Why is the drink called Bloody Mary?

Answered by John Hunt

The origin of the name “Bloody Mary” for the popular cocktail has been a subject of debate and speculation for quite some time. While there are different theories surrounding its naming, two prominent explanations have emerged.

The first theory suggests that the drink was named after Queen Mary Tudor, also known as “Bloody Mary,” who reigned over England from 1553 to 1558. During her reign, Mary persecuted Protestants, earning her the moniker “Bloody Mary” due to the brutal executions that took place under her rule. Some believe that the drink was given this name to reflect the queen’s violent and bloody reign.

However, another theory suggests a different origin for the drink’s name. It is said that a man named George Jessel, a popular entertainer in the early 20th century, actually named the drink after his friend Mary Geraghty. According to a 1934 advertisement noted by Esquire, Jessel claimed to have invented the cocktail and named it after Geraghty, who was known for her fiery and spirited personality. This theory proposes a more lighthearted and personal explanation for the drink’s name.

It is worth noting that both theories have their own supporters and there is no definitive evidence to confirm either one as the true origin of the name. The debate surrounding the naming of the cocktail continues to this day, adding to its mystique and allure.

Regardless of its origin, the Bloody Mary has become an iconic and beloved cocktail around the world. Its unique combination of vodka, tomato juice, and various spices, along with the option to customize it to individual tastes, has made it a popular choice for brunches and morning cocktails. The drink’s name, whether inspired by a historical figure or a personal acquaintance, has undoubtedly contributed to its enduring popularity and intrigue.

The true reason behind why the drink is called Bloody Mary remains uncertain. While some attribute it to Queen Mary Tudor and her bloody reign, others believe it was named after George Jessel’s friend, Mary Geraghty. Theories aside, the drink’s name has certainly added to its allure and continues to fascinate cocktail enthusiasts worldwide.