Pete Jeary

Bloody Mary? Bloody Maria? Bloody good idea!


I don’t know about you, but this year the span from Christmas to New Year had a lot of potential for hangovers. For once though I was prepared for the silly season as I had decided that my first update of 2013 would be on the subject of everyone’s favourite morning after cure. The Bloody Mary is one of those rare ubiquitous cocktails, found on menus the world over, and known to every bartender in one form or another. But why is it such a popular drink, and how has it come to be such a well-loved cocktail?

I personally see the Bloody Mary as the ‘last man standing’ in a very old tradition of morning drinks. I’ve written before about Corpse Revivers, and it’s well documented that many cocktails started as ‘bracers, eye openers, revivers or pick-me-ups’ and yet these days the Bloody Mary is really the last remaining drink that it’s socially acceptable to be seen drinking before noon. That alone is enough to give it a fond place in most people’s heart, that and the fact that it is seen as the drink that helps you on your way to recovering from your hangover.

Love it or hate it... it's vodka!

What is it about vodka that makes it so popular? It sells by the bucket load in the UK, in fact it is the top selling spirit by a country mile. Consumers can’t seem to get enough of it and a new brand seems to launch every week. Personally I’ve never understood its popularity, dress it up any way you want (and brands find some of the most ridiculous ways to dress up a bottle of vodka these days) it still seems like pretty boring stuff to me. No colour, very little flavour, not much happening on the aroma front either. I hold it personally responsible for the bastardisation of the Martini and couldn’t tell you the last time I was even tempted to order a vodka based cocktail… It’s safe to say I’m not a huge fan of the stuff.
The bitters&twisted drinking room is fairly well stocked with most spirits, there are over 60 American whiskies, 50 or so rums, 25+ tequilas, hell I even have 25 gins to choose from, but when it comes to vodka there are currently only 5 gracing the shelves. While in the past I was quietly proud of this fact, it recently occurred to me that maybe I should at least attempt to get over this bias and see if it’s possible for me to gain an appreciation of this popular spirit.

blue blazers, batidas and bartenders of the year?

It turns out that creating a huge database of drinks recipes and spirits is thirsty work, so we decided to reward ourselves for our recent efforts by wandering around East London and having a few drinks with friends.