick and a toothpick with olives, a lemon wedge or additions of your choice.
Lesley blogs at 12 Bottle Bar, tweets at @12BottleBar and is the author of the book “Gin: A Global History.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.